Barrett, Wayne

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Barrett, Wayne


Children: Mac. Education: St. Joseph's College; Columbia University, graduated 1968.


Journalist and writer. Village Voice, New York, NY, beginning c. 1970s, investigative journalist and senior editor; Columbia University School of Journalism, New York, NY, faculty member. Also inaugural Jack Newfield Visiting Professor in Journalism at Hunter College, New York, NY, 2006. Previously worked as a school teacher, c. 1968-82.


Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Alumni Award, 1990.


(With Jack Newfield) City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1988.

Trump: The Deals and the Downfall, research assistance by Jonathan Gill and Timothy L. O'Brien, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Adam Fifield) Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, Diane Publishing (Darby, PA), 2000.

(With Dan Collins) Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, research assistance by Anna Lenzer, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.


Investigative reporter Wayne Barrett has written for more than three decades for the New York City newspaper Village Voice. During that time, he has also authored or coauthored several books about New York City politics, particularly focusing on the city's mayors or former mayors. His first book, City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York, which he wrote with Jack Newfield, focuses on city corruption within the office of Mayor Ed Koch during his time in office, primarily during the 1980s. "Their gallery of horrors … is an engrossing (if sometimes dense) narrative," wrote Jonathan Alter in the New York Times. Noting the personal feud between Barrett and Koch, Alter went on to write: "Mr. Newfield and Mr. Barrett provide no shocking new revelations, but they flesh out the colorful supporting cast: the mobster too sick to appear in court but not to attend a Frank Sinatra concert; the famous columnist (Jimmy Breslin) who exposes a confidential source when he realizes that the characters he had been writing about for years were a bunch of crooks; and, of course, the righteous authors, who are very much part of the story themselves." Herbert London, writing in the National Review, noted: "The truth, as Jack Newfield and Wayne Barrett demonstrate in their passionate account of his [Koch's] 12 years in office, is that he has been used and manipulated to line the pockets of one Democratic boss after another." Washington Monthly contributor James Ledbetter commented that the authors "do an excellent task of keeping narrative interests in mind." Ledbetter also wrote: "The last chapters give wonderful detail from the trials."

Barrett teamed with Adam Fifield to write Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani. The unflattering portrait of Giuliani includes information on his father's imprisonment and subsequent association with mobsters, which the authors believe have also tainted Giuliani. Writing in the National Review, John Podhoretz noted that Barrett [with Fifield] "throws everything he can at Giuliani." New York Times contributor Richard Bernstein, commented: "There is a relentlessness to Mr. Barrett's effort to discredit Mr. Giuliani that gives the impression of a journalistic vendetta, and yet there is much too much evidence in his book to ignore."

In their book Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, Barrett and coauthor Dan Collins counter Rudy Giuliani's claims that, as mayor of New York City, he had been prepared for the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The authors delve into various aspects of Giuliani's decision-making to bolster their counter-argument to this claim, noting the numerous political appointees who were unqualified and often unable to handle important assignments in areas of safety and protection. Another area investigated by the authors is the poor intercommunication among various city agencies, such as the firemen and the police. In addition, Giuliani, according to the authors, housed the offices for the city's Office of Emergency Management inside the World Trade Center, despite the fact that it was identified as a priority terrorist target. "This careful condemnation will raise eyebrows," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, called the book an "absorbing and detailed investigation." In her review in the Library Journal, Leigh Mihlrad described the book as a "highly critical but rational and documented study of Giuliani's mayoralty of New York City."



Biography, winter, 2001, James Traub, review of Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, p. 327.

Booklist, October 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, p. 21.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2006, review of Grand Illusion, p. 707.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Leigh Mihlrad, review of Grand Illusion, p. 102.

National Review, March 24, 1989, Herbert London, review of City for Sale: Ed Koch and the Betrayal of New York, p. 38; August 14, 2000, John Podhoretz, review of Rudy.

New York Times, January 15, 1989, Jonathan Alter, review of City for Sale; May 29, 2000, Corey Kilgannon, "A Plot Twist for Two Giuliani Biographies," p. C7; July 6, 2000, Elisabeth Bumiller, review of Rudy!, p. B1; July 18, 2000, Joyce Wadler, "Giuliani Biographer as Driven as His Subject," p. B2; August 2, 2000, Richard Bernstein, review of Rudy!, p. B7.

Washington Monthly, March 1989, James Ledbetter, review of City for Sale, p. 57.


Brooklyn Rail, (February 15, 2007), Williams Cole, "Wayne Barrett with Williams Cole."

Hunter College Web site, (February 3, 2006), "First Newfield Professorship in Journalism at Hunter College Awarded to Wayne Barrett."

MediaMatters, (September 1, 2006), partial transcript of MSNBC interview with Norah O'Donnell.

TruthOut, (August 29, 2006), review of Grand Illusion.

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