Confessions of a Guilty Freelancer

Confessions of a Guilty Freelancer

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Description

William O'Rourke's singular view of American life over the past 40 years shines forth in these short essays on subjects personal, political, and literary, which reveal a man of keen intellect and wide-ranging interests. They embrace everything from the state of the nation after 9/11 to the author's encounter with rap, from the masterminds of political makeovers to the rich variety of contemporary American writing. His reviews illuminate both the books themselves and the times in which we live, and his personal reflections engage even the most fearful events with a special humor and gentle pathos. Readers will find this richly rewarding volume difficult to put down.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 137.16 x 200.66 x 22.86mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253001811
  • 9780253001818

About William O'Rourke

William O'Rourke, a former columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, is author of The Meekness of Isaac, Idle Hands, Criminal Tendencies, and Notts, and five works of nonfiction. He is editor of On the Job: Fiction about Work by Contemporary American Writers and (with John Matthias) of the collection Notre Dame Review: The First Ten Years.show more

Review quote

"O'Rourke's descriptions of the writing life have the ring of absolute truth." -Review of Contemporary Fiction "O'Rourke's 'personal' writing doesn't simply mean how the subject relates to him; his writing is literary, without a doubt, but his style is conversational, rhythmic and leavened by a dry sense of humor that engage the reader on an intimate level." -South Bend Tribune "O'Rourke is that rarest of increasingly rare birds, a writer's writer.... O'Rourke brings an artist's critical thinking to his political writing, providing him angles of attack on players from both parties that help reframe the issues in ways not available through the most mainstream press outlets." -NUVO "[T]hose who enjoy a good romp through some of our country's most pivotal times in the company of an astute observer who is unafraid to offer a penetrating, and sometimes scathing, critique of the state of the nation, will find themselves well matched." -ForeWord Reviews "I don't know any writer who can be as funny and as gloomy at the same time as William O'Rourke. Perhaps that's why he has a fresh take on anything he looks at, and in his grumpy way he is interested in almost everything, from agnostics teaching at Catholic universities to the Zeitgeist of prime-time television. He always hoped to apply for the job of public intellectual, he tells us, but then the position disappeared and a hundred thousand bloggers took its place. O'Rourke makes-he has always made-decency and common sense seem the most startling ingenuity-which, come to think of it, they are. As skeptical as he is watchful, as ardently hopeful as he is, most of the time, horrified; with sparkling wit that never takes a vacation, he is our unpaid public intellectual number one." -Jaimy Gordon, author of Lord of Misrule, winner of the 2010 National Book Award for Fiction "I can think of no other contemporary writer more suited to the task of chronicling his literary generation. A voracious reader, O'Rourke has always had his finger on the pulse of the contemporary American literary scene." -Corinne Demas, author of The Writing Circle "This book is a brilliant overview of American history from the 1960s to the post 9/11 era. William O'Rourke is both a novelist and a political commentator-he wrote weekly columns for the Chicago Sun-Times-and a forceful writer of nonfiction." -Maura Stanton, author of Immortal Sofa: Poems by Maura Stantonshow more

Table of contents

CONTENTSPrefaceI: The PersonalHere's MineRichard ElmanGrace PaleyMy rap problems-and yours?Arming Yourself for the OutdoorsTwo Midwest Meditations: I. Reunion and Revolution II. TiesDear DadConfessions of a FreelancerII: The Personal and the PoliticalExtreme Makeover: TV Home Improvement from Carter to Bush IIFive Male Chroniclers of Bill Clinton and His World: Christopher Hitchens, Michael Isikoff, Andrew Morton, George Stephanopoulos, Bob Woodward9/11Blue & Red America After September 11thVirginia TechImusSusan Braudy: Family CircleJoe Conason: Big LiesDaniel Ellsberg: SecretsJohn Frohnmayer: Leaving Town AliveDick Morris: Off With Their HeadsKevin Phillips: American Dynasty (1)Kevin Phillips: American Theology (2)Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose: BushwackedRobert B. Reich: ReasonDavid McCullough: John AdamsEdmund Morris: Theodore RexSteve Neal: Happy Days Are Here AgainAmanda Smith: Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. KennedyJohn A. Farrell: Tip O'Neill and the Democratic CenturyIII: The Personal and the Political and the LiteraryRaymond Carver: Hemingway Without MoneyMichael Ryan: Secret LifePhilip Graham: How to Read an Unwritten LanguagePeter Dexter: The PaperboyJohn Updike: The Afterlife and Other StoriesJohn McGahern and Colm ToibinJim Crace: Signals of DistressRobert Olen Butler: They WhisperRichard Ford: Independence DayHarvey Jacobs: American GoliathThomas Keneally: American ScoundrelJohn L'Heureux: The MiracleToby Olson and Ellen AkinsPinckney Benedict: Dogs of GodRick Bass: Platte RiverMichael Stephens: The Brooklyn Book of the DeadGraham Swift: Last OrdersBob Shacochis: Swimming in the VolcanoWillie Morris: New York DaysForward to the PastAndrew Levy: The Culture and Commerce of the American Short StoryAcknowledgementsIndexshow more