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Ethan Michaeli

Born: , in New York
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Michaeli is based out of Chicago.

Biography: Ethan Michaeli is the author of “The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) praised by Brent Staples of The New York Times as “An extraordinary history…Deeply researched, elegantly written…a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten.” Winner of the Best Non Fiction of 2016 prizes from the Midland Authors Association as well as the Chicago Writers Association, named as a Notable Book of 2016 by The New York Times as well as the Washington Post and Amazon, and to the short list of the Mark Lynton Prize presented by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. A publisher and journalist based in Chicago, Ethan was a copy editor and investigative reporter at The Chicago Daily Defender from 1991 to 1996. He left The Defender to found the Residents’ Journal, a magazine written and produced by the tenants of Chicago’s public housing developments, and an affiliated not-for-profit organization, We The People Media. Residents’ Journal/We The People Media won national awards for its journalism and for its programs training youths and adults in the skills of modern journalism, including the 2006 Studs Terkel Award for its investigative reporting. Ethan served as a member of the part-time journalism faculty at Columbia College Chicago from 1995-2002, and currently teaches a course on 'Race, Politics and Media in the 20th Century' at the Harris School of Public Policy of the University of Chicago. He has served as a judge in prestigious literary contests including the 2018 Lynton Prize and the 2017 Chicago Writers Association. In addition to “The Defender,” Ethan’s work has been published by Oxford University Press, Atlantic Magazine, the Nation, the Forward, In These Times and the Chicago Tribune, among other venues. His forthcoming book, “Twelve Tribes: Promise and Peril in the New Israel,” will be published by Custom House Books.

  • "The Defender"
  • -- Best Non Fiction of 2016, Midland Authors Association and Chicago Writers Association,
  • -- Notable Book of 2016, New York Times, Washington Post and Amazon
  • -- Short List, Mark Lynton Prize, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University

Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

The defender :
ISBN: 9780547560694 OCLC: 910309917

The story of the Chicago Defender is the story of race in the twentieth century.--Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here. Giving voice to the voiceless, the Chicago Defender condemned Jim Crow, catalyzed the Great Migration, and focused the electoral power of black America. Robert S. Abbott founded The Defender in 1905, smuggled hundreds of thousands of copies into the most isolated communities in the segregated South, and was dubbed a Modern Moses, becoming one of the first black millionaires in the process. His successor wielded the newspaper's clout to elect mayors and presidents, including Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy, who would have lost in 1960 if not for The Defender's support. Along the way, its pages were filled with columns by legends like Ida B. Wells, Langston Hughes, and Martin Luther King. Drawing on dozens of interviews and extensive archival research, Ethan Michaeli constructs a revelatory narrative of race in America and brings to life the reporters who braved lynch mobs and policemen's clubs to do their jobs, from the age of Teddy Roosevelt to the age of Barack Obama--

ISBN: 0062688855 OCLC: 1237861691

n 2015, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned in a speech to political and military leaders that the country’s citizens were dividing into tribes: by class and ethnicity, by geography, and above all along lines of religion, proclaiming: “In the State of Israel the basic systems that form peoples’ consciousness are tribal and separate, and will most likely remain so.” In Twelve Tribes, award-winning journalist Ethan Michaeli captures this increasingly fractured Israel, weaving together the personal histories of Israelis of all tribes into a narrative of social and political change. Readers of Twelve Tribes will meet the aging revolutionaries who founded Israel’s kibbutz movement and the brilliant young people working for the country’s booming Big Tech companies. They will join thousands of ultra-Orthodox Haredim at a joyous memorial for a long-dead Romanian Rebbe at a cemetery in a suburb of Tel Aviv, and marvel at the life experience of Belaynesh Zevadia, who came to Israel from Ethiopia on her own, and decades later returned to her birth country as the ambassador from Israel. And they will be challenged, in turn, by portraits of Israeli Arabs navigating between the opportunities in a prosperous, democratic state and the discrimination they suffer as a vilified minority, as by conversations with Palestinians who are striving to build the institutions of a nascent state, and by the Israeli settlers who are seeking to establish a Jewish presence on the same land. Framed by Michaeli’s own experience as an American with family roots in Israel, Twelve Tribes will illuminate the complex dynamics within the country, a collective drama which has global consequences far beyond the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. Through extensive research and access to all sectors of Israeli society, Michaeli reveals Israel as a land of paradoxical intersections and volatile, unlikely cohabitation—a place where all of the world’s struggles meet, and a microcosm for the challenges faced by all nations today.