Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert Greene  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: 1947 in Columbus, Ohio

-- Robert Greene on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Bob Greene has lived in Illinois since graduating from Northwestern University in 1969. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune until his retirement in 2002.

Biographical and Professional Information

Journalist, columnist, and writer. Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago, IL, reporter, 1969-71, columnist, 1971- 78; Chicago Tribune, Chicago, columnist, 1978- 2002. Field Newspaper Syndicate, Irvine, CA, syndicated columnist, 1976-81; Tribune Media Services, Orlando, FL, syndicated columnist, 1981-90; Nightline, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC), contributing correspondent, 1981-90; National Public Radio, commentator. Contributing editor and columnist for Esquire, 1980- 90; columnist for Life, 1999-2000. Also served as fine arts lecturer, University of Chicago.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Be True to Your School
ISBN: 0345353943

Ballantine Books. 1988

Today, Bob Greene is a celebrated, nationally-syndicated columnist. In 1964, he was a seventeen-year-old Ohio high school kid. And he kept a diary.
It's all here. The teenage girl who got away. The twenty-seven-year-old woman who didn't. The first beer. The first job. A series of bad haircuts. Friendship and betrayal, griping and groping, a daily account of one boy's struggle -- and all of our struggles -- to forge his way into adulthood with dignity intact, virginity a bad memory, and the day-to-day knowledge that it's not going to get any easier.
"A delightful book, and like the song Greene cruised to that summer, fun, fun, fun." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Everyone who was ever seventeen will love it!" -- Ann Landers

Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned from Vietnam. [Paperback] by GREENE, BOB:

G. P. Putnam's Sons. 1989

He Was a Midwestern Boy on His Own
ISBN: 0345376641

Ballantine Books. 1992

Bob Greene walks Main Street, USA. The astonishing people he meets, the places he goes, and the things he sees are the subjects of his popular syndicated column, collected here in a volume of the very best of Bob Greene.

Whether he's writing about the man who wrote the hit song "Louie Louie," the bizarre meeting between Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley, the inventor who changed baseball, or the father and son whose annual one-on-one basketball shoot-out is a symbol of their love and of time's passage, Bob Greene shares stories in which we see ourselves. Filled with great empathy and insight that will evoke tears of laughter and sadness, these pieces are vintage Bob Greene, to be enjoyed and savored time and again.

Hang Time: Days And Dreams With Michael Jordan
ISBN: 0312951930

St. Martin's Paperbacks. 1993

Bob Greene shows us a side of Michael Jordan that doesn't make the sports page...the inside.

Journalist and bestselling author Bob Greene stepped into Michael Jordan's world just as Jordan was reaching the apex of his talent and his fame. With Greene, Jordan let down his guard.

In an extraordinary book that transcends sports biography, Greene takes the reader along with Jordan over two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, during glorious championship surges and trying personal moments. With rare insight, Greene reveals the person inside the icon: a man who makes millions but cannot go for a quiet walk around the block without getting mobbed, a man who competes ferociously on the court, but who performs some of his most remarkable and unexpected feats away from the limelight.

Drawn from inside Michael Jordan's daily life, rich with the sound of Jordan's own voice, Hang Time is a startlingly candid and intimate story of time spent with a champion, and of the growing friendship between two men.

All Summer Long
ISBN: 0312955081

St Martin's Paperbacks. 1995

Three childhood best friends--Ben, a television journalist, Ronnie, a CEO, and Michael, a schoolteacher--meet again at their twenty-fifth high school reunion and recall their youth together

To Our Children's Children: Preserving Family Histories for Generations to Come
ISBN: 0385467974

Doubleday. 1993

A warm, accessible, step-by-step guide to creating precious personal histories from the memories of older people, by the best-selling author of Hang Time and his sister, journalist D. G. Fulford.

