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Mackall, Joe 1959(?)-

Mackall, Joe 1959(?)-


Born c. 1959, in Cleveland, OH; son of Jim (a bricklayer and police detective) Mackall. Education: Cleveland State University, B.A.; University of Central Oklahoma, M.A; Bowling Green State University, M.F.A.; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.


Home—West Salem, OH. E-mail—[email protected]


Washington Post, Washington, DC, former reporter; Cleveland Magazine, Cleveland, OH, former editor; Ashland University, Ashland, OH, professor. Cofounding editor of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative.



Information Management, Ferguson (Chicago, IL), 1998, revised 2nd edition published as Research and Information Management, Ferguson (New York, NY), 2004.

The Last Street before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage (memoir), University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2006.

Plain Secrets: An Outsider among the Amish, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including the Washington Post and the Cleveland Plain Dealer; contributor of essays to Morning Edition, National Public Radio.


Joe Mackall details his working-class roots in Cleveland with his 2006 memoir, The Last Street before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage. Such a pilgrimage was indeed accidental, for he returned to his roots when an old friend of his mysteriously died. The homecoming spurred thoughts of his youth and of Cleveland during the 1970s. Mackall's family itself became accidental residents of the city when a grandfather, an immigrant from Italy, decided to settle in the suburbs of Cleveland to stay one step ahead of gangsters. Despite having a police detective for a father, Mackall grew up with a penchant for trouble, vandalizing local businesses and even stealing communion wine to get drunk. Mackall goes on to detail his own bouts with depression, drugs, and alcohol abuse. He explains how a renewed sense of religion and spirituality helped him straighten his life out. With the help and support of his father, Mackall went on to college, ultimately earning a doctorate in English. Writing in, Karen R. Long felt that "the core of Last Street is Mackall's struggles with Catholicism." A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the work to be a "focused but gloomy memoir," but went on to add that "Mackall's elegy for the workers' world employs delightful language."



Mackall, Joe, The Last Street before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2006.


Publishers Weekly, January 23, 2006, review of The Last Street before Cleveland: An Accidental Pilgrimage, p. 197.


Ashland University Web site, (March 12, 2007), brief biography of Joe Mackall., (April 11, 2006), Karen R. Long, review of The Last Street before Cleveland.

Minnesota State University Web site, (March 12, 2007), "The Eddice C. Barber Visiting Writer Residency."

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