The Boys in the Bunkhouse
Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland

With this Dickensian tale from America’s heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Barry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.

Early rave reviews…

“Dan Barry gives dignity even to the darkest corners of the American experience. He is the closest thing we have to a contemporary Steinbeck.” – Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award-winning Let the Great World Spin

“Expose of a moral catastrophe” and “a vital piece of reporting. A powerful story.” – The New York Times

“Dan Barry has achieved the remarkable. He has written an unforgettable story of degradation, suffering, and eventual triumph rendered in a velvet style that blends poetry with colloquialism.” – The Providence Journal

“The prose itself is at times luminous; hard-hitting journalism shot through with flourishes of the best literary nonfiction…” –Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Gently, empathetically, and indelibly, Barry conveys a tale of unthinkable brutality” – Kirkus (starred review)

“Eloquently and lamentably laid out…clearly and engagingly explains the problems and constructs the arc of evolving public understanding of mental disabilities over that 30-year period.” – Kansas City Star

“Dan Barry represents the magic that is possible in journalism when there is a convergence between a great story and great talent.” – Gay Talese


commonweal   Check out David Carroll Cochran’s generous review of The Boys in the Bunkhouse in Commonweal Magazine.

Listen to Dan Barry and Colum McCann discuss The Boys in the Bunkhouse in this Times Insider Podcast

Dan and Colum

Dan Barry in conversation with National Book Award Winner Colum McCann about the power of storytelling and The Boys in the Bunkhouse at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House on June 2nd.

newsweek photoIn a Newsweek feature about Dan Barry and The Boys in the Bunkhouse, Alexander Nazaryan calls the book “a pleasure to read. The Boys in the Bunkhouse is not just a book about the victims but also a book that turns those victims into real men.” Here’s the full story.

pro2Check out this ProPublica podcast, Horror on the Prairie: Hard Labor and Harsh Treatment for Group of Disabled Men in Iowa.  Joaquin Sapien talks with Dan Barry about the  The Boys in the Bunkhouse.

For  A Step In The Write Direction website, Dan shares an early story he wrote about a man with intellectual disability. The supposed connection between a custodian in his college dorm and a Hollywood goddess sent him on a path that opened his eyes to the “otherness” that society imposes on people with intellectual disability, a la “The Boys in the Bunkhouse.”

In this Texas Public Radio interview, Dan Barry discusses the writing of The Boys in the Bunkhouse. Hear the interview.

The New York Times reporter and columnist Dan Barry won the 2015 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest top prize for “The Boys in the Bunkhouse,” published in the Times in March 2014. Full Story

modern love

Dan Barry’s powerful essay “Just One Last Swirl Around the Bowl” takes us on a deep emotional journey. The essay is narrated by Jason Alexander.

‘One Last Swirl’ | Modern Love 2

New York Times Wins Disability Reporting Award

How Dan Barry wrote a New York Times baseball game story as if it were 1908

From Mayborn: How Video Can Improve Narrative

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Recent Articles


St. Bonaventure has chosen the nonfiction book “The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland” by alumnus Dan Barry, ’80, as its common read for 2016-2017. Barry will address the Freshman class on September 26. Read more…colgate           LIVING WRITERS:  Colgate University will host Dan Barry as part of this exciting series. Dan will speak about The Boys in the Bunkhouse and his This Land column for The New York Times on October 6 at 4:30. Read more…

Check out Dan Barry Delivering the  Commencement Address at St. Bonaventure University

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