Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Arnie Bernstein  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1960 in Harvey, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Lives in Chicago. Raised in Park Forest, Niles & Morton Grove. High school at Niles West in Skokie, Illinois. Southern Illinois University, BA in Film Studies/Theater, Carbondale, Illinois; Columbia College, MA in Integrated Writing Program, Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Arnie Bernstein is a nonfiction writer based in Chicago. His book, ''Swastika Nation: Führers, Politicians, Mobsters and the Rise and Fall of the German American Bund'', is his newest book detailing a pro-Nazi movement that swept the United States in the 1930s. His critically acclaimed 2009 book ''Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing'', brought to light the forgotten story of a madman who detonated a rural Michigan school building on May 18, 1927, killing 38 children and six adults. Gregg Olsen, author of the New York Times best seller ''Starvation Heights'' praised the book, writing: “With the meticulous attention to detail of a historian and a storyteller's eye for human drama, Bernstein shines a beam of truth on a forgotten American tragedy. Heartbreaking and riveting.”Bernstein is the author of three books on Chicago history, which earned praise from the late United States Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois) and Roger Ebert. In his introduction to Bernstein’s book ''The Movies Are: Carl Sandburg’s Film Reviews & Essays'', Ebert wrote: “Arnie Bernstein has performed an extraordinary accomplishment in bringing this book into being….(He) adds great knowledge and insight…providing background, orientation, historical information, helpful footnotes. This is a book that reopens a chapter of journalism and history that might have remained closed forever.”Bernstein has been interviewed by many media outlets, including ''The New York Times'', ''The Chicago Tribune'', ''National Public Radio'', ''BBC Radio'', television, documentaries and webcasts. He was honored for his work by the the State Library of Michigan and the Illinois State Library; and won grants and awards from The Puffin Foundation and Warner Brothers Studios. Bernstein is a member of The Author’s Guild, PEN, The Chicago Writer's Association, and The Society of Midland Authors. He is represented by Michele Rubin of Writers House, New York.Speaking engagements include presentations at DePaul University, the University of Chicago, Columbia College-Chicago, and many others. He has given speeches and served on panel discussions at the Chicago History Museum, the Illinois State Library, the Gene Siskel Film Center, as well as numerous public and private libraries, bookstores and reading groups.When it comes to philosophy, Arnie follows the words of notable sage Groucho Marx: “I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.”

Selected Titles At Your Library

Hollywood on Lake Michigan :
ISBN: 1613745753. OCLC Number:

. .

This revamped second edition is the premier guide to the Windy City's history in the film industry. Ranging from the dawn of the silent era, when one out of every five films in the world was made in Chicago, to todays blockbusters and independent films, it chronicles the significant contributions of Chicago and Chicagoans to more than a century of American filmmaking. Among Chicago's unique honours in this history are the development of early film technology; the first African American-owned and operated film studios; the birthplace of gore flicks; the origination and growth of movie palaces; and the importance of the Second City, Goodman, and Steppenwolf theatres as training grounds for comedic and dramatic talent. It provides readers with behind-the-scenes stories of studio films, independent work, and cult classics and includes exclusive interviews detailing all aspects of the movie-making process.

Swastika nation :
ISBN: 1250006716. OCLC Number:

. .

A history of the German-American Bund traces the efforts of Fritz Kuhn and his followers to overthrow the U.S. government with a fascist dictatorship, tracing their private and public meetings, the development of their own version of the SS and Hitler Youth and the politicians, lawyer, journalist and criminals who used respective means to counter the movement.

Bath massacre :
ISBN: 0472033468. OCLC Number:

University of Michigan Press,. Ann Arbor :. ©2009.

A gripping account of America's first#x97;and largest#x97;school mass murder.

The hoofs and guns of the storm :
ISBN: 1893121062. OCLC Number:

Lake Claremont Press,. Chicago :. 2003.

Hollywood on Lake Michigan :
ISBN: 0964242621. OCLC Number:

Lake Claremont Press,. Chicago, Ill. :. 1998.

The movies are :
ISBN: 1893121054. OCLC Number:

Lake Claremont Press,. Chicago, Ill. :. 2000.


Author Honor

  • 2005 Honored at Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois
  • Hollywood on Lake Michigan

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Contact Arnie Bernstein at Arnie speaks with adult, high school, and middle school groups at schools, libraries, clubs, and bookstores. Topics include researching & writing nonfiction; Bath School bombing of 1927; Chicago and film; Chicago and Civil War/Lincoln. Limited engagements at this time; contact Arnie for more information.