From Publishers Weekly
In the bestselling Black Hawk Down
, journalist Bowden showed a gift for taking a story and exploring its various avenues, resulting in layered, rich storytelling. Although he doesn't have quite enough room to stretch out with this collection of his short reportage pieces, he still delivers fascinating, and sometimes outsized, slices of life. Bowden has deep affection for detail and character over breaking news or larger issues. For this anthology, he culls mainly from assignments for the Atlantic Monthly
, presenting a strong, balanced collection that highlights his formidable writing strengths while accenting his interests. Standout articles include a post-9/11 profile of Saddam Hussein that illuminates the man through details like his wine preference, childhood tattoo and immaculate desk. Other politically inspired pieces, including ones about Bowden's time among American pilots in Afghanistan and his days on the campaign trail with Al Sharpton, are equally fine. But his range isn't confined to politics; Bowden explores high school football, a zoo-dwelling gorilla and the Rocky statue in South Philadelphia. Perhaps the greatest indicator of what makes Bowden so compelling is that an ad for udder supports in a farm publication sends him into the realm of animal husbandry to answer the question, "[W]hy on Earth would a cow need a bra?"
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Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
and Killing Pablo,
here gathers 19 of his nonfiction periodical pieces, dating as far back as 1980 and as recently as June 2004, culled from the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Salon,
and Sports Illustrated.
Citing his instinct to "zig when everyone else zags," Bowden offers a solidly written and varied collection, including an absorbing study of Saddam Hussein's rise to power, a look at the century-old high-school football rivalry between two St. Louis suburbs (Webster Groves and Kirkwood), a profile of Reverend Al Sharpton on the 2004 primary trail, a paean to the Great Potato Pickoff Play of 1987, a long Inquirer
piece on corruption within the Philadelphia police department, a profile of Philadelphia Eagles center Hank Fraley, and Bowden's account of Zambia's illegal rhino trade. Excellent investigative reporting. Alan MooresCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved