Individual Author Record
Name: Jonathan EigPen Name: None Genre: History Non-Fiction Audience: Adult; Born: 1964 in Brooklyn, New York
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Illinois ConnectionEig has lived in Chicago since the early eighties. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Biographical and Professional InformationJonathan 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 Slate.com, 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.
- Get Capone: The Secret Plot that Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster, Simon & Schuster, 2010
- 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, 2008Ali: A Life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution, Norton, 2015
Titles At Your Library
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
ISBN: 0743268938 Simon & Schuster. 2006 The definitive account of the life and tragic death of baseball legend Lou Gehrig.
Lou Gehrig was a baseball legend—the Iron Horse, the stoic New York Yankee who was the greatest first baseman in history, a man whose consecutive-games streak was ended by a horrible disease that now bears his name. But as this definitive new biography makes clear, Gehrig’s life was more complicated—and, perhaps, even more heroic—than anyone really knew.
Drawing on new interviews and more than two hundred pages of previously unpublished letters to and from Gehrig, Luckiest Man gives us an intimate portrait of the man who became an American hero: his life as a shy and awkward youth growing up in New York City, his unlikely friendship with Babe Ruth (a friendship that allegedly ended over rumors that Ruth had had an affair with Gehrig’s wife), and his stellar career with the Yankees, where his consecutive-games streak stood for more than half a century. What was not previously known, however, is that symptoms of Gehrig’s affliction began appearing in 1938, earlier than is commonly acknowledged. Later, aware that he was dying, Gehrig exhibited a perseverance that was truly inspiring he lived the last two years of his short life with the same grace and dignity with which he gave his now-famous “luckiest man” speech.
Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man shows us one of the greatest baseball players of all time as we’ve never seen him before.
Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season
ISBN: 0743294610 Simon & Schuster. 2008 This bestselling account of the most important season in baseball history, 1947, tells the dramatic story of how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and changed baseball forever.
April 15, 1947, marked the most important opening day in baseball history. When Jackie Robinson stepped onto the diamond that afternoon at Ebbets Field, he became the first black man to break into major-league baseball in the twentieth century. World War II had just ended. Democracy had triumphed. Now Americans were beginning to press for justice on the home front—and Robinson had a chance to lead the way.
In Opening Day, Jonathan Eig tells the true story behind the national pastime’s most sacred myth. He offers new insights into events of sixty years ago and punctures some familiar legends. Was it true that the St. Louis Cardinals plotted to boycott their first home game against the Brooklyn Dodgers? Was Pee Wee Reese really Robinson’s closest ally on the team? Was Dixie Walker his greatest foe? How did Robinson handle the extraordinary stress of being the only black man in baseball and still manage to perform so well on the field? Opening Day is also the story of a team of underdogs that came together against tremendous odds to capture the pennant. Facing the powerful New York Yankees, Robinson and the Dodgers battled to the seventh game in one of the most thrilling World Series competitions of all time.
Drawing on interviews with surviving players, sportswriters, and eyewitnesses, as well as newly discovered material from archives around the country, Jonathan Eig presents a fresh portrait of a ferocious competitor who embodied integration’s promise and helped launch the modern civil-rights era. Full of new details and thrilling action, Opening Day brings to life baseball’s ultimate story.
Get Capone: The Secret Plot That Captured America's Most Wanted Gangster
ISBN: 141658059X Simon & Schuster. 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.
From the moment he arrived in Chicago in 1920, Capone found himself in a world of limitless opportunity. He was an impetuous, affable young man of average intelligence, ill prepared for fame and fortune, whose most notable characteristic was his scarred left cheek. Yet within a few years, Capone controlled an illegal bootlegging business with annual revenue rivaling that of some of the nation’s largest corporations. Along the way he corrupted the Chicago police force and local courts while becoming one of the world’s first international celebrities.
A furious President Herbert Hoover insisted that Capone be brought to justice because the criminal was making a mockery of federal law. Legend credits Eliot Ness and his “Untouchables” with apprehending Capone. But it was the U.S. attorney in Chicago and little-known agents working on direct orders from the White House who compromised their ethics—and risked their lives—to get their man.
The most infamous crime attributed to Capone was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a crime that Capone insisted he didn’t commit. Using newly discovered FBI records, Eig offers a surprising explanation for the murders.
Get Capone explores every aspect of the man called “Scarface,” paying particular attention to the myths that have for so long surrounded and obscured him. Capone emerges as a worldly, emotionally complex man, doomed as much by his ego as by his vicious criminality. This is the real Al Capone.
The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
ISBN: 0393351890 W. W. Norton & Company. 2015
A Chicago Tribune "Best Books of 2014" • A Slate "Best Books 2014: Staff Picks" • A St. Louis Post-Dispatch "Best Books of 2014"
We know it simply as "the pill," yet its genesis was anything but simple. Jonathan Eig's masterful narrative revolves around four principal characters: the fiery feminist Margaret Sanger, who 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, who owed her fortune to her wealthy husband, the son of the founder of International Harvester and a schizophrenic the visionary scientist Gregory Pincus, who was dismissed by Harvard in the 1930s as a result of his experimentation with in vitro fertilization but who, after he was approached by Sanger and McCormick, grew obsessed with the idea of inventing a drug that could stop ovulation and the telegenic John Rock, 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. Brilliantly researched and briskly written, The Birth of the Pill is gripping social, cultural, and scientific history.8 pages of illustrations
Ali: A Life
ISBN: 0544435249 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2017
Winner of the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing
Winner of The Times Sports Biography of the Year
"Stunning . . . Eig's brilliant, exhaustive book is the biography the champ deserves." —NPR.org
The definitive biography of an American icon, from a New York Times best-selling author with unique access to Ali’s inner circle
He was the wittiest, the prettiest, the strongest, the bravest, and, of course, the greatest (as he told us himself). Muhammad Ali was one of the twentieth century’s most fantastic figures and arguably the most famous man on the planet.
But until now, he has never been the subject of a complete, unauthorized biography. Jonathan Eig, hailed by Ken Burns as one of America’s master storytellers, radically reshapes our understanding of the complicated man who was Ali. Eig had access to all the key people in Ali’s life, including his three surviving wives and his managers. He conducted more than 500 interviews and uncovered thousands of pages of previously unreleased FBI and Justice Department files, as well dozens of hours of newly discovered audiotaped interviews from the 1960s. Collectively, they tell Ali’s story like never before—the story of a man who was flawed and uncertain and brave beyond belief.
“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky my name, not yours my religion, not yours my goals, my own. Get used to me.”
He was born Cassius Clay in racially segregated Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a sign painter and a housekeeper. He went on to become a heavyweight boxer with a dazzling mix of power and speed, a warrior for racial pride, a comedian, a preacher, a poet, a draft resister, an actor, and a lover. Millions hated him when he changed his religion, changed his name, and refused to fight in the Vietnam War. He fought his way back, winning hearts, but at great cost. Like so many boxers, he stayed too long.
Jonathan Eig’s Ali reveals Ali in the complexity he deserves, shedding important new light on his politics, religion, personal life, and neurological condition. Ali is a story about America, about race, about a brutal sport, and about a courageous man who shook up the world.