After spending time as a professor in upstate New York, Robert Ward decided to give journalism a try.
What followed were two decades of assignments for New Times, GQ, SPORT, Rolling Stone, and other publications, covering the biggest stars of the sporting, music, art, and film worlds. This collection includes Ward's celebrated story on Reggie Jackson that nearly tore the New York Yankees apart (and was later brought to life in an ESPN miniseries "The Bronx Is Burning"); a profile of the "outlaw" country music movement of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jerry Jeff Walker, and David Allan Coe; and an insightful feature on Hustler publisher Larry Flynt as a young pornographer that almost cost Ward his life.
Also included are essays about the former premier of Vietnam Nguyen Cao Ky trying to adjust to life in California; an aging Lee Marvin dealing with the survivor's guilt from his time in World War II; and profiles of LeRoy Neiman, Robert Mitchum, and a variety of fringe characters on the American scene.
"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