Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Jack Bales

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Bales grew up in Aurora. He received a degree in English from Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois and a MS in Library Science at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

Biography: After receiving his M.S. degree, Jack Bales worked at Eureka College’s library in Eureka, Illinois and at Illinois College. In 1980, he moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia to work at the University of Mary Washington's Simpson Library. Bales is the author of a number of books and articles on Horatio Alger, Kenneth Roberts and Willie Morris. He has also spent time researching the history of the Chicago Cubs and has written articles on the team for ''Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture''.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

Jack Bales on WorldCat :

Selected Titles

Esther Forbes :
ISBN: 0810833700 OCLC: 37373514

Scarecrow Press, Lanham, Md. : 1998.

Horatio Alger, Jr. :
ISBN: 0810813874 OCLC: 6916281

Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, N.J. : 1981.

Kenneth Roberts /
ISBN: 0805776435 OCLC: 27937734

Twayne Publishers ; New York : ©1993.

"Readers who enjoy American history dramatized as rousing adventure fiction have always been the ideal audience for the novels of Kenneth Roberts, who, from the late 1930s to his death in 1957, was one of the most popular historical novelists in the United States. A globe-trotting journalist for the Saturday Evening Post and many other popular periodicals, Roberts channeled his enthusiasm for American history into eight novels, including Arundel (1930), Oliver Wiswell (1940), and his most famous work, Northwest Passage (1937). Acknowledging a lifetime of literary homage to all that is American - from vivid depictions of some of the grimmest moments in Revolutionary battle to a staunch defense of the merits of Maine all the way down to its cooking - the Pulitzer Committee presented Roberts with a special prize in 1957"--BOOK JACKET. "In this first book-length account of Roberts's life and letters, Jack Bales thoroughly reviews and analyzes the author's enormous literary output, which has for the most part been ignored by scholarly critics and historians. Following Roberts's career chronologically - and offering a lively assortment of his comments along the way - Bales identifies Roberts's storytelling ability as that which places him at the apex of the genre. The first-person narration Roberts used in most of his novels has, Bales contends, made the fictionalized events of two or three centuries ago seem more real to modern readers."--BOOK JACKET. "Aside from his interest in the Revolutionary War, sailors and seafaring men of the 1700s and 1800s, and wilderness explorers, Roberts had his passions, which Bales identifies as Benedict Arnold, whom Roberts believed the most famously wronged man in American history (Arundel and Rabble in Arms [1933]), and the strange "science" of water dowsing (Henry Gross and His Dowsing Rod [1951])."--BOOK JACKET. "Bales explores Roberts's meticulous method of researching his novels and speculates that this constant research and adherence to facts may well have stemmed from Roberts's uncertainty about his abilities as a creative artist. In this vein Bales discusses Roberts's close association with Booth Tarkington, who became somewhat of a mentor to the younger novelist, offering him stylistic advice and constructive critiques for many years."--BOOK JACKET. "Bales's balanced appraisal notes Roberts's weaknesses as a novelist - primarily in characterization and especially that of women - and some of his gaps in judgment (colleagues and friends have cited his too absolutist championship of both Benedict Arnold and water dowsing). Ultimately, though, Bales's portrait is as affectionate as it is well-reasoned, as much a personality profile as a comprehensive literary analysis - a work that will no doubt spark further interest in Roberts's writing and life."--Jacket.

Kenneth Roberts :
ISBN: 081082227X OCLC: 19742483

Scarecrow Press, Metuchen, N.J. : 1989.

The lost life of Horatio Alger, Jr.
ISBN: 0253149150 OCLC: 11134239

Indiana University Press, Bloomington : ©1985.

Horatio Alger's rags-to-riches juvenile novels of poor boys parlaying luck and pluck'' into fame and fortune' did much to shape and popularize the American success myth. This is a biography of the intensely private man. Ousted from a Unitarian pulpit in Brewster, Massachusetts, in 1866 for sodomizing young boys, Alger spent the final half of his life obscuring his past, and ordered all personal papers burned after his death in 1899. In 1927, the essential Alger was further obscured when Herbert Mayes published a fabricated biography based on a nonexistent diary which exposed'' Alger as a lecher who wrote to fund his travels in pursuit of a married woman.

  The Lost Life of Horatio Alger, Jr. (Midland Book)
ISBN: 0253206480 OCLC: 232572721

Indiana Univ Pr 1992