In 1968, future
"gonzo journalist" Hunter S. Thompson predicted Bob Bone would
write a book someday "on How to Beat the NY Big
This at last, is
Robert W. Bone
has visited every continent and covered at least 75 countries. For four
decades, thousands of travelers to Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand
carried the latest editions of his prize-winning Maverick Guides
or read his groundbreaking work on the "last frontier," Fieldings
Alaska and the Yukon.
He wrote travel
articles for magazines, and using his personal syndication system,
hundreds more for the travel sections of newspapers throughout the U.S.
Thompson joined him
on some of his early adventures in the U.S. an abroad, admiring Bone's
ability to live the kind of life that office drones dream of.
Put the formula
down on paper, Thompson wrote him: "Shit, you'd sell 50,000 copies in NY
is an unvarnished memoir of thrilling experiences with newspapers,
magazines, and book publishers, and the childhood and youthful love
afairs that led up to them.
Bone hs been shot at
and robbed. He's battled American and foreign bureaucrats. But as his
grandmother predicted, everything he did "would always come out for the
He's climbed to the
top of a mast of a ship at sea, and planted a revolutionary flag at
a world's fair. And he's never been fired from a job. Fire Bone!
explains all that, too.
It's available now at a discount on
Read more about this book.
published photo: Texaco Station owner, Bowling Green, Ohio. Printed in
the Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio, June, 1947.
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About the Author
“Bob Bone is both widely traveled and keenly observant,
someone who knew the Hawaiian islands when they were unspoiled, and was
a friend to Hunter Thompson on the Proud Highway when he was maniacal -
in short, a reliable witness.”
— Paul Theroux, premier
travel writer and novelist, author of
The Great Railway Bazaar
“Bob Bone was one hell of a reporter-photographer when
we worked together so long ago on the (San Juan) Star. Now he's
summing up his life and he's got a mountain of great stuff to sum up.
— William J. Kennedy,
author of Ironweed
and other books
“During my 19 years as travel editor of the St.
Petersburg Times, I was fortunate to have a go-to guy if I needed
readable, authoritative, articles on Hawaii and the Pacific: Bob Bone.
And I feel certain that all of my editing colleagues also recognized
that byline as the specialist on the islands. Bob earned our respect,
even our appreciation, with his fine writing.”
— Robert N. Jenkins
“Bob Bone has been a truly professional travel author
virtually for time immemorial. During my time as travel editor of the
Chicago Sun-Times in 1982-1994, he was a highly reliable source of
lively and accurate stories from around the world.”
— Jack Schnedler, retired, a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year
“Bob's insightful and sensitive approach to travel
writing during his lifetime comes across in this bio that covers some of
America's more fascinating sociological and technological changes.”
— Jeff Miller, author and
“Robert W. Bone was a frank and diligent source when I
was researching my biography of Hunter S.Thompson. Bob’s long career
turns out to be as varied, adventurous and fascinating as his friend’s.”
— E. Jean Carroll, author,
relationship expert, and advice columnist for
and other publications
“Bob Bone played a vital role in the golden age of
newspaper-section travel journalism. His memoir recreates for us those
— Lee Foster, author of
Travel as well as many
other books, and a recipient of eight SATW Lowell Thomas Awards
“While surfing the media I usually look for three clues
to the readability of a story: the publication, the writer’s byline and
the headline. I’ve learned over the years that when I spot Bob Bone’s
byline, it’s a safe bet the story is worth reading. I need mull my
interest no further.”
— Bob Schulman, Travel
“There is definitely something wrong with Bob Bone.
Here's a guy living in Hawaii, and he wants to—loves to—travel to places
where they sometimes actually have to wear jackets, if not snow suits.
It was my pleasure in 16 years as travel editor at the Chicago
Tribune to read and run his delightfully skewered stories on places
where the weather might not have been perfect but the experiences
through his eyes and words were perfectly wonderful.”
— Randy Curwen
“While some journey for relaxation, Bob Bone has always
had something else in mind: sharing the joy of travel with others and
ing them find their own adventures, discovering new horizons in unlikely
— Larry Bleiberg, retired travel editor of the
Dallas Morning News
following is from the text of Fire Bone!
WRITER WITH A LONG CAREER,
I’ve come across some of the
world’s more interesting characters. A few became good friends.
Perhaps the most fascinating was Hunter,
who first appeared to me as an eccentric fellow reporter on the
Middletown (N.Y.) Daily Record
in 1958. This was Hunter S.
Thompson, destined to become widely known as the inventor of the “gonzo”
personal approach to literature and journalism.
For better or for worse, Hunter
eventually became an inspiration to scores of younger writers, some of
whom are still attempting to copy his techniques.
Hunter killed himself in 2005. His
outdoor Colorado funeral was built to his personal instructions. It was
a spectacular affair, enveloped in noise, fire and smoke. It included a
contingent of his Hollywood buddies along with other hangers-on
attracted to greatness. I was invited, but didn’t go. Hunter wouldn’t be
Our close association formed when we
were equally unknown to the world at large. In the 1950s and ’60s Hunter
and I shared adventures in New York, Puerto Rico, and Brazil.
Below: Sandy Conklin, 1963
For a time I was in love with Sandra
Conklin, who later became Hunter’s first wife. In late 1961 and early
1962, Sandy and I lived together in Greenwich Village. Hunter was in
Louisville, preparing to begin his travels in South America on meager
funds, gathering material for his literary objectives.
There would be no place for a gentle
soul like Sandy on his precarious trip. And on the second floor rear
left flat at 107 Thompson Street in Greenwich Village, I was acutely
aware that Sandy was definitely “Hunter’s girl.”
I was 30 and a junior editor at
magazine, and I happily returned each
evening to the three-room apartment, usually to find a waiting meal and
pleasant conversation. It was a safe address, located across the street
from the mother of a local underworld figure. The goodfellas, playing
bocce or hanging out on the corner, enforced peace and quiet when
There Sandy and I made beer and enjoyed
each other’s company without the aid of sex or television. She slept in
my bedroom; I slept in the living room; the sound of bubbling beer
continued day and night in a large jug atop the refrigerator in the
kitchen between us. That’s all there was, but it was enough.
Except for once. On our last night
together she came into the living room without a word and laid down
beside me. We went to sleep with my arm wrapped around her.
Each five-gallon batch of our home brew
was known as a “baby,” and we kept detailed records of the process. We
got as far as “Baby Five,” I think, before my love was spirited away.
(c) Robert W. Bone, 2014