Rebound: The Odyssey of Michael Jordan
ISBN: 0451191579

Signet. 1996

The best-selling author of Hang Time describes the personal odyssey of Michael Jordan, including his intimate thoughts about his father's murder, his struggle for a success in professional baseball, and his dramatic return to the NBA. 500,000 first printing. Tour.

Chevrolet Summers, Dairy Queen Nights
ISBN: 0060959665

Harper Perennial. 2001

No writer in America has a better feel for the country's rythms, richness, and rewards than bestselling author and syndicated columnist Bob Greene. With the color and depth of a novel, this treasury of best-loved columns captures America's small triumphs and all-too-human tragedies as Greene travels across the country to tell the stories that don't make the headlines. A small-town cop saves a child's life by double-checking, on a hunch, a closed case of suspected abuse. Frank Sinatra, on his last concert tour, shares off-the-cuff wisdom about fame, craft, and shifting fortunes. An impoverished father gives his son the best trip he can -- on the free trains out to the Atlanta airport's boarding gates. Funny, gripping, heartrending, and exhilarating, these unforgettable stories are guaranteed to lift the spirit and stir the soul.

50 Year Dash: The Feelings, Foibles, and Fears of Being Half a Century Old
ISBN: 0385493010

Main Street Books. 1998

The 50 Year Dash is a wonderful book of reflections on everything that's part of life at fifty: looking at aches and pains as a growth industry, and seeing the constant onslaught of new pain relievers as a new version of the British invasion of rock groups in the 1960s finding that the world is no longer sufficiently quiet, and that you're the one yelling "Turn that down!" realizing you're older than James Bond ever was hearing yourself say, "The fruit plate looks good," and meaning it understanding that the one thing that seems to be going away from you the fastest is that first-time feeling--first job, first house, first kiss--and knowing that the best thing you can do for yourself is to find ways to keep finding those feelings again and again.

Between now and the year 2014, seventy-seven million American men and women--most of the baby boom generation--will turn fifty. That's about ten thousand birthdays per day. The 50 Year Dash is the perfect book for every single one of them.

Duty: A Father, His Son, and the Man Who Won the War
ISBN: 0380814110

William Morrow Paperbacks. 2001

When Bob Greene went home to central Ohio to be with his dying father, it set off a chain of events that led him to knowing his dad in a way he never had before—thanks to a quiet man who lived just a few miles away, a man who had changed the history of the world.

Greene's father—a soldier with an infantry division in World War II—often spoke of seeing the man around town. All but anonymous even in his own city, carefully maintaining his privacy, this man, Greene's father would point out to him, had "won the war." He was Paul Tibbets. At the age of twenty-nine, at the request of his country, Tibbets assembled a secret team of 1,800 American soldiers to carry out the single most violent act in the history of mankind. In 1945 Tibbets piloted a plane—which he called Enola Gay, after his mother—to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, where he dropped the atomic bomb.

On the morning after the last meal he ever ate with his father, Greene went to meet Tibbets. What developed was an unlikely friendship that allowed Greene to discover things about his father, and his father's generation of soldiers, that he never fully understood before.

Duty is the story of three lives connected by history, proximity, and blood indeed, it is many stories, intimate and achingly personal as well as deeply historic. In one soldier's memory of a mission that transformed the world—and in a son's last attempt to grasp his father's ingrained sense of honor and duty—lies a powerful tribute to the ordinary heroes of an extraordinary time in American life.

What Greene came away with is found history and found poetry—a profoundly moving work that offers a vividly new perspective on responsibility, empathy, and love. It is an exploration of and response to the concept of duty as it once was and always should be: quiet and from the heart. On every page you can hear the whisper of a generation and its children bidding each other farewell.

Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen
ISBN: 006008197X

William Morrow Paperbacks. 2003

In search of "the best America there ever was," bestselling author and award-winning journalist Bob Greene finds it in a small Nebraska town few people pass through today—a town where Greene discovers the echoes of the most touching love story imaginable: a love story between a country and its sons.

During World War II, American soldiers from every city and walk of life rolled through North Platte, Nebraska, on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific. The tiny town, wanting to offer the servicemen warmth and support, transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen.

