Ransoming Pagan Babies: The Selected Writings of Warren Hinckle

Hardcover, 6 x 9, 512 pages.
ISBN: 9781597144162.

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By Warren Hinckle

From his galvanizing exposés in Ramparts magazine to his hand in inventing gonzo, Warren Hinckle upended twentieth-century investigative reporting and gave it new provocation and zest. In the first career-spanning collection of writings by this key figure of American journalism, Ransoming Pagan Babies contains an astonishing thematic sweep: Joseph Mitchell–esque portraits of old San Francisco and its characters; insightful reporting on conflicts in Selma, Northern Ireland, and Vietnam; forays into local politics; and piercing depictions of a Bay Area riven by inequality and assassination. Reading Hinckle drops the reader into the heart of history—and, just as importantly, it’s fun. Hinckle wrote about his subjects with bluster, tenacity, heart, and a desire for adventure and justice. This book is the first to capture his swashbuckling energy and expansive talent in a single volume.


Warren J. Hinckle III was born October 12, 1938, in San Francisco. He was executive editor of Ramparts magazine from 1964 to 1969, and he cofounded Scanlan’s magazine in 1970. He later served as editor for City of San Francisco, Frisco, and The Argonaut. He wrote regularly for the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, and the San Francisco Independent, and was the author of numerous books, including If You Have a Lemon, Make Lemonade: An Essential Memoir of a Lunatic Decade. He died in San Francisco on August 25, 2016.