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Beware of Limbo DancersBeware of Limbo Dancers

A Correspondent's Adventures with the New York Times

Roy Reed

Narrated by Marlin May

Available from Audible

Book published by University of Arkansas Press

This witty, wide-ranging memoir from Roy Reed—a native Arkansan who became a reporter for the New York Times—begins with tales of the writer’s formative years growing up in Arkansas and the start of his career at the legendary Arkansas Gazette. Reed joined the New York Times in 1965 and was quickly thrust into the chaos of Alabama, witnessing first hand the Selma protest movement and the historical interracial march to Montgomery. His story moves from days of racial violence to the political combat of Washington. Reed covered the Johnson White House and the early days of the Nixon administration as it wrestled with the competing demands of black voters and southern resistance to a new world. The memoir concludes with engaging postings from New Orleans and London and other travels of a correspondent always on the lookout for new people, old ways, good company, and fresh outrages.

Roy Reed was a reporter from 1956 to 1978, after which he taught journalism at the University of Arkansas for sixteen years. He is the author of two books: Looking for Hogeye and Faubus: The Life and Times of an American Prodigal, and he is the editor of Looking Back at the Arkansas Gazette: An Oral History.


“A compelling tour of a journalist’s life from an intelligent, charming guide.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Roy was one of our best writers at the Arkansas Gazette, and with this book he once again gives us a fine piece of writing.”

—Charles Portis, author of True Grit

“Reporting keeps lively for a long time when it’s this good, this seasoned, this much from the thick of things, and this funny.”

—Roy Blount Jr., author of Alphabetter Juice

“Roy Reed is a dream reporter — great eye, great ear, great sense of humor and an innate love of the language that was matched by his abiding appreciation of mankind’s shared foibles. When he retired from The New York Times, he took a large slice of its soul with him. Now he has written a dream of a memoir, reminding us of how joyful it can be to ply the journalist’s trade and why it matters to do it well.”

—Hodding Carter, former editor of the Delta Democrat-Times

“Roy Reed’s prose delivers our most turbulent years in the civil rights movement with a ringing clarity. His memoir is a tapestry of anecdote, personal observation, characterization, major event, and constant insight as we ride along with this New York Times reporter through some of our nation’s darkest history.”

—William Harrison, author of Rollerball

“Roy Reed’s latest book is a gem and cements his position as one of the South’s most important writers of nonfiction. It meanders gracefully and brilliantly through some of twentieth-century America’s most significant events.”

—Gene Roberts, Pulitzer Prizeā€šÄìwinning coauthor of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks