Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jonathan Eig  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1964 in Brooklyn, New York

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Illinois Connection

Eig has lived in Chicago since the early eighties. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jonathan Eig is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, where he remains a contributing writer. He has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and, among others. Prior to The Wall Street Journal, Eig worked as a feature writer for Chicago magazine and as a news reporter for The Dallas Morning News and The New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Eig has taught writing at Columbia College Chicago and Northwestern. He has spoken to audiences at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, Harvard Medical School, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He has also appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and in two Ken Burns documentaries: Prohibition and Jackie Robinson.

Currently, Eig is working with Burns and Florentine Films in making a documentary on Muhammad Ali. He is also working with CBS on an Ali miniseries based on his book.

Published Works

  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig and Jake Eig, Simon & Schuster, 2006
  • Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season, Simon & Schuster, 2008
  • Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster, Simon & Schuster, 2010The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, Norton, 2015Ali: A Life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Selected Titles At Your Library

Luckiest man :
ISBN: 0743268938. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. ©2005.

Recounts the life of the Hall of Fame ballplayer whose career was cut short by the disease now commonly called after him, in a portrait that shares details about his rivalry with Babe Ruth, the onset of his illness, and the final years of his life.

Opening day :
ISBN: 0743294610. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster Paperbacks,. New York :. 2008.

A chronicle of the 1947 baseball season during which Jackie Robinson broke the race barrier is a sixtieth anniversary tribute based on interviews with Robinson's wife, daughter, and teammates.

Get Capone :
ISBN: 141658059X. OCLC Number:

Simon & Schuster,. New York :. 2010.

Drawing on thousands of pages of recently discovered government documents, wiretap transcripts, and Al Capone's handwritten personal letters, "New York Times" bestselling author Jonathan Eig tells the dramatic story of the rise and fall of the nation's most notorious criminal in rich new detail.

The birth of the pill :
ISBN: 0393351890. OCLC Number:

. .

We know it simply as "the pill," yet its genesis was anything but simple. The Birth of the Pill revolves around four principal characters. Fiery feminist Margaret Sanger, was a champion of birth control in her campaign for the rights of women, but neglected her own children in pursuit of free love. The beautiful Katharine McCormick owed her fortune to her wealthy husband, the son of the founder of International Harvester and a schizophrenic. The visionary scientist Gregory Pincus, was dismissed by Harvard in the 1930s as a result of his experimentation with in vitro fertilization but, after he was approached by Sanger and McCormick, grew obsessed with the idea of inventing a drug that could stop ovulation. The telegenic John Rock was a Catholic doctor from Boston who battled his own church to become an enormously effective advocate in the effort to win public approval for the drug that would be marketed by Searle as Enovid. Spanning the years from Sanger's heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminist politics, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes.

Ali :
ISBN: 0544435249. OCLC Number:

. .

"Based on more than 500 interviews, including Muhammad Ali's closest associates, and enhanced by access to thousands of pages of newly released FBI records, this is a thrilling story of a man who became one of the great figures of the twentieth century."--


Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, won the Casey Award for best baseball book of the year. Ali was named winner of PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting

best book of the year by Sports Illustrated

and one of the ten best non-fiction books of the year by The Wall Street Journal. It was a finalist for Mark Lynton History Prize

the Plutarch Award

the William Hill Award

the James Tait Black Award for biography

an L.A. Times Book Award for biography

and an NAACP Image Award.

The Birth of the Pill - A Chicago Tribune "Best Books of 2014" • A Slate "Best Books 2014: Staff Picks" • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books of 2014" • A New York Times "Editors Choice"

Ali: A Life - 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, The Times Sports Biography of the Year

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)