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A true story of travel, war and heroism, shared by faculty author Héctor Tobar ♥

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Héctor Tobar’s new novel, The Last Great Road Bum, tells the true story of Joe Sanderson, who died fighting with guerrillas in El Salvador. Interviewed by Alejandro Morales (Chicano / Latino Studies) and hosted by Julia Lupton (English).

THE BOOK: The Last Great Road Bum: A Novel

Joe Sanderson died in pursuit of a life worth writing about. He was, in his words, a “road bum,” an adventurer and a storyteller, belonging to no place, people, or set of ideas. He was born into a childhood of middle-class contentment in Urbana, Illinois and died fighting with guerillas in Central America. With these facts, acclaimed novelist and journalist Héctor Tobar set out to write what would become The Last Great Road Bum. A decade ago, Tobar came into possession of the personal writings of the late Joe Sanderson, which chart Sanderson’s freewheeling course across the known world, from Illinois to Jamaica, to Vietnam, to Nigeria, to El Salvador—a life determinedly an adventure, ending in unlikely, anonymous heroism. The Last Great Road Bum is the great American novel Joe Sanderson never could have written, but did truly live—a fascinating, timely hybrid of fiction and nonfiction that only a master of both like Héctor Tobar could pull off 

THE AUTHOR: Professor Héctor Tobar (Literary Journalism)

Héctor Tobar is the author of five books published in ten languages, including the critically acclaimed, New York Times bestseller: Deep Down DarkThe Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them FreeHéctor is also a contributing writer for the New York Times opinion pages and has written for

This event is part of Illuminaries, our new series of Zoom book talks featuring UCI faculty and instructors.