Pitluk, Adam

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Pitluk, Adam

PERSONAL:

Education: Attended University of Missouri; Columbia University, M.S.

ADDRESSES:

Office—UTA Box 19038, University of Texas, Arlington, Texas 76019-0348; American Airlines Publishing, 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., MD 5374, Fort Worth, TX 76155. E-mail—[email protected]; [email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist and educator. American Airlines Publishing, editorial director. Taught at University of Texas at Arlington.

WRITINGS:

Standing Eight: The Inspiring Story of Jesus "El Matador" Chavez, Who Became Lightweight Champion of the World, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2006.

Damned to Eternity: The Story of the Man Who They Said Caused the Flood, Da Capo Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

Editor for Southwest Airlines' Spirit magazine and Boys' Life magazine. Contributor to numerous publications, including Time, People, CourtTV.com, Dallas Observer, Popular Mechanics, Air & Space, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Buzz, High Times, D Magazine, and Illinois Times.

SIDELIGHTS:

Journalist Adam Pitluk has written for a variety publications, including Time, People, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and CourtTV.com. He has taught at the University of Texas at Arlington, and is currently the editorial director of American Airlines Publishing.

According to a contributor to Kirkus Reviews, Pitluk's first book, Standing Eight: The Inspiring Story of Jesus "El Matador" Chavez, Who Became Lightweight Champion of the World, "smoothly charts his subject's wild, moving ride from jail to youth counselor to multiple world champion in the featherweight, superfeather and lightweight classes." A reviewer for Texas Monthly described Standing Eight as a "sympathetic portrait of a driven and charismatic athlete who falls victim to his own bad decisions." Reviewer Barbara Bamberger Scott, writing for the Web site Curled Up with a Good Book, was impressed with Pitluk's capacity to digest "a wealth of factual material and blend it skillfully, making it exciting to the average reader." While many reviewers noted that the book is written for a general audience—School Library Journal reviewer Jamie Watson complimented it as "never weighed down with lengthy fight descriptions or analysis"—several noted that the book is best suited to boxing aficionados. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly, for example, declared that "the work is strictly for fans of El Matador." While Scott likewise noted that the work would "mainly interest fans of the boxing world," she still recommended the book for "anyone who wants an inspiring story of the machinations and ultimate triumph of the American dream."

Pitluk's second book, Damned to Eternity: The Story of the Man Who They Said Caused the Flood, tells the story of James Scott, a ne'er-do-well from Quincy, Illinois, sentenced to life in prison for sabotaging a levee during the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1993. The resulting flood caused no injuries but inundated 14,000 acres of Missouri farmland. James, notorious in his town for youthful escapades that included setting fire to and destroying the local elementary school when he was twelve, was convicted on scant evidence, and he was the only man ever imprisoned under the obscure Missouri law making "intentionally causing a catastrophe" a felony. According to Stephen Lyons, writing for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pitluk "dutifully profiles a dim career criminal" in this "compelling narrative," concluding that "the question of justice is disturbing and makes Damned to Eternity a valuable cautionary tale." Curled Up with a Good Book's Bamberger Scott praised Damned to Eternity as "another example of [Pitluk's] nitty-gritty investigative technique and his fierce defense of the underdog." Henry L. Carrigan of ForeWord magazine similarly concluded: "Pitluk's spellbinding tale of a town's rush to judgment is a harrowing parable of justice gone awry." Several reviewers echoed the sentiments of a contributor to Publishers Weekly, who wrote that "most readers will come away believing that Scott was railroaded." Harry Levins, writing for STLtoday.com, went so far as to characterize the book as a "defense brief," and Bamberger Scott observed that James Scott "comes off in Pitluk's eyes as less than a villain" and concluded that the book might indeed vindicate James Scott. Conversely, other reviewers felt that the books was damaged by being too objective, with the writer for Kirkus Review warning that this "meandering examination … may have a difficult time finding an audience." The contributor to Publishers Weekly, however, lauded Pitluk's "superb job of bringing all his characters to life," and Silverman's Library Journal review concluded that Damned to Eternity "deserves a spot in public libraries and will appeal to those interested in the law and rights of citizens."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Books, April 29, 2007, review of Standing Eight: The Inspiring Story of Jesus "El Matador" Chavez, Who Became Lightweight Champion of the World, p. 8.

California Bookwatch, May 1, 2008, review of Damned to Eternity: The Story of the Man Who They Said Caused the Flood.

ForeWord, January/February, 2008, Henry L. Carrigan, review of Damned to Eternity.

Internet Bookwatch, July 1, 2007, review of Standing Eight.

Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2006, review of Standing Eight, p. 279; October 1, 2007, review of Damned to Eternity.

Library Journal, February 1, 2008, Karen Sandlin Silverman, review of Damned to Eternity, p. 85.

Publishers Weekly, March 13, 2006, review of Standing Eight, p. 54; November 5, 2007, review of Damned to Eternity, p. 57.

School Library Journal, November 1, 2006, Jamie Watson, review of Standing Eight, p. 174.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), January 11, 2008, Stephen Lyons, review of Damned to Eternity.

Texas Monthly, May 1, 2006, Mike Shea, review of Standing Eight, p. 54.

ONLINE

Adam Pitluk Home Page,http://www.adampitluk.com (July 11, 2008).

Curled Up with a Good Book Web site,http://www.curledup.com/ (July 12, 2008), Barbara Bamberger Scott, reviews of Standing Eight and Damned to Eternity.

Infodad.com: Family-focused Reviews,http://transcentury.blogspot.com/ (February 28, 2008), review of Damned to Eternity.

STLtoday.com,http://www.stltoday.com/ (January 27, 2006), Harry Levins, review of Damned to Eternity.

University of Texas at Arlington Web site,http://www.uta.edu/ (July 11, 2008), faculty profile.

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