Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  John William Jakes  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- John William Jakes on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Born in Chicago in 1932, John Jakes began writing professionally during his freshman year at Northwestern University, where he was studying acting. He decided to trade the stage for the typewriter when, at age 18, he sold his first story for $25.

Biographical and Professional Information

After completing school, Jakes spent his days writing copy for a large pharmaceutical corporation, then several advertising agencies, including Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, one of the world's largest. At night he wrote and published short stories--eventually 200 of them, along with some 60 books in genres such as mystery, western, and science fiction.

Selected Titles At Your Library

North and South /
ISBN: 0451200810. OCLC Number:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,. New York :. ©1982.

A novel of two families during twenty turbulent, troubled years that culminate in the shattering Civil War.

Love and war /
ISBN: 0451200829. OCLC Number:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,. San Diego :. ©1984.

Recounts the adventures of two unforgettable families--the Hazards of Pennsylvania and the Mains of South Carolina--in a land ripped apart by the Civil War.

Heaven and Hell /
ISBN: 0451200837. OCLC Number:

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,. San Diego, CA :. ©1987.

Continues the saga of two American families, the Mains of South Carolina and the Hazards of Pennsylvania, in the aftermath of the Civil War.

Homeland /
ISBN: 0451198425. OCLC Number:

Doubleday,. New York :. 1993.

The Crowns of Chicago are fictional immigrants from Berlin whose lives are woven here with the lives of such as Eugene Debs, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Clara Barton, Jane Addams, Black Jack Pershing, and Buffalo Bill.

American dreams /
ISBN: 0451197011. OCLC Number:

Signet :. New York :. 1999.

Follows the historical saga of the Crown family, German immigrants who settle in Chicago, as they participate in the events of the early twentieth century.

The bold frontier /
ISBN: 0451204190. OCLC Number:

Signet,. New York :. ©2001.

Collection of western stories by John Jakes." These tales capture the glory and suffering of the men and women of the era--from a strange saloon shootout and a trapper seeking vengeance against a fur company to double-crossing outlaws and a duel between medicine men. John Jakes's thrilling stories span the legacy--and fuel the imagination--of the American frontier.

Crime time :
ISBN: 0786231572. OCLC Number:

Five Star,. Waterville, Me. :. 2001.

Charleston /
ISBN: 0451207335. OCLC Number:

Signet,. New York :. 2003, ©2002.

Follows the lives, loves, and shifting fortunes of the unforgettable Bell family, from the American Revolution through the turbulent antebellum years to the savage defeat of the Confederacy. Jakes paints a powerful portrait of the Charleston aristocracy who zealously guard their wealth and privilege--while harboring dark family secrets that threaten to destroy them all. Peopled by a sprawling cast of memorable characters-- patriots and cowards, aristocrats and abolitionists, slaves and freedmen, heroic men and courageous women.

Savannah, or, A gift for Mr. Lincoln :
ISBN: 0451215702. OCLC Number:

Dutton,. New York :. ©2004.

As Sherman's army marches from Atlanta to the sea in 1864, the city of Savannah lies directly in its path, threatening the livelihood of widow Sara Lester and her twelve-year-old daughter Hattie, who struggle to save the family plantation.

The gods of Newport :
ISBN: 0451222342. OCLC Number:

Dutton,. New York :. ©2006.

Determined to secure entry into the elite social circles of late nineteenth-century Rhode Island, Sam Driver enlists the help of a pair of social gadflies but finds his efforts complicated by his daughter's romance with an impoverished young Irishman.


Porgie Award, 1977, for best books in a series

Ohioana Book Award for fiction, 1978, for "American Bicentennial" series

Friends of the Rochester Library Literary Award, 1983

Owen Wister Award for lifetime contribution to Western literature, Western Writers of America, 2007.

Speaking Engagements

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