Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Thomas Dyja  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction History Non-Fiction Other

Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Thomas Dyja on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Dyja was born and raised on Chicago's Northwest side. He is a third generation Chicagoan.

Biographical and Professional Information

Thomas Dyja is an author, bookseller, literary agent, editor and book packager. He stayed in New York after graduating from Columbia University to go into publishing. He still resides in New York today.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Play for a Kingdom
ISBN: 0151002673

Harcourt Brace. 1997

In this “brilliantly imagined and neatly plotted” Civil War novel (Boston Globe), two battle-scarred companies-one Union, one Confederate-embark on a series of baseball games amid the carnage at Spotsylvania. “Wonderfully conceived and eloquently executed” (Caleb Carr). Maps.

Meet John Trow
ISBN: 0670030996

Viking Adult. 2002

In the wake of a deteriorating career and marriage, Steven Armour joins a group of Civil War reenactors and throws himself into their weekend exercises with zeal, eventually becoming obsessed with his captain's wife before he begins losing his identify in his embrace of his Civil War role. 30,000 first printing.

The Moon in Our Hands: A Novel
ISBN: 0786717076

Da Capo Press. 2006

From the author of the award-winning novel Play for a Kingdom comes a masterful story inspired by the early life of Walter White, a dynamic but now all-but-forgotten figure in the history of civil rights. The twenty-four-year-old White was recruited in 1918 to work for the NAACP. Just weeks after he began, a horrible lynching took place in a small town in Tennessee and White was sent there to pose as a traveling salesman. His mission was to stay as long as it took to pry the secrets out of the town. Dyja paints a complex portrait of shifting identity as White, a blonde, blue-eyed, and very light-skinned African-American, moves back and forth between white and black, working his way into both the good-old-boy network of the town and the besieged African-American community. Forced to rethink his assumptions about what really happened in the town of Sibley Springs the night of the lynching, he struggles to establish guilt and innocence in a foreign landscape, confronting as well his own questions of identity. When another lynching looms, White must decide if he will risk everything to save a black life and the white souls of Sibley Springs.

Walter White: The Dilemma of Black Identity in America (Library of African-American Biography)
ISBN: 156663766X

Ivan R. Dee. 2008

The day Walter White was buried in 1955 the New York Times called him "the nearest approach to a national leader of American Negroes since Booker T. Washington." For more than two decades, White, as secretary of the NAACP, was perhaps the nation's most visible and most powerful African-American leader. He won passage of a federal anti-lynching law, hosted one of the premier salons of the Harlem Renaissance, created the legal strategy that led to Brown v. Board of Education, and initiated the campaign demanding that Hollywood give better roles to black actors. Driven by ambitions for himself and his people, he offered his entire life to the advancement of civil rights in America.

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
ISBN: 0143125095

Penguin Books. 2014

A critically acclaimed history of Chicago at mid-century, featuring many of the incredible personalities that shaped American culture

Before air travel overtook trains, nearly every coast-to-coast journey included a stop in Chicago, and this flow of people and commodities made it the crucible for American culture and innovation. In luminous prose, Chicago native Thomas Dyja re-creates the story of the city in its postwar prime and explains its profound impact on modern America—from Chess Records to Playboy, McDonald’s to the University of Chicago. Populated with an incredible cast of characters, including Mahalia Jackson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Sun Ra, Simone de Beauvoir, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Studs Turkel, and Mayor Richard J. Daley, The Third Coast recalls the prominence of the Windy City in all its grandeur.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)


Lisa Bankoff ICM Partners 730 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10019 212-556-5600


Yamil Anglada Penguin Press 375 Hudson Street New York, NY 10014 Email