Every day of the year, every day of the war, the Canteen—staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers—was open from five a.m. until the last troop train of the day pulled away after midnight. Astonishingly, this remote plains community of only 12,000 people provided welcoming words, friendship, and baskets of food and treats to more than six million GIs by the time the war ended.

In this poignant and heartwarming eyewitness history, based on interviews with North Platte residents and the soldiers who once passed through, Bob Greene tells a classic, lost-in-the-mists-of-time American story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.

Fraternity: A Journey in Search of Five Presidents
ISBN: 1400054656

Three Rivers Press. 2005

What if you set off on a vacation trip in search of history—and your destination was the men who had been president? Asking himself that tantalizing question, bestselling author Bob Greene embarked on a long journey across the nation, hoping to spend time with Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Ronald Reagan. The result of his odyssey is Fraternity.

This extraordinary book is rich with the sounds of the presidents’ own voices: from Nixon explaining the reasons for his solitary walks through New York City streets at 5:30 every morning to Carter recalling the sting of his family’s being mocked for their rural Southern heritage, even after he had won the White House. Dramatic, funny, surprising and unforgettable, Fraternity reveals the human side of men who made history, along with the dreams of a nation.

And You Know You Should Be Glad: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship
ISBN: 0060881941

William Morrow Paperbacks. 2007

A highly personal and moving true story of friend-ship and remembrance from the New York Times bestselling author of Duty and Be True to Your School

Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, population 13,000, Bob Greene and his four best friends -- Allen, Chuck, Dan, and Jack -- were inseparable. Of the four, Jack was Bob's very best friend, a bond forged from the moment they met on the first day of kindergarten. They grew up together, got into trouble together, learned about life together -- and were ultimately separated by time and distance, as all adults are. But through the years Bob and Jack stayed close, holding on to the friendship that had formed years before.

Then the fateful call came: Jack was dying. And in this hour of need, as the closest of friends will do, Bob, Allen, Chuck, and Dan put aside the demands of their own lives, came together, and saw Jack through to the end of his journey.

Tremendously moving, funny, heart-stirring, and honest, And You Know You Should Be Glad is an uplifting exploration of the power of friendship to uphold us, sustain us, and ultimately set us free.

Late Edition: A Love Story
ISBN: 0312375301

St. Martin's Press. 2009

A loving and laughter-filled trip back to a lost American time when the newspaper business was the happiest game in town.

In a warm, affectionate true-life tale, New York Times bestselling author Bob Greene (When We Get to Surf City, Duty, Once Upon a Town) travels back to a place where—when little more than a boy—he had the grand good luck to find himself surrounded by a brotherhood and sisterhood of wayward misfits who, on the mezzanine of a Midwestern building, put out a daily newspaper that didn't even know it had already started to die.

“In some American cities,” Greene writes, “famous journalists at mighty and world-renowned papers changed the course of history with their reporting.” But at the Columbus Citizen-Journal, there was a willful rejection of grandeur—these were overworked reporters and snazzy sportswriters, nerve-frazzled editors and insult-spewing photographers, who found pure joy in the fact that, each morning, they awakened to realize: “I get to go down to the paper again.”

At least that is how it seemed in the eyes of the novice copyboy who saw romance in every grungy pastepot, a symphony in the song of every creaking typewriter. With current-day developments in the American newspaper industry so grim and dreary, Late Edition is a Valentine to an era that was gleefully cocky and seemingly free from care, a wonderful story as bracing and welcome as the sound of a rolled-up paper thumping onto the front stoop just after dawn.


In 1975, Greene won the Associated Press'Best Newspaper Column in Illinois. In 1977, Greene won the National Headliner Award for writing the previous year's best column. In 1995, Greene was named Illinois Journalist of the Year. In the same year he was awarded the Peter Lisagor Award for Public Service Journalism for his reporting on courts failing children in need.

Speaking Engagements

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