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Hampton, Wilborn 1940-

Hampton, Wilborn 1940-

Personal

Born 1940, in Dallas, TX; married an editor. Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A. (English literature), c. 1963.

Addresses

Home—New York, NY.

Career

Journalist and author. United Press International (UPI), cub reporter in Dallas, TX, 1963, then foreign correspondent; New York Times, New York, NY, editor and theater critic.

Awards, Honors

Blue Ribbon Award, 1997, Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers selection, American Library Association (ALA), 1998, and Texas Bluebonnet Award nomination, 1999, all for Kennedy Assassinated!; Best Books for Young Adults selection, ALA, 2003, for Meltdown.

Writings

Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island: A Reporter's Story, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

War in the Middle East: A Reporter's Story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2007.

"UP CLOSE" BIOGRAPHY SERIES

Elvis Presley, Viking (New York, NY), 2007.

Babe Ruth, Viking (New York, NY), 2009.

Sidelights

Wilborn Hampton, a writer and editor for the New York Times, is the author of such critically acclaimed nonfiction works as Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island: A Reporter's Story and War in the Middle East: A Reporter's Story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War. Hampton has also penned biographies of Elvis Presley and Babe Ruth as part of Viking's "Up Close" series for young adults.

In Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story Hampton tells the story of how, as a rookie reporter, he happened to be the first employee at

the Dallas, Texas, offices of United Press International (UPI) to receive an incoming telephone call reporting that U.S. President John F. Kennedy had just been shot. Ironically, the 1963 assassination launched Hampton's career in a new direction: an English literature major, he proved that he had journalistic savvy and fortitude in the hours that ensued as he covered the unfolding story. "There was something exhilarating about being right in the eye of such a tornado of history," he remarked on the Candlewick Web site. "It was both horrible and exciting."

With what reviewer Elizabeth Bush, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, called "journalistic flair and raw, edge-of-the-seat urgency," Hampton reveals the pandemonium created in covering the breaking story of the successful assassination attempt, as reporters attempted to out-scoop each other for the latest developments and wrestle for use of the press phone. In one case, Hampton describes purposefully tying up a hospital phone line so that UPI could have direct and instant access to ongoing events. He also moves beyond the assassination and explains related historical events, such as the inauguration of Vice President Lyndon Johnson and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald at the hands of Jack Ruby, highlighting these accounts with photos that lend historical perspective. Hampton does not neglect the emotional impact of the event either, and describes breaking down and sobbing at the news of Kennedy's death. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly claimed that the journalist's "taut narrative is absorbing enough to keep pages turning."

During his career as a reporter, Hampton has come face to face with other momentous turns of fate. In Meltdown he describes the 1979 nuclear power plant accident that stalled the U.S. nuclear power industry, narrating the story in hour-by-hour chronology. In what a Publishers Weekly reviewer described as an "engaging, personal, behind-the-scenes viewpoint," Hampton moves from a discussion of Hiroshima, Japan, as it came under nuclear attack during World War II through the development of nuclear energy to the problems that occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. By ending his book with a discussion of the nuclear tragedy at the Soviet plant at Chernobyl in the mid-1980s, Hampton encourages readers to consider "weighty ethical questions about the future of atomic power," the Publishers Weekly reviewer added. Meltdown provides information regarding the basic operation of a nuclear plant and how the U.S. government dealt with the tragedy as well as presenting readers with "a glimpse into the workings of an experienced journalist," according to Horn Book contributor Betty Carter, who praised the book as a "dramatic narrative."

Hampton was living and working in New York City the day the United States came under attack by terrorists, and his book September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City presents his experiences. His book takes the form of a collection of vignettes that focus on the way individual people—including those who lost family members, those who lived through the ordeal, and those who helped in clean-up efforts—coped with tragedy. "Without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing, Hampton connects all these stories into a cohesive narrative," noted Horn Book contributor Betty Carter, praising the book as "accessible and informative." A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Hampton's "strong, and occasionally rawly emotional, reporting" is compelling, while in Booklist GraceAnne A. DeCandido dubbed September 11, 2001 "one of the best" books written to explain that fateful day to younger readers.

