Maraniss, David 1949-
Maraniss, David 1949-
Born August 6, 1949, in Detroit, MI; son of Elliott (a journalist) and Mary (a book editor) Maraniss; married August 16, 1969; wife's name Linda (an environmentalist); children: Andrew, Sarah. Education: Attended University of Wisconsin.
Home—Silver Spring, MD. Office—Washington Post, 1150 15th St. N.W., Washington, DC 20071. Agent—Sagalyn Literary Agency, 7201 Wisconsin Ave., Ste. 675, Bethesda, MD 20814.
Writer, journalist. Worked for Madison Capital Times, Madison, WI; WIBA Radio, reporter, 1972-75; Trenton Times, Trenton, NJ, reporter, 1975-77; Washington Post, Washington, DC, journalist, 1977—.
Reporter of the Year, Madison Press Club, 1973; first place awards for columns and news stories, New Jersey Press Association, 1975; Front Page Award, 1983; Hancock Prize for Financial Reporting, 1990; Grand Medal, National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1991; Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, 1993; Los Angeles Times Book Award nomination, 2003, and Pulitzer Prize nomination (for history), 2004, both for They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967.
(With Michael Weisskopf) Tell Newt to Shut Up!: Prizewinning Washington Post Journalists Reveal How Reality Gagged the Gingrich Revolution, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1996.
The Clinton Enigma: A Four-and-a-Half-Minute Speech Reveals This President's Entire Life, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1998.
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000.
(With Ellen Nakashima) The Prince of Tennessee: The Rise of Al Gore, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2000, published as The Prince of Tennessee: Al Gore Meets His Fate, 2001.
They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.
Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2006.
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi was optioned to Columbia Pictures; They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967 was option for a feature film, Playtone, 2003.
"Writing is in my blood," commented the journalist and author David Maraniss in an article for Writer. "My mother was a book editor, my father was a newspaperman and my grandfather was a printer. It is one of the few things that I know how to do. I can't fix a car or build a house, and I certainly can't program computer software. I keep writing to stay alive, and feel alive." The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist has written books on politicians such as Bill Clinton and Al Gore, on sports figures, including the football coach Vince Lombardi and baseball great Roberto Clemente, and on recent American history, examining a turning point in the Vietnam War.
Maraniss won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and later, as a journalist for the Washington Post, covered the Clinton White House. In 1995 he published his debut nonfiction title, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, which covered Clinton's life up to the time he declared that he was running for president. Maraniss shows how even as a youth Clinton was an organizer and an achiever, getting himself elected to Boys Nation representing his state as a sixteen-year-old and famously shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy as a result. A contributor for the Economist found First in His Class an "excellent biography," further praising the evenhandedness of Maraniss's narrative: "With equal matter-of-fact fascination, [Maraniss] describes his subject's sincerity and calculation, his boldness and cowardice, his calm and his temper tantrums, his loyalty and his infidelities…. The interest is in the ambiguity." Maraniss's first book was heavily detailed. Writing in the National Review, Ann Lloyd Merriman noted that First in His Class "is to biography as saturation bombing is to warfare." Maraniss also goes a long way to explaining Clinton's meteoric rise to the national stage. As Richard Wightman Fox noted in the Christian Century, "By giving us a Bill Clinton who is wholly southern in his instinctive intertwining of family, religion and politics, Maraniss goes a long way toward explaining why so many liberals turned to Clinton in the 1990s and even before."
Maraniss gives a similar treatment to Clinton's vice president and the 2000 Democratic nominee for president in his The Prince of Tennessee: The Rise of Al Gore, coauthored with Ellen Nakashima. Jon Meacham noted in the Washington Monthly, "In the tradition of First in His Class, Maraniss' magisterial biography of Clinton, The Prince of Tennessee began in the pages of the Washington Post, and it deftly carries the reader through the stages of Gore's life." However, other reviewers thought the work borrowed too much from newspaper stories. Writing in the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani felt "the authors never pull together … anecdotes into a coherent portrait of Al Gore." Kakutani went on to note, "their book hops and skips through Mr. Gore's youth, and it proves even more arbitrary and desultory in dealing with his political career." For the same reviewer, The Prince of Tennessee was a "hasty and perfunctory volume." Similarly, Philadelphia Inquirer writer Robert Schmuhl thought the Gore book was "more journalistic than authoritative." Schmuhl further observed, "If the book seems like a collection of lengthy newspaper articles, it's because that is, in effect, what it is." Allowing such criticisms, Library Journal contributor Michael A. Genovese felt The Prince of Tennessee "is nonetheless an important contribution to our understanding of Al Gore." Further praise came from Booklist reviewer Mary Carroll, who felt "readers striving to understand how Gore's dichotomies fit together will learn a good deal from this readable biography."
Maraniss turned to sports figures in two further biographies. When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi and Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero. Writing in Booklist, Wes Lukowsky found When Pride Still Mattered a "carefully researched, often poignant three-dimensional biography" of the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. Maraniss focuses particularly on the positive qualities such as hard work and devotion and loyalty on the part of Lombardi which transcend the sports field. Further praise came from a reviewer for Publishers Weekly who found the work "intricate, ambitious and satisfying." In Clemente, Maraniss presents another sports hero whose qualities transcended mere athletics. Considered by many the greatest Latino player in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died in 1972 attempting to deliver emergency supplies to Nicaragua following an earthquake. Writing in the Progressive, Elizabeth DiNovella felt Maraniss delivered a "superb story" with his biography. "This is an American story, in the broadest sense of the term," DiNovella concluded. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly had similar praise for Clemente: "Maraniss deftly balances baseball and loftier concerns like racism." Booklist contributor Lukowsky felt "Clemente embodies the best of what we dream for the future: dignity, pride, tolerance, and an obligation to make the world a better place." George F. Will, writing in the New York Times, also commended Clemente as a "baseball-savvy book sensitive to the social context that made Clemente, a black Puerto Rican, a leading indicator of baseball's future." Will concluded, "Now, thanks to Maraniss, Clemente's legacy is suitably defined and explained."
