Hamann, Jack 1954–

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Hamann, Jack 1954–

PERSONAL: Born 1954; married; wife's name Leslie; children: two. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1976; University of Oregon School of Law, J.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES: Home—Seattle, WA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, P.O. Box 2225, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2225. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Journalist, writer, and producer. Has worked as a network correspondent and television documentary producer; NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Public Broadcasting Service, Seattle bureau chief.

AWARDS, HONORS: Emmy Awards, 1985, 1990, for news feature, 1986, for both sports news and sports special, 1987, for spot news, 1988, for news special, 1990 for both investigative news and news special, and 2000, for documentary; New York Film Festival silver awards, 1984, 1994; Environmental Media award first place, 1992; CableAce award, 1993; Houston Film Festival gold award, 1994; Headliner award first place, 2000; Communicator award, 2000; CINE award, 2001; Silver Chris award, 2002, for Hot Potatoes; Barnes & Noble Star of Washington award, 2005.


On American Soil: Murder, the Military, and How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2005.


(And coproducer and correspondent) Diane Downs: Circle of Abuse, National Broadcasting Company, Inc. (NBC)/King TV, 1984.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Mary and Zola: After the Fall, NBC/King TV, 1985.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Shelter from the Storm, NBC/King TV, 1986.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Discovery Park Graves, NBC/King TV, 1987.

(And coproducer and correspondent) The Quake and the Lives It Shook, NBC/King TV, 1989.

(And coproducer and correspondent) The Earth Summit, Cable News Network (CNN), 1992.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Green Plans, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), 1995.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Peace Frogs, CNN, 1997.

(And coproducer and correspondent) The Russia Factor, CNN, 1999.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Faith & Fear: The Children of Krishna, PBS, 2001.

(And coproducer and correspondent) Hot Potatoes, PBS, 2001.

Also writes a regular column for Nature.

SIDELIGHTS: A journalist who has worked extensively in television, Jack Hamann is the author of On American Soil: Murder, the Military, and How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II. The book came about when the author learned of a riot that broke out at Fort Lawton, Washington during World War II. There Italian prisoners of war fought with black U.S. soldiers, leading to numerous injuries and the lynching of Italian soldier Private Guglielmo Olivotto. Although courts-martial of American soldiers were convened, Olivotto's murder was never solved. Commenting on the justice of the court-martial, Hamann told Alex Fryer in an article for the Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine: "There are some defendants who did not get as severe a penalty as things might have warranted. But there were many others who were nothing but peacekeepers. For the three men charged with murder, none of them was responsible for Olivotto's death, in my view."

On American Soil recounts the prisoner-of-war battle and the ensuing courts-martial, as well as the many individuals involved, including riot participants and the lawyers representing both sides in the trial. The author also explores such issues as race relations within the military, the overall treatment of POWs, and the wide-ranging political implications of the revolt and subsequent trials. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the author "cites declassified documents, court transcripts and interviews to show how the segregated Army compromised justice so that black soldiers were pinned to the crime and leaving possible white suspects overlooked." The reviewer added that the author is successful in "adroitly balancing racism and legal questions." Alan Moores, writing in Booklist, commented that "it is the crime's historical context … that makes the book so relevant now." A reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly felt that the author "is best in depicting the men involved and the waste of lives that the episode entailed." Elizabeth Morris wrote in the Library Journal that "Hamann's lively narrative and incisive commentary raise the standard for investigational writing."



Booklist, February 15, 2005, Alan Moores, review of On American Soil: Murder, the Military, and How Justice Became a Casualty of World War II, p. 1055.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of On American Soil, p. 212.

Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Elizabeth Morris, review of On American Soil, p. 96.

Publishers Weekly, February 7, 2005, review of On American Soil, p. 50.


Jack Hamann Home Page, http://www.jackhamann.com (June 29, 2005).

Pacific Northwest (a magazine of the Seattle Times), http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/ (June 29, 2005), Alex Fryer, "Jack Hamann Opens the Prison of Our Past," interview with author.