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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Robert Ruark

Robert Ruark (1915-1965)

Robert Ruark, class of 1935, emerged as a major American writer during the 1950s when Something of Value (1955), his book on Kenya’s Mau-Mau uprising, appeared. Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, he majored in journalism at Chapel Hill and worked as a reporter for many years. After serving in the military during World War II, he began a syndicated humor column that made him famous. Something of Value is often compared to the work of Ernest Hemingway. Ruark’s sympathetic portrayal of African characters sparked controversy when the movie version, starring Sidney Poitier, played in the South. Ruark also wrote outdoor columns for Field & Stream and a novel about hunting and fishing in North Carolina, The Old Man and the Boy (1957), writings which also evoked comparisons with Hemingway.