Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jack Bales  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Jack Bales on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

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.

Biographical and Professional Information

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''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Kenneth Roberts: The Man and His Works (Scarecrow Author Bibliographies)
ISBN: 081082227X

Scarecrow Pr. 1989

With such extensively researched books as Arundel, rabble in arms and Northwest Passage , Roberts (1885-1957) established and maintained a reputation throughout his literary career as an author whose books were not only enjoyable to read but also models of historical writing and accuracy. Bales' comprehensive biobibliography will serve a wide audience of literary historians, students, researchers, book collectors. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Kenneth Roberts (Twayne's United States Authors Series)
ISBN: 0805776435

Twayne Pub. 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.
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.
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]).
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.
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.

Esther Forbes
ISBN: 0810833700

Scarecrow Press. 1998

Although scores of authors have written more books than Esther Forbes (1891-1967), few have received as many literary awards or as much widespread recognition.

Jack Bales's comprehensive Forbes bio-bibliography provides a biographical essay largely based on letters, interviews, and other contemporary source material.

The second section of the book is an annotated bibliography of criticism, divided into general criticism and criticism of Forbes as a children's writer. Works covered include book reviews, newspaper and magazine articles, biographical and bibliographic studies, children's literature references, study guides, essays, theses and dissertations, and other critical writings. The other two sections of the book include lists of sources consulted, as well as an author and title index.

Horatio Alger, Jr., An Annotated Bibliography of Comment and Criticism
ISBN: 0810813874

Scarecrow Press. 1981

Documents the evolution of popular opinion about Alger's works.

The Lost Life of Horatio Alger, Jr. (MIDLAND BOOK)
ISBN: 0253206480

Indiana Univ Pr. 1992

book, quality

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)