McGurn, William 1958–

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McGurn, William 1958–


Born in 1958, in Oceanside, CA; son of William A. (an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation) and Mary S. (a homemaker) McGurn; married Julie Hoffman; children: Grace, Maisie, Lucy. Education: University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1980; Boston University, M.S., 1981.


Home—Arlington, VA. Agent—L.A. Sabatier, P.O. Box 10448, Arlington, VA 22210.


Writer, journalist. American Spectator, Bloomington, IN, assistant managing editor, 1981-83; This World, New York City, managing editor, 1983-84; Wall Street Journal, New York City, editorial features editor for European edition in Brussels, Belgium, 1984-86, editorial page editor for Asian edition in Hong Kong, 1986-89; chief editorial writer and a member editorial board, beginning 1998; National Review, Washington bureau chief, 1989-92; Far Eastern Economic Review, senior editor, 1992-98; assistant to the president for speechwriting, George W. Bush administration.


Terrorist or Freedom Fighter? The Cost of Confusion (monograph), Institute for European Defense and Strategic Studies (London, England), 1987.

(Editor) Basic Law, Basic Questions: The Debate Continues, Review Publishing (Hong Kong), 1988.

Perfidious Albion: The Abandonment of Hong Kong, 1997, Ethics and Public Policy Center (Washington, DC), 1992.

(With Rebecca M. Blank) Is the Market Moral? A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice, Brookings Institution Press (Washington, DC), 2004.

Contributor to magazines, including National Catholic Register, Crisis, New Republic, and Spectator.


William McGurn has worked in a variety of journalistic capacities, including as a senior editor at the Wall Street Journal and a speechwriter in the White House of President George W. Bush. He is, additionally, the author of nonfiction books dealing with such topics as the British handover of Hong Kong to China and the ethics of the free market economic system.

McGurn spent a number of years in the Far East and Hong Kong as a journalist, and in 1992 he published Perfidious Albion: The Abandonment of Hong Kong, 1997, a "scathing indictment of the Hong Kong policy of the [British] Conservative government," Robert Elegant noted in the National Review. McGurn contends in his book that the British government was far too lenient in allowing the Chinese to be the sole arbiters of the institutions that would govern the former Crown Colony once it passed into Chinese hands in 1997. McGurn felt that countries such as the United States, which had heavy investment in Hong Kong, should have had more input in such matters. Foreign Affairs contributor Donald S. Zagoria called Perfidious Albion a "provocative study" but noted that McGurn's "picture of the situation seems too bleak."

In Is the Market Moral? A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice, McGurn, along with his coauthor, Rebecca M. Blank, presents a twofold examination of the market economy. Blank looks at markets through a focus on faith, while McGurn examines ethical aspects of markets in a long chapter entitled "Markets and Morals." Darold Morgan, writing in Christian Ethics Today, noted: "Both of the authors are committed Christians that earnestly want to see a vast improvement of Christian sensitivities to capitalism in its most fundamental form … the market economy involving not only stocks and bonds, but the wider world of raw products and services as well." Morgan further observed that while both authors "strongly agree that the long hoped for virtues in these markets depend upon the individuals whose work and influence shape the economy of multiple countries around the world," McGurn in particular "argues more emphatically for personal integrity reflected in honesty, courage, diligence and a balanced unselfishness in these on-going economic decisions." McGurn's coauthor, Blank, on the other hand, posits the necessity for government interventions at times to correct the markets. "In sum, both intellectual combatants recognize the virtues of the market and the importance of virtue, but they differ on how best to constrain harmful human behavior," observed Doug Bandow in the Cato Journal. Writing in the Journal of Economic Issues, Gerald F. Vaughn had high praise for Is the Market Moral?, noting: "Seldom does one read a book on economics so well thought out and well written that it can treat a complex subject this thoroughly and understandably in only 151 pages."



Cato Journal, March 22, 2005, Doug Bandow, review of Is the Market Moral? A Dialogue on Religion, Economics, and Justice, p. 423.

First Things, October, 2004, review of Is the Market Moral?, p. 74.

Foreign Affairs, fall, 1992, Donald S. Zagoria, review of Perfidious Albion: The Abandonment of Hong Kong, 1997.

Journal of Economic Issues, March, 2005, Gerald F. Vaughn, review of Is the Market Moral?, p. 295.

National Review, July 3, 1987, Chilton Williamson, review of Terrorist or Freedom Fighter? The Cost of Confusion, p. 54; June 22, 1992, Robert Elegant, review of Perfidious Albion, p. 49.

Pacific Affairs, fall, 1993, Johannes Chan, review of Perfidious Albion.


Christian Ethics Today, (December 23, 2004), Darold Morgan, review of Is the Market Moral?

Wall Street Journal Online, (March 15, 2008), "William McGurn."

White House Web site, (March 15, 2008), "William McGurn: Assistant to the President for Speechwriting."

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McGurn, William 1958–

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