America's Most Alarming Writer
352 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
44 b&w photos
Release Date:15 Nov 2019

America's Most Alarming Writer

Essays on the Life and Work of Charles Bowden

University of Texas Press

The author of more than twenty books and a revered contributor to numerous national publications, Charles Bowden (1945–2014) used his keen storyteller’s eye to reveal both the dark underbelly and the glorious determination of humanity, particularly in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico. In America’s Most Alarming Writer, key figures in his life—including his editors, collaborators, and other writers—deliver a literary wake for the man who inspired them throughout his forty-year career.

Part revelation, part critical assessment, the fifty essays in this collection span the decades from Bowden’s rise as an investigative journalist through his years as a singular voice of unflinching honesty about natural history, climate change, globalization, drugs, and violence. As the Chicago Tribune noted, “Bowden wrote with the intensity of Joan Didion, the voracious hunger of Henry Miller, the feral intelligence and irony of Hunter Thompson, and the wit and outrage of Edward Abbey.” An evocative complement to The Charles Bowden Reader, the essays and photographs in this homage brilliantly capture the spirit of a great writer with a quintessentially American vision. Bowden is the best writer you’ve (n)ever read.

[Charles Bowden's] life and work are celebrated in this essential collection of 50 reflections and appraisals contributed by writers, collaborators and fellow desert rats whose lives were changed when they intersected with his…Dip in anywhere, at your leisure; you cannot fail but to come away inspired. Pima County Public Library, "Southwest Books of the Year"
Bowden's impact, both on Southwest letters and on the national conversation about the borderlands, is clearly evident in this collection of 50 essays…[America's Most Alarming Writer] is not simply a recounting of shared incidents in an eventful life, nor is it just an assessment of a remarkable body of work. Importantly, it is a revealing document about a fiercely driven investigative journalist’s relentless pursuit of the truth in the face of a society too willing to look the other way. Arizona Daily Star
In America's Most Alarming Writer, the best essays are those that don't idolize or indulge our compulsion to honor the dead. High Country News
Bill Broyles, a research associate at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, is coauthor of Among Unknown Tribes, Desert Duty, and Sunshot. Bruce J. Dinges is retired director of publications and editor of the Arizona Historical Society’s Journal of Arizona History. He is the author of numerous articles and editor of several books on southwestern and Civil War history.
  • Introduction, Bill Broyles and Bruce J. Dinges
  • Beginnings
    • Over the Rainbow, Peg Bowden
    • On Campus, David F. Allmendinger
    • Taking History Off Campus, Charles Bowden letter
    • Street Signs with Lew Kreinberg and Charles Bowden, Barbara Houlberg
    • Chuck Becomes a Reporter, Kathleen Dannreuther
    • Let the Tortoises Roll, Norma Coile
    • The Jimi Hendrix of Journalism, Tony Davis
  • Bowden’s Southwest
    • Stand My Watch, Katie Lee
    • Give Light to the Air, Molly McKasson
    • How’s My Government?, Ray Carroll
    • Discovering Chuck, Winifred J. Bundy
    • Mr. Southwest, Joseph C. Wilder
    • Chuck’s Desert Garden, Kasey Anderson
    • Planting Trees, Kim Sanders
    • A Man for All Seasons, Phil Jordan
    • Chuck Bowden in the Twilight Zone, Cal Lash
    • The Most Fearless Writer in America, Ken Sanders
  • Publishing Chuck
    • Writing in the Moment, Melissa Harris
    • The Big Kick: Editing Chuck, Rebecca Saletan
    • Of Rock ’n’ Roll and Corn Laws: A Few Words on Charles Bowden, Gregory McNamee
    • Sketches of Chuck, Tim Schaffner
    • Assembling a Bowden Bibliography, Walt Bartholomew
    • Lessons from Anger and Love, Clara Jeffery
  • Collaborators
    • Interviewing a Tire, Jack Dykinga
    • Dickens, Melville, and Bowden, Michael P. Berman
    • Over the Line, Alice Leora Briggs
    • Heart’s Desire, Molly Molloy
    • White, Red, and Black, Julián Cardona
    • Traveling and Not Traveling with Chuck, Eugene Richards
  • Trailing Bowden
    • Bowden’s Need to Walk, Judy Nolte Temple
    • Bowden Nails the Door Shut behind Us, Todd Schack
    • Muir, Abbey, Bowden, Mike Evans
    • A Desert Evening with Chuck, Michael Lundgren
    • The Mesquite Tree and the Endless Loop, Tom Sheridan
  • Writers on Bowden
    • America’s Most Alarming Writer, Jim Harrison
    • He Heard the Music, Scott Carrier
    • Charles Bowden and La Santa Muerte, Leslie Marmon Silko
    • The License Plate Said “Hayduke”: Chuck Bowden and the Red Cadillac--A Memory, Luis Alberto Urrea
    • Scratchboard Opposites, Gary Paul Nabhan
    • Drawn to the Flames: Bowden and Agee, Expanding the Boundaries of American Nonfiction, William deBuys
    • Wild Gods of Mexico, Don Henry Ford Jr.
    • Crossing the Line, James Galvin
    • The Fountain Theatre, Francisco Cantú
    • Pure Bowden, William Langewiesche
    • Street Reporter on La Línea, Philip Caputo
    • No One Gets Out Alive, Richard Grant
  • Coda
    • Here Stands a Reporter, Tom Zoellner
    • Packing Chuck’s Legacy, Mary Martha Miles
    • Why We Carry On, Alan Weisman
    • I Have Had to Make Up My Life As I Went Along, Charles Bowden
  • Acknowledgments
  • Copyright and Credits
  • Index
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