Jack Hawn looks back over his life and shares his memories with readers in his “Blind Journey”. “Blind Journey” is an apt title for this book. Maybe it was fate or destiny, but Hawn did not plan to be a journalist. The doors opened for him and he entered through them, which led him to a spectacular career spanning 43 years. He was in the service when Colonel Fleming asked him if he would like to be in PIO, Public Information Office. The PIO writes articles about new recruits and sends them to their hometown papers. The Colonel said they would teach him to write. With little hesitation, Hawn agreed to a transfer, but days later left word he had reconsidered and decided to remain where he he had been assigned–checking GI’s baggage. Surpringly, weeks later he was ordered to PIO, where his career unknowingly was launched. When Hawn left the Army he had a family to support and no job. He started as a newspaper copy boy in Hollywood, Calif., and 16 years later when the paper went bankrupt was hired by the Los Angeles Times, where he worked for 10 years in sports and 11 years in entertainment. I found it refreshing to “meet” Jack Hawn and to watch him learn the industry of journalism while on the job.
One of the most important elements in a memoir is for the author to make himself visible to his or her readers. Author Jack Hawn successfully allows readers to get to know the real Jack Hawn. He uses photographs to draw readers closer to him. As Hawn looks back over his career he examines how he ended up in the business of journalism. Jack Hawn offers readers encouragement to think out of the box and to reach for the stars.
Reviewed by Anne B. for Readers Favorite
Top Reviews from the United States
Great book I critiqued this book and enjoyed every page I read. If you like to read about the early days of televised sports, journalists' lives, people like the Andrew Sisters and boxers, you will enjoy this book. Well written by a professional journalist. Lots of great pictures, too. It was a "blind journey" because he didn't start out to be a journalist, just stumbled into it, but it turned out to be a wonderful lifelong career.SW Author
I was part of the newspaper era in Los Angeles that Jack Hawn writes about so eloquently and knowledgeably. It was wonderful to re-visit that time, and I'm sure others will find reading this book and discovering that era very rewarding, too. The title is "Blind Journey," but Jack Hawn sees that special time in the L.A. journalistic jungle with clear and insightful eyes.Dwightchapin
Born just after the Great Depression, Jack Hawn found that life ‘just happened’ for him in a series of serendipitous events, leading him into a writing career spanning 43 years. Although he never studied journalism, journalism found him after 4 years in the Army Public Information Offices.
With a new wife and growing family, Jack took on whatever could pay the bills, from being a copyboy at a Hollywood newspaper to writing reviews of plays and nightclub acts (an outing including a meal when lucky!), to filling a sports desk vacancy.
He has done it all: from being a television dramatist, to writing TV and radio scripts for sportscasters, to finally making his mark in the sporting and entertainment news world.
Jack’s lifetime has included newsworthy landmark events such the Black Dahlia murder, the Rosenberg treason trial, the Jonestown massacre, two unsolved murders of well-known boxing managers, and a Muhammed Ali defeat and the rematch that regained his title.
After leaving sports, Jack worked for 11 years as a Los Angeles Times copy editor and features writer, covering major entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Big-Band leaders, top vocalists and film stars of that era. He has rubbed shoulders with movie, musical, and sporting greats, as the black and white photos in the book confirm.
From the old newspaper days of cut-and-paste (with scissors and glue) and composing room hot type to Lucky Strike and Camel, and now-classic cars, Hawn’s book evokes memories of bygone eras, and a sense of nostalgia for times past, both good and bad.
Through a life punctuated by joys and despairs, ups and downs, Hawn retained an unshakeable optimism and faith in life, and what destiny had mapped out for him. His memoir covers a wide-ranging career, and leaves the author with a veritable wealth of remembrances as his reward.
This is a charming book, written in a laid-back style, as if the author is inviting the reader to walk down Memory Lane with him. Amusing and entertaining anecdotes pepper the text, bringing well-known names and personalities to life. Hawn has enjoyed a life filled with memorable experiences that many people will appreciate reading.
Reviewed by Fiona I. for Readers Favorite
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of “Blind Journey” by Jack L Hawn.]
Born on January 25, 1930, and welcomed by the collapse of the stock market, Jack Hawn would find himself drifting through life until a shock breakup that saw his girlfriend dump him just as she introduced her fiancé. Just 18 years old at that time, Jack would find himself at an army recruiting office where he would eventually enlist to join the army. It was not particularly clear whether the breakup led to that decision, but it would throw him into the world of journalism, in which he had no prior experience, thus commencing his blind journey. Around the same time, he met the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, Charlene. However, there was the small matter of a boyfriend who wasn’t around.
Blind Journey: A Journalist’s Memoirs by Jack Hawn explores numerous stories that focus on the author’s experiences in which he not only details his career as a writer but also takes us through his family life, his time in the army, good and bad times, accomplishments, and disappointments, among other things.
The first aspect of this book that I enjoyed and must applaud was the author’s honesty in taking us through many personal experiences. He described not just high points but also several of his screw-ups, from his mistakes as a writer to his issues with gambling that cost him when he and his wife were struggling for funds. I appreciated his honesty and learned a thing or two from his struggles.
In this book, what I saw was a flawed man who always wanted to provide for his family and persevered through numerous disappointments in his industry, even when it may have been easier to give up or switch careers. I found this very relatable. I also saw his deep love for writing and sports, especially boxing, shine through on the pages of the book. There is always a positive difference when someone narrates something they love doing, and this showed when Jack narrated his experiences with covering several sports occasions while meeting and interviewing numerous stars along the way, including Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Ken Norton, Frank Sinatra, who had dreams of becoming a professional boxer, and the Andrews sisters who sold over 75 million records. Narrating his experiences with meeting these greats and seeing them in the ring is also an aspect of the book that fans of the boxing sport, like myself, will enjoy.
Another of the author’s admirable qualities is how he often puts himself out there when the opportunity comes, regardless of whether he is qualified or unqualified. This was emphasized by his decision to join the public information office (PIO) in the army, even though there was a push from a superior, as well as his growth from selling ads and then working as a copy boy to becoming an editor and a TV show writer. He was always willing to explore and develop his abilities.
Blind Journey: A Journalist’s Memoirs seems like a prequel to another of the author’s books I have previously read, titled Insomnia, and I would advise readers to read this one first since it goes more in-depth about certain situations that are just breezed over in the other book. In fact, reading this book has improved my opinion of Insomnia as well, and I fully understand the intriguing character that is Jack Hawn.
The book is also exceptionally edited, as I did not find any errors while reading. This is even more impressive when you consider that it is a lengthy read. I cannot think of any aspect of the book I did not like. Therefore, I rate Blind Journey: A Journalist’s Memoirs five out of five stars. I would recommend this captivating book to readers who enjoy memoirs as well as sports-themed books.