In War in the Middle East, Hampton recounts his experiences covering the 1970 Jordanian civil conflict known as "Black September" and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the latter a clash between Egyptian, Syrian, and Israeli forces. While Hampton discusses the history of the region and the causes underlying each conflict, he also provides a first-hand account of his own often-dangerous circumstances. While reporting from Amman, the capital of Jordan, Hampton became trapped in his hotel by heavy shelling, and during the Yom Kippur War, he traveled into the war zones of the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. Reviewers praised the immediacy of Hampton's accounts; a critic in Kirkus Reviews described the work as "a personal lens with which to view a complicated tale." "The great energy in Hampton's on-the-spot reporting carries the book," Carter remarked, and Kathleen E. Gruver, writing in School Library Journal, stated that "the writing is lively and engaging, and includes many dramatic anecdotes and eyewitness views."

Hampton offers a look at a cultural icon in Elvis Presley, a "deeply engaging biography," in the words of a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Here he follows the music legend from his childhood in Tupelo, Mississippi, to his association with Sun Records and Colonel Tom Parker, as well as Presley's rise to international fame to his descent into drug addiction. "The writing is casual yet authoritative," Marcia Koehel commented in School Library Journal, and Horn Book reviewer Tanya D. Auger observed that "Hampton's portrait of this rock-and-roll king is never oversimplified, a big plus for his middle-school audience." In Babe Ruth Hampton examines the life of the famed New York Yankees slugger.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story, p. 230; January 1, 2002, Randy Meyer, review of Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island: A Reporter's Story, p. 835; July, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City, p. 1878; May 1, 2007, Cindy Dobrez, review of Elvis Presley, p. 81; August, 2007, John Peters, review of War in the Middle East: A Reporter's Story: Black September and the Yom Kippur War, p. 59.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1997, Elizabeth Bush, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, pp. 52-53.

Horn Book, January-February, 2003, Betty Carter, review of Meltdown, p. 98; September-October, 2003, Betty Carter, review of September 11, 2001, p. 629; July-August, 2007, Tanya D. Auger, review of Elvis Presley, p. 411; January-February, 2008, Betty Carter, review of War in the Middle East, p. 109.

Horn Book, January-June 1, 2007, review of Elvis Presley; August 1, 2007, review of War in the Middle East.

New York Times Book Review, November 16, 1997, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, p. 28.

Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1997, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, p. 75; November 3, 1997, p. 60; October 15, 2001, review of Meltdown, p. 73; August 18, 2003, review of September 11, 2001, p. 81.

School Library Journal, October, 1997, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, p. 147; July, 2003, Wendy Lukehart, review of September 11, 2001, p. 141; June, 2007, Marcia Kochel, review of Elvis Presley, p. 172; August, 2007, Kathleen E. Gruver, review of War in the Middle East, p. 133.

ONLINE

Candlewick Press Web site,http://www.candlewick.com/ (January 1, 2009), "Wilborn Hampton."

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"Hampton, Wilborn 1940-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hampton, Wilborn 1940-." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/hampton-wilborn-1940

"Hampton, Wilborn 1940-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/hampton-wilborn-1940

Hampton, Wilborn

HAMPTON, Wilborn

Personal

Born in Dallas, TX; married an editor. Education: University of Texas at Austin, B.A. (English literature), c. 1963.

Addresses

Home New York, NY. Agent c/o Author Mail, Candlewick Press, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., 5th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02140.

Career

Journalist and author. United Press International (UPI), cub reporter in Dallas, TX, 1963, then foreign correspondent; New York Times, New York, NY, editor.

Awards, Honors

Blue Ribbon Award, 1997, Young Adult Library Services Association Editor's Picks for Reluctant Readers designation, 1998, and Texas Bluebonnet Award nomination, 1999, all for Kennedy Assassinated!

Writings

Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island: A Reporter's Story, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2003.

