Bryan Mealer is the author of Muck City: Winning and Losing in Football's Forgotten Town and the New York Times bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which he co-wrote with William Kamkwamba. He's also the author of All Things Must Fight to Live, which chronicled his years covering the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Harper's and the Associated Press. His work has appeared in the anthology Best American Travel Writing and was chosen for an Overseas Press Club Award Citation. He and his family live in Austin, where he's a frequent contributor to Texas Monthly.

The Kings of Big Spring, a memoir about his Bryan's long and complicated history with the Texas oil industry, is published by Flatiron.

Click here to read more about The Kings of Big Spring in the New York Times, and here to listen to an interview with Houston Public Media.



“Just as the black muck ‘seeps into your socks and under toenails,’ by the end ‘Muck City’ will have made its way into you and be difficult to forget” – New York Times

“This is another version of Buzz Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights (1990), and since both are less about football than they are about family, community, and the horrific struggle to rise above  poverty, each boasts a unique set of characters who are well worth knowing. A heartbreaking look at poverty in America, with some football on the side.” - Booklist (starred review)

“Muck City takes the reader deep into the experience of football, poverty and hope.” - Gregg Easterbrook, football columnist, ESPN

“A stirring tale of sports as a means of escape from dire circumstances.” – Kirkus

NPR Interview, For Some, Gridiron the Only Escape from "Muck City," October 24, 2012




“Gutsy, richly descriptive recollections effectively conjure grisly events in a troubled nation.” – Kirkus

“Mealer’s book is a quiet paean to the courage he has witnessed, and its final salute to ‘the many proud people of Congo’ is as much eulogy as affirmation.” – Publishers Weekly

The Christian Science Monitor ReviewJina Moore, August 9, 2008


The Kings of big spring

“In this excellent family history, journalist Mealer (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) follows his Scotch-Irish forebears from the hills of northern Georgia to a distant frontier of rugged beauty, untapped resources, and devastating hardship. . . . Mealer’s narrative allows figures long frozen in black and white to walk again in living color.”  Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"In his themes and vivid storytelling, Mealer invites comparison to James Mitchener (Texas) or J.D. Vance (Hillbilly Elegy). Entertainment doubles as social history of rural, white, working-class Texans from 1982 to 2011. The stories also resonate with contemporary preoccupations of rural whites' socioeconomic distress and cognitive dissonance, particularly on matters of faith and sexuality. . . . As tribute to the grit of the rural poor, as social history of dirt-and-oil Texas, and as rambunctious family saga, this work triumphs." ― Library Journal

"A big, eminently readable story, deftly spun even if with few surprises."  ― Kirkus

"The Kings of Big Spring seems destined to reach a wide audience. . . thanks to Mealer’s rollicking prose style and especially his impeccable timing: the book has already drawn favorable notices for its candid portrayal of the white working class."  ― Texas Monthly

"[R]ich in detail and imagery, The Kings of Big Spring is an entertaining, educational, and engaging addition. . . . I recognize this country and these people." ― Lone Star Literary

"An irresistible family history." ― The San Antonio Express-News

"Think of it as a Texas version of Hillbilly Elegy."
― Bryan Burrough, New York Times bestselling author of THE BIG RICH and BARBARIANS AT THE GATE

"Bryan Mealer has given us a brilliant, and brilliantly entertaining, portrayal of family, and a bursting-at-the-seams chunk of America in the bargain.”
― Ben Fountain, bestselling author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk


The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

“William Kamkwamba’s achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story.” — Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate

“This is an amazing, inspiring and heartwarming story! It’s about harnessing the power not just of the wind, but of imagination and ingenuity. Those are the most important forces we have for saving our planet. William Kamkwamba is a hero for our age.” — Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein and Benjamin Franklin

“This book is inspirational. What William did took nothing more than initiative and a little learning, yet he changed his village and his life. There’s never been a better time to Do It Yourself, and I love how much we can learn from those who often have no other choice.” — Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired and author of Free and The Long Tail

“I first met William on stage at TED.... His story, told in just a couple of minutes, was both astonishing and exhilarating. This book proves what those few minutes hinted at: a remarkable individual capable of inspiring many to take their future into their own hands.” — Chris Anderson, TED Curator

“This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“An inspiring tale of an African Cheetah--the new generation of young Africans who won’t sit and wait for corrupt and incompetent governments—or vampire states— to come and do things for them. Here is one who harnessed the wind to generate electricity for his village—on his own.” — Professor George Ayittey, Distinguished Economist, American University

“William will challenge everything you have thought about Africa, about young people, and about the power of one person to transform a community. This beautifully written book will open your heart and mind. I was moved by William and his story and believe you all will. Essential, powerful and compelling.” — Chris Abani, author of Graceland