With They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, Maraniss examines two days that brought the effects of the Vietnam War into sharp focus. On one day a battalion of U.S. soldiers marches into a trap laid for them by the North Vietnamese; on the following day a protest at the University of Wisconsin (where Maraniss was studying) turns violent when police and soldiers intervene. By juxtaposing the two events, Maraniss demonstrates how the progress of the war and of public opinion were at a tipping point by October, 1967. School Library Journal contributor Ted Westervelt thought this was "one of the best books to date on the Vietnam War." Booklist contributor Gilbert Taylor similarly called the book "a concentrated, visceral remembrance of the Vietnam War in both its military and social dimensions." New York Times reviewer Janet Maslin had further praise for They Marched into Sunlight, noting, "This is a book that takes familiar chapters in recent history and turns them into something we have not seen before." Likewise, San Francisco Chronicle writer George Raine called the same book an "excellent work of history." In his Washington Post Book World review of They Marched into Sunlight, David Halberstam called Maraniss "one of the most talented members of a gifted generation of authors now writing books even as they continue to practice journalism."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Air Power History, summer, 2004, George M. Watson, Jr., review of They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, p. 53.
America's Intelligence Wire, March 29, 2004, "Three Books Receive Lukas Prize for Nonfiction."
Booklist, October 15, 1998, Gilbert Taylor, review of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, p. 396; September 1, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, p. 61; September 1, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of The Prince of Tennessee: The Rise of Al Gore, p. 4, and Bill Ott, review of When Pride Still Mattered, p. 52; September 1, 2003, Gilbert Taylor, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 3; March 1, 2006, Wes Lukowsky, review of Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero, p. 42.
Christian Century, September 13, 1995, Richard Wightman Fox, review of First in His Class, p. 850; December 13, 2003, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 22; December 12, 2006, review of Clemente, p. 23.
Daily Variety, October 23, 2003, "‘Sunlight’ Hits Playtone," p. 7.
Economist, March 25, 1995, review of First in His Class, p. 93.
Entertainment Weekly, February 23, 1996, review of First in His Class, p. 119; September 26, 2003, Bob Cannon, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 98; April 21, 2006, Melissa Rose Bernardo, Jeff Labrecque, Bob Cannon, review of Clemente, p. 77.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2003, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 954; March 1, 2006, review of Clemente, p. 222.
Library Journal, May 15, 1999, Mark Pumphrey, review of The Clinton Enigma: A Four-and-a-Half-Minute Speech Reveals This President's Entire Life (audio review), p. 148; August, 1999, Larry R. Little, review of When Pride Still Mattered, p. 102; September 1, 2000, Michael A. Genovese, review of The Prince of Tennessee, p. 220; August, 2003, Karl Helicher, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 102; February 1, 2006, Paul M. Kaplan, review of Clemente, p. 84.
National Review, April 17, 1995, Ann Lloyd Merriman, review of First in His Class, p. 60; September 11, 2000, Richard Lowry, review of The Prince of Tennessee, p. 54.
New York Times, August 18, 2000, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Prince of Tennessee, p. E4; October 16, 2003, Janet Maslin, review of They Marched into Sunlight; May 7, 2006, George F. Will, review of Clemente.
People, December 1, 2003, Michael Ferch, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 52.
Philadelphia Inquirer, September 18, 2000, Robert Schmuhl, review of The Prince of Tennessee.
Political Science Quarterly, spring, 1997, Richard M. Pious, review of Tell Newt to Shut Up!: Prizewinning Washington Post Journalists Reveal How Reality Gagged the Gingrich Revolution, p. 146.
Progressive, July, 2006, Elizabeth DiNovella, "An American Story," review of Clemente, p. 43.
Publishers Weekly, September 6, 1999, review of When Pride Still Mattered, p. 95; August 18, 2003, Ira Zarov, "Two Days in 1967," p. 65, and review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 66; March 6, 2006, review of Clemente, p. 64.
Quill, April, 2004, Mac McKerral, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 4.
Report, January 6, 2003, review of When Pride Still Mattered, p. 46.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 28, 2003, George Raine, review of They Marched into Sunlight.
School Library Journal, January, 2004, Ted Westervelt, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 165.
Seattle Times (Seattle, WA), October 16, 2003, William Dietrich, review of They Marched into Sunlight.
Time, October 11, 1999, Daniel Okrent, review of When Pride Still Mattered, p. 93.
Washington Monthly, October, 2000, Jon Meacham, review of The Prince of Tennessee, p. 41.
Washington Post Book World, October 12, 2003, David Halberstam, review of They Marched into Sunlight, p. 3.
Writer, August, 2003, David Maraniss, "How I Write," p. 66.
JournalismJobs.com,http://www.journalismjobs.com/ (January 17, 2007), "Interview with David Maraniss of the Washington Post."
Lecturenow.com,http://www.lecturenow.com/ (January 29, 2007), "David Maraniss."
Washingtonpost.com,http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (May 17, 2006), "David Maraniss Interview."