Sidelights

In Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story, journalist Wilborn Hampton tells the story of how, as a rookie reporter, he happened to be the first employee at United Press International's Dallas, Texas, offices to receive an incoming telephone call reporting that President John F. Kennedy had just been shot. Ironically, the 1963 assassination launched Hampton's career in a new direction: an English literature major, he proved that he had journalistic savvy and fortitude in the hours that ensued as he covered the unfolding story. With what reviewer Elizabeth Bush, writing in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, called "journalistic flair and raw, edge-of-the-seat urgency," Hampton describes the pandemonium in covering the breaking story of the successful assassination attempt, as reporters attempted to out-scoop each other for the latest developments and wrestle for use of the press phone. In one case, Hampton tells of purposefully tying up a hospital phone line so that UPI could have direct and instant access to ongoing events. He also moves beyond the assassination and describes related historical events, such as the inauguration of Vice President Lyndon Johnson and the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald at the hands of Jack Ruby, highlighting his text with photos that lend historical perspective. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly claimed that the journalist's "taut narrative is absorbing enough to keep pages turning." Hampton does not neglect the emotional impact of the event either, and describes breaking down and crying at Kennedy's death. During his career as a reporter, Hampton has come face to face with other momentous turns of fate. In Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island, he describes one of the worst nuclear power plant accidents in the United States, narrating the story in hour-by-hour chronology. In what a Publishers Weekly reviewer described as an "engaging, personal, behind-the-scenes viewpoint," Hampton moves from a discussion of Hiroshima, Japan, as it came under nuclear attack during World War II through the development of nuclear energy to the problems of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1979. By ending his book with a discussion of the nuclear tragedy at the Soviet plant at Chernobyl in the mid-1980s, Hampton encourages readers to consider "weighty ethical questions about the future of atomic power," the Publishers Weekly reviewer added. Meltdown provides information regarding the basic operation of a nuclear plant and how the U.S. government dealt with the tragedy as well as presenting readers with "a glimpse into the workings of an experienced journalist," according to Horn Book contributor Betty Carter, who praised the book as a "dramatic narrative."

Hampton was living and working in New York City the day the United States came under attack by terrorists, and his book September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City presents his experiences. His book takes the form of a collection of vignettes that focus on the way individual peopleincluding those who lost family members, those who lived through the ordeal, and those who helped in clean-up effortscoped with tragedy. "Without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing, Hampton connects all these stories into a cohesive narrative," noted Horn Book contributor Betty Carter, praising the book as "accessible and informative." A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that Hampton's "strong, and occasionally rawly emotional, reporting" is compelling, while in Booklist GraceAnne A. DeCandido dubbed September 11, 2001 "one of the best" books written to explain that fateful day to younger readers.

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 1997, Ilene Cooper, review of Kennedy Assassinated!: The World Mourns: A Reporter's Story, p. 230; January 1, 2002, Randy Meyer, review of Meltdown: A Race against Nuclear Disaster at Three Mile Island: A Reporter's Story, p. 835; July, 2003, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of September 11, 2001: Attack on New York City, p. 1878.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, October, 1997, pp. 52-53.

Horn Book, January-February, 2003, Betty Carter, review of Meltdown, p. 98; September-October, 2003, Betty Carter, review of September 11, 2001, p. 629.

New York Times Book Review, November 16, 1997, p. 28.

Publishers Weekly, July 28, 1997, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, p. 75; November 3, 1997, p. 60; October 15, 2001, review of Meltdown, p. 73; August 18, 2003, review of September 11, 2001, p. 81.

School Library Journal, October, 1997, review of Kennedy Assassinated!, p. 147; July, 2003, Wendy Lukehart, review of September 11, 2001, p. 141.

ONLINE

Candlewick Press Web site, http://www.candlewick.com/ (January 23, 2005), "Wilborn Hampton."*

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Hampton, Wilborn." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Hampton, Wilborn." Something About the Author. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/hampton-wilborn

"Hampton, Wilborn." Something About the Author. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/children/scholarly-magazines/hampton-wilborn