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Renegades: My Wild Trip from Professor to New Journalist with Outrageous Visits from Clint Eastwood, Reggie Jackson, Larry Flynt, and other American Icons Hardcover – March 17, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Tyrus Books (March 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440533148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440533143
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,457,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Novelist Ward (Shedding Skin) presents a collection of previously published pieces from his freelance days in the 1960s-70s. Ward's articles are interesting. Essential reading for those interested in new journalism." --Library Journal, February 2012

"This collection of essays is sure to appeal to fans of [Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson]. Ward tells fascinating stories about fascinating people, but unlike traditional journalism, the author is a key element in his stories. For fans of first-person journalism, this makes great reading." --Booklist, March 2012

"Terrific anthology." --The Daily Beast

About the Author

A native of Baltimore, Robert Ward has worked as a novelist, professor, screenwriter, producer, and actor. His first effort was the critically acclaimed novel Shedding Skin, which won the National Endowment for the Arts award for first novel of exceptional merit.

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Customer Reviews

It's hard for me to say what I liked best about this book.
A. Reid
Read the Reggie Jackson piece... Or the Robert Mitchum piece... or the Larry Flynt piece... or... or ANY of these pieces.
S. Berner
The description of the book sounded interesting, so I read it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Forty years ago, when magazines still mattered and writers could move nations, young buck Robert Ward swung out of upstate New York like a sucker punch. His intensely personal journalism drew on techniques invented by James Boswell and perfected by Alex Haley, but he produced a body of work no one else could have created. And now, like a time capsule, his career-making articles now appear for the first time between one set of covers.

Ward started out as a disaffected AmLit prof, frustrated as his scholarly dreams turned to dust. (I can sympathize.) But with his academic training and his blue-collar roots, he lived a sort of bilingual life. While his fellow collegiate tea drinkers made high-handed pronouncements on behalf of "the people" they never met, and ordinary Americans languished in the disappointing end of the hippie era, Ward could bridge the gap and tell them both the story they needed.

And a hell of a story it was, too. Like his hero, Tom Wolfe, Ward didn't pretend to be anybody's detached reporter. He did everything journalism professors regularly forbid: say "I." Get angry. Don't blush when your subjects make asses of themselves. But most important, Ward never pretended that the story happened without him. He asked just the right questions to tease out the face his subject hid from the world. And sometimes that face wasn't pretty.

For instance, Ward was the first writer to capture young Larry Flynt's apparently pathological inability to shut up. He convinced former South Vietnamese president Nguyen Cao Ky, rusticating in suburban California, to open up on exile in a hostile culture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tom Schreck on March 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book will get physically worn out quickly. It's one of the rare kind that I will read over and over on vacations, long business trips or rainy Sunday afternoons with a nice single barrel bourbon.

Those profiled are the people that made up my adolescence and early adulthood and reading them again brings me not only back to that time but to the thoughts and emotions of that era.

Last year I scoured Ebay for Ward's essay that he wrote on Elvis shortly after the King's death. It was poignant and personal. I heard his interviews this year on Pistol Pete and Jerry Jeff. The stuff is brilliant and whatever it is Ward does he gets you right there with the person, not the packaged image of the person.

Savor this.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Tabor on March 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Renegades by Robert Ward is an eye-opener on many levels. And the word "levels" is key because this collection of Ward's essays is layered with his being, who he is, was, wants to be and what remains uncovered in his search as he reveals the lives, foibles and gifts of the icons he's interviewed and written about: Reggie Jackson, Clint Eastwood, Larry Flynt and many more. The list of interviews and subjects is a stunner. Read the interviews because the writing pulls no punches. It's raw, written with emotional truth and a sharp observant eye. What stuns here is the force of the interviews and the power of the postscripts. Ward closes the essays with a look backward and a look inward. First he raises the curtain on those icons he's met and "set the record straight" with and then he raises the curtain on himself. The humanity of the interviews sear--even when he spears his subject. The humanity of Robert Ward, who has lived this fast-paced life among the movers and shakers in sports, film, country music and more, gives this book a touch of the memoir. Underneath the macho clipped prose lies the man who reads Joyce, Auden, Yeats, Byron; the man who carries with him the conflicted love for his hometown Baltimore, his endearing love for the Colts--"The night the Colts left town under cover of darkness for Indianapolis ..." I'll never forget it and Ward nails that event with the echoes of a time captured in his prose and revelatory feelings. On this journey through collected essays, Ward is in search of himself and his own father--and we get that story too. As James Joyce says about his hero Leopold Bloom in Ulysses, There's a touch of the artist about old Ward. Read this book for a searing look at this journalist's career. Read it for the prose. Read it for the story revealed through the life he's lived.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James R. Holland VINE VOICE on February 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This was a much more interesting book than I expected, or at the very least, it had a lot of interesting material in it. The fact that this book reviewer used to be a movie critic and reviewer may have had something to do with why the material (especially in the book's third part--Entertainment) seemed so interesting.
The book is comprised of thee sections: "Part One: The Existential Clown, Part Two: Sports and the afore mentioned Part 3: Entertainment." The collection of Robert Ward's magazine articles also includes a brief Introduction from Roy Blount Jr and a more lengthy Introduction by the author where he reveals how he became a feature writer after giving up steady work as a college professor in "the fab `70s and `80s." Trying to mimic the style of his Idol Tom Wolfe while also trying to become a revolutionary in the oh so cool leftist world was a complete failure because the author wasn't an Ivy League Educated limousine Trust Fund Radical. He'd grown up in the working class and knew from the first that his smooth talking radical friends had not the vaguest concept of what the average working class guy or gal really wanted out of life. In Ward's case he knew all his childhood friends wanted more than anything else, speedboats to race up and down the Chesapeake River and along the coast. So much for revolution.
They also "wanted country houses, and RVs, and snowmobiles. Just like the Middle Class."
Eventually, Mr. Ward was writing entertainment pieces on celebrities. About the same time he grew tired of writing about sports and media entertainers, the magazine field was also changing. "It had started in the early `80s. In the past we journalists could interview people and write whatever the hell we found. If they had big ears, we wrote that they had big ears.
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