Journalist, writer. Former city hall bureau chief for United Press International, New York; New York Daily News, former reporter; U.S. News & World Report, former correspondent; CBSNews.com, senior producer.
(With Arthur Browne and Michael Goodwin) I, Koch: A Decidedly Unauthorized Biography of the Mayor of New York City, Edward I. Koch, Dodd, Mead (New York, NY), 1985.
(With Thomas P. Puccio) In the Name of the Law: Confessions of a Trial Lawyer, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Wayne Barrett) Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2006.
Dan Collins is a journalist and news producer who has also authored several nonfiction books. In I, Koch: A Decidedly Unauthorized Biography of the Mayor of New York City, Edward I. Koch, written with Arthur Browne and Michael Goodwin, Collins casts a critical eye at the performance of the New York mayor, arguing that while early on in his career Koch was a conscientious politician, once elected mayor he chased fame rather than creating a responsible administration. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Jesse Kornbluth felt that Collins, Browne, and Goodwin "do an impressive job of fleshing out Mr. Koch's formative years." Similarly, Nation writer Marshall Berman concluded that though I, Koch "is scathingly critical of our Mayor, … it increases his stature in our eyes by showing him as he has never shown himself, as a three-dimensional human being."
Collins also worked with noted prosecution and defense attorney Thomas P. Puccio on the 1995 title, In the Name of the Law: Confessions of a Trial Lawyer, a work that "makes for intriguing and occasionally amusing reading," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor.
Collins continued his collaborative efforts in the 2006 Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, a book that questions the New York mayor's performance on and before September 11, 2001. As Collins and coauthor Wayne Barrett noted in the Village Voice, "Rudy Giuliani's performance on 9-11 is legendary, but for most people, the story boils down to one image: the mayor walking north from the disaster, covered with dust." Collins and Barrett further noted: "Afterward, in his greatest achievement, he was able to give voice to all the things the rest of us needed and wanted to hear. He articulated our grief, shored up our confidence, and insisted on a level-headed response that gave no berth to intolerance. We resist knowing anything more—about the eight-year history of error and indifference that preceded that moment, or the toxic disengagement that followed it." The authors attempt to demonstrate in their book that the mayor "ignored warnings and bungled the response," as a contributor for UPI NewsTrack put it. According to their account, Giuliani paid little attention to warnings from the police that the city, and the World Trade Center specifically, were ill-prepared for a terrorist attack. Instead he indulged in other, less high-priority projects. Other gaffs included the purchase of radios for the police and fire departments that were not compatible with each other, but that were provided by someone with good political connections.
According to Collins and Barrett in the Village Voice, "Giuliani has never acknowledged a single failing in his own performance. Yet he did nothing before September 11 to alleviate the effects of a terror attack." Indeed, Collins and Barrett attempt to debunk even Giuliani's grimy visage the day of the disaster. Glenn Thrush, writing in Newsday noted, "The authors argue that Giuliani's soot-covered trek was simply a product of managerial incompetence." Thrush further observed: "Synthesizing mountains of previously published material with impressive new reporting, Barrett and Collins paint a surprising, counterintuitive portrait of a politician best known as a micromanaging control freak. Instead, they show how disengaged, ill-informed and disinterested he was when it came to emergency management and disaster preparedness, his self-professed strong suits." Writing in the New York Times Book Review, Jonathan Mahler felt that "Barrett and Collins marshal some provocative arguments," but went on to conclude that "the definitive, nuanced portrait that captures both what Giuliani did right and what he did wrong remains to be written." Vanessa Bush, writing in Booklist, had higher praise for Grand Illusion, calling it an "absorbing and detailed investigation." Likewise, a critic for Kirkus Reviews thought "the authors' account verges on indictment," and went on to conclude, "This careful condemnation will raise eyebrows."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
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.
Nation, September 21, 1985, Marshall Berman, review of I, Koch: A Decidedly Unauthorized Biography of the Mayor of New York City, Edward I. Koch, p. 256.
New Republic, January 20, 1986, review of I, Koch, p. 35.
Newsday (Melville, NY), August 27, 2006, Glenn Thrush, "In Search of the Real Rudy," review of Grand Illusion.
New York Times Book Review, August 25, 1985, Jesse Kornbluth, review of I, Koch; November 12, 2006, Jonathan Mahler, "Aftershock," review of Grand Illusion, p. 57.
Publishers Weekly, July 3, 1995, review of In the Name of the Law: Confessions of a Trial Lawyer, p. 44.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), October 1, 2006, Glenn Thrush, review of Grand Illusion.
UPI NewsTrack, August 24, 2006, "Book Questions Giuliani's Sept. 11 Heroism," review of Grand Illusion.
Village Voice, August 29, 2006, Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins, "Rudy's Grand Illusion."
HarperCollins Web site,http://www.harpercollins.com/ (March 3, 2007), "Dan Collins."