"Jack Farrell is the F. Scott of The Boston Globe." - Maureen Dowd
John Aloysius Farrell is the author of Richard Nixon: The Life, a biography of that most enigmatic 37th president of the United States, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The New York Times bestseller has won the PEN America award for the best biography of the year, and the New-York Historical Society's Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize in American History, with engraved medal, a $50,000 cash award, and the honorary title "American Historian Laureate" for the best volume of US history or biography in 2017.
"Farrell's blockbuster portrait of Nixon is revelatory - filled with fresh reporting shedding new light on the roots of our own dark political moment," writes Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. "He shows that dirty tricks, October Surprises, and anti-elitist resentment were among the gifts Nixon bequeathed to our own presidential politics."
"A tale that presents Nixon from boyhood to senator, power broker and president, in all of his complexity and contradiction," wrote the Pulitzer judges, in the finalist citation.
Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, found the book "full of fresh, endlessly revealing insights into Nixon's political career," with "new items" and "fascinating" asides.
Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, said "Farrell, an exceptional writer, examines minor anecdotes and Nixon’s world-altering choices to illuminate his fundamental and contradictory qualities: a mixture of intelligence, ambition, insecurity, paranoia, and deviousness, all put in service to great success and catastrophic failure."
In a January 1, 2017 op-ed in The New York Times, Jack previewed one of the book's sensational findings: that Nixon personally directed a secret campaign to scuttle Lyndon Johnson's October, 1968 peace initiative. His fellow historians told the Times how the book provides a key and missing piece to the history of the Vietnam war.
"Brilliant, ruthless, a president who combined some enlightened policies with inner darkness, Richard Nixon stands alone in the history of American politics," writes T.J. Stiles, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Custer's Trials and The First Tycoon."John A. Farrell's gripping account vividly captures Nixon from his earliest days - catapulting to Congress with a cold-blooded debate stunt - to the mounting crises he faced in the White House, culminating in his spectacular fall."
Richard Nixon: The Life was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize for biography, and a longlist nominee for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.
Jack's previous books are Clarence Darrow: Attorney For The Damned, a biography of America's greatest defense attorney, and of Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century, the definitive account of House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill Jr. and his times.
Farrell is a contributing editor to Politico Magazine and a contributor to The Atlantic, after a prize-winning career as a journalist, most notably at The Denver Post, National Journal and The Boston Globe, where he worked as White House correspondent and served on the vaunted Spotlight team.
His biography of Clarence Darrow was awarded the Los Angeles Times book prize for the best biography of 2011, and won critical praise from reviewers and fellow writers.
"This book is a joy and revelation. It is at once a rollicking tour through the mind of a legal genius and a spellbinding account of some of the most famous cases in American history. The chapter on Leopold and Loeb alone is worth waiting in line to get a seat in Jack Farrell's courtroom," said David Maraniss, biographer of Bill Clinton and Vince Lombardi, and author of When Pride Still Mattered and They Marched into Sunlight.
Kirkus Reviews gave the Darrow book a starred review, reserved for "books of remarkable merit." The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Miami Herald and The Washington Times all hailed the book.
Jack wrote the O'Neill biography while working as White House correspondent and Washington editor for The Boston Globe. It was published by Little, Brown and Co. in 2001.
His lecture on Tip O'Neill was published by the House of Representatives in The Cannon Centenary Conference: the Changing Nature of the Speakership in 2003. The conference was sponsored by the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, and the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center. Farrell shared the podium with House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert and former Speakers Newt Gingrich, Tom Foley and Jim Wright. You can read it here at:http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/cdocuments/hd108-204/text/oneill.html
Farrell was awarded a Dirksen Congressional Center research grant for his biography of O'Neill. It also won the D.B. Hardeman Prize in 2003 for the best writing on Congress from the University of Texas and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.
Jack has covered Congress, the Supreme Court and every American presidential campaign from 1980 through 2012. He has served as Washington bureau chief for The Denver Post, and the MediaNews chain. He has reported from Northern Ireland, Iraq, Israel and other nations. In 2011, he served as a senior political correspondent for The Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit center for investigative journalism in Washington, D.C.
In 1996, Jack received the Gerald R. Ford prize and the Aldo Beckman Award from the White House Correspondents Association for coverage of the presidency, the first time anyone had captured both awards in a single year. He has also won the 2001 Raymond Clapper Memorial Award for distinguished Washington reporting, the 1990 Roy Howard Public Service Prize, and a George Polk Award in 1984.
During his tenure as Washington editor for the Globe, members of the 10-person staff won a George Polk award, the Raymond Clapper prize and the Aldo Beckman award.
As an investigative reporter, Farrell's work spurred congressional investigations by the House Appropriations Committee on the exploitation and theft of Native American natural resources (1985) and on the failure of the U.S. Justice Department to prosecute rape and other felony cases on Indian Reservations (1986); by the House Energy and Commerce Committee (1984) on faulty medical devices, and by the House Government Operations Committee (1991) on the failures of the Patriot missile during the Gulf War.
A 1989 investigation conducted by Jack and other members of the Globe "Spotlight" team probed the conduct of municipal judges in Massachusetts and led to the appointment of a special master, whose report resulted in the resignation of three judges, and other reforms.
Jack was born on Long Island and attended Holy Family High School in Huntington, NY and Robert E. Peary High School in Montgomery County, Md. He graduated from the University of Virginia "with distinction" in 1975. In his newspaper career, he has worked on the Annapolis Evening Capital, the Baltimore News American, The Boston Globe and The Denver Post. He is married, and has two children and an Australian Shepherd named Charlie.
Farrell has served as a guest lecturer at Stanford University, the University of Virginia, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the United States Military Academy, Dartmouth College, the University of Chicago,Vanderbilt University, Ole Miss, the University of Pennsylvania and other colleges, and at The John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, the American Library in Paris, and McGill University in Montreal.
For interviews and speaking engagements, contact Doubleday.
Farrell was an editor and writer for The Boston Globe's biographical series on Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, and the subsequent book, John F. Kerry, published by Public Affairs in 2004.
In 2004, Jack Beatty chose an excerpt from "Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century" for inclusion in his anthology "Pols: Great Writers on American Politicians from Bryan to Reagan." Beatty's book is a grand chowder of political writing that includes such authors as John Dos Passos, H.L.Mencken, Robert Caro, David McCullough, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, Mike Royko, Garry Wills and Richard Ben Cramer.