Rinker Buck

Rinker Buck began his career in journalism at the Berkshire Eagle and was a longtime staff writer for the Hartford Courant. He has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Life, and many other publications, and his work has won the PEN New England Award, the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Oregon Trail, Flight of Passage, and First Job. He lives in Tennessee.

August's Read of the Month

Life on the Mississippi By Rinker Buck

The eagerly awaited return of master American storyteller Rinker Buck, Life on the Mississippi is an epic, enchanting blend of history and adventure in which Buck builds a wooden flatboat from the grand “flatboat era” of the 1800s and sails it down the Mississippi River, illuminating the forgotten past of America’s first western frontier.



Rinker's Recommended Reads

Check out some of Rinker Buck's favorite books and read why he loved them so much!

Arabian Sands
By Wilfred Thesiger

I consider this book one of the greatest in the English language. Thesiger was the last of the great British travelers and world explorers. In the early 1950s, rejecting the softness of European life, Thesiger set out on a five- year journey with the Bedouins of Saudi Arabia’s empty quarter, traveling by camel and dressed in the simple garb of the Arabians. The result is a masterful account of endurance and privation, and reaching across cultural barriers to discover shared humanity in the spare and inhospitable reaches of the vast deserts.


Home Before Dark
By Susan Cheever

I like books that change form. In this moving account, part biography and part memoir, Susan Cheever describes the demons that tormented her famous father, the novelist John Cheever, and her experiences as a teenager negotiating the complex family life Cheever had created. The author’s candid descriptions of Cheever’s battle with alcoholism and his doubts about his sexual identity manage to make Cheever more attractive and approachable as a person.


Son of the Morning Star
By Evan S. Connell

This is probably the best work of American history ever written. Connell, a novelist, essay-writer and historian, eschews the conventions of history writing in his powerful narrative account of George Armstrong Custer’s reckless confrontation with more than 1,000 Cheyenne, Sioux and Arapaho warriors at the Little Bighorn River in Montana in 1876, which killed more than 250 members of his 7th Cavalry Regiment and symbolized America’s disastrous Indian policy after the Civil War. In it, we learn about the depraved lives of the American cavalrymen, the genocidal madness of 19th century America and, most of all, the dangerous blend of bluster and savagery of Indian-fighters like Custer. All of this is told in a compelling narrative style that leaves readers with a sense of truth about the realities of 19th century life.


North to the Orient
By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Lindbergh wrote this book, a spare, wise account of a pioneering 1931 artic flight to Japan and China with her husband, aviator Charles Lindbergh, to help her recover from the depression she suffered following the kidnapping and murder of her son in 1932. It is a masterpiece of storytelling and won the first National Book Award for nonfiction in 1935.


Masters of the Air
By Donald L. Miller

This is one of the best military histories ever written. Delving deeply beneath the myths, Miller tells the story of the 8th Air Force that bombed Germany during World War II. Miller’s exhaustively researched and narratively-driven account vividly describes the harrowing flights aboard B-17 bombers over Germany, the horrible toll in lives both during combat and training (25 percent of the bomber crews died during the bombing campaign) and the lives of the young pilots and their crews in wartime London.


More From Rinker Buck

The Oregon Trail
By Rinker Buck

Simultaneously a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga, Rinker Buck’s The Oregon Trail is an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way—in a covered wagon with a team of mules—that has captivated readers, critics, and booksellers from coast to coast.


Flight of Passage
By Rinker Buck

Writer Rinker Buck looks back more than 30 years to a summer when he and his brother, at ages 15 and 17 respectively, became the youngest duo to fly across America, from New Jersey to California. Having grown up in an aviation family, the two boys bought an old Piper Cub, restored it themselves, and set out on the grand journey. Buck is a great storyteller, and once you get airborne with the boys you find yourself absorbed in a story of adventure and family drama.