James Mackenzie Fallows (born August 2, 1949) is an American writer
and journalist. He has been a national correspondent for The Atlantic
Monthly for many years. His work has also appeared in Slate, The New
York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books,
The New Yorker
The New Yorker and
The American Prospect, among others. He is a former editor of U.S.
News & World Report, and as President Jimmy Carter's chief
speechwriter for two years was the youngest person ever to hold that
Fallows has been a visiting professor at a number of universities in
the U.S. and China, and holds the Chair in U.S. Media at the United
States Studies Centre at University of Sydney. He is the author of ten
books, including National Defense, for which he received the 1983
National Book Award, Looking at the Sun (1994), Breaking the News
(1996), Blind into Baghdad (2006), Postcards from Tomorrow Square
China Airborne (2012).
1 Life and career
4 Genetic ancestry
5.2 Essays and reporting
8 External links
Life and career
Fallows' White House photo from 1977
Fallows was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jean (née
Mackenzie) and James Albert Fallows, a physician. He was raised in
Redlands, California, and graduated from Redlands High
School. He studied American history and literature at
Harvard College, where he was the editor of the daily newspaper, The
Harvard Crimson. From 1970–72, Fallows studied economics at the
University of Oxford
University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. He subsequently worked as an
editor and writer for
The Washington Monthly
The Washington Monthly and Texas Monthly
For the first two years of the Carter administration he was Carter's
chief speechwriter. From 1979 through 1996, he was the Washington
Editor for The Atlantic. For two years of that time he was based in
Texas, and for four years in Asia. He wrote for the magazine about
immigration, defense policy, politics, economics, computer technology,
and other subjects. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine
Award five times and won in 2003, for "The Fifty-First State?" (The
Atlantic, November 2002), which was published six months before the
invasion of Iraq and laid out the difficulties of occupying the
country. He won the
National Book Award for National Defense and
won a NY Emmy in 2010 for his role as host of a documentary series,
"Doing Business in China".
Fallows's most influential articles have concerned military policy and
military procurement, the college admissions process, technology,
China and Japan, and the American war in Iraq. Early in his career, he
wrote an article called "What Did You Do in the Class War, Daddy?"
(Washington Monthly, October 1975). It described the "draft physical"
day at the
Boston Navy Yard
Boston Navy Yard in 1970, in which Fallows and his Harvard
MIT classmates overwhelmingly produced reasons for medical
exemptions, while the white working-class men of Chelsea,
Massachusetts were approved for service. He argued that the class bias
of the Vietnam draft, which made it easy for influential and affluent
families to avoid service, prolonged the war and that this was a truth
many opponents of the war found convenient to overlook.[citation
In the 1980s and 1990s Fallows was a frequent contributor of
commentaries to National Public Radio's Morning Edition, and since
2009 he has been the regular news analyst for NPR's Weekend All Things
Considered. From 1996 to 1998, he was the editor of US News &
World Report. He was the founding chairman of the New America
Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Washington D.C.. During the
2000–2001 academic year, Fallows taught at the graduate school of
journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 2010 he
was the Vare Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago.
Starting in the 2010 academic year, he is a visiting Professor in U.S.
Media at the
United States Studies Centre
United States Studies Centre at the University of
Fallows is an instrument-rated pilot. In Free Flight, published in
2001, he describes the new generation of "personal jets" and other
advanced aircraft now coming onto the market from
Eclipse Aviation and
Cirrus Design, as well as the story of Cirrus founders brothers Alan
and Dale Klapmeier and how they became involved in aviation. Fallows
has received numerous honorary degrees, including from the University
of Utah, the University of Maryland, the University of Redlands,
Northwestern University, and in 2008 Ursinus College.
Fallows has had a long interest in technology, both writing about and
helping to develop it. He's taken a special interest in personal
information management software, going back to
Lotus Agenda which he
glowingly reviewed for
The Atlantic in 1992 ("Of all the computer
programs I have tried, Agenda is far and away the most interesting,
and is one of the two or three most valuable"). During the
operating system wars of the early and mid-nineties, Fallows used and
wrote about IBM's
Operating System/2 (OS/2) and its battles with MS
Windows, often frequenting the Canopus forum and online community on
CompuServe. In 1999, he spent six months at
software for writers. More recently, he has written about the design
of the Open Source Applications Foundation's information manager,
code-named Chandler. He was the on-stage host for the IDG
Corporation's "Agenda" conference (no relation to Agenda software) in
the early years of the 2000s (decade) and of Google's "Zeitgeist"
conference starting in 2005. He has written regular technology columns
for The New York Times and The Atlantic.
Fallows, a former speechwriter for Democratic President Jimmy Carter,
has identified himself as a Democrat and has been described by
Politico and The Hill, among other publications, as a liberal.
According to journalist Howard Fineman, Fallows also wrote policy
memos to Democratic President Bill Clinton. An article in The
Futurist, a publication of the World Future Society, identifies
Fallows as a radical centrist.
For the first paperback edition of National Defense, Fallows received
National Book Award for Nonfiction.[a] He was a finalist at
the National Magazine Award in the years 1988, 2006 (twice), 2007 and
had won the award in 2003 for his article The Fifty-First State?.
The documentary series On The Frontlines: Doing Business in
which he participated as an editorial supervisor and co-host (together
with Emily Chang) was awarded the 2010 Emmy Award.
In 2012, Fallows gained notability over the results of the testing of
his genetic makeup. In addition to the fact that the lineage shown on
the mitochondrial DNA of his mother's side did not resemble any other
samples found in a large-scale study, it was shown that Fallows had an
abnormally high percentage of
Neanderthal ancestry, at 5% of his genes
Neanderthal origin. This drew attention from numerous
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Fallows, James (1971). The Water Lords : Ralph Nader's study
group report on industry and environmental crisis in Savannah,
Georgia. Grossman Publishers.
Green, Mark; Fallows, James; Zwick, David (1972). Who runs Congress?.
New York: Bantam Books.
National Defense (1981). Random House. ISBN 0-394-51824-1
More Like Us: Making America Great Again (1989). Houghton Mifflin.
Looking at the Sun: The Rise of the New East Asian Economic and
Political System (1994). Vintage Paperback (reprint ed, 1995)
Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy (1996).
Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-44209-X. Vintage Paperback (1997)
Free Flight: Inventing the Future of Travel (2001). PublicAffairs
Paperback (2002) ISBN 1-58648-140-1
Blind into Baghdad: America's War in Iraq (2006). Vintage.
Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from
China (2009) Knopf.
China Airborne (2012) Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-42211-9
Essays and reporting
Fallows, James (15 September 1992). "Put Down That Bloody Shirt, Mr.
President". The Washington Post.
— (June 2009). "Inexact opposite : a hotel in Beijing shows off
China's ability to (almost) get it right". The Atlantic. 303 (5):
28–29. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
— (August 2011). "In poll position". American Review. Archived from
the original on 2012-01-21.
— (Dec 2012). "My fellow Americans ..." Spotlight. Vanity Fair. 628:
134. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
— (June 2013). "The art of paying attention [interview with Linda
Stone]". Dispatches. Tech. The Atlantic. 311 (5): 22, 24. Retrieved
— (June 2013). "The Fixer". The Atlantic. 311 (5): 46–55.
Retrieved 2015-07-07. Jerry Brown.
— (January 2015). "The Tragedy of the American Military". The
— (March 2016). "How America Is Putting Itself Back Together". The
^ This was the award for paperback "General Nonfiction".
From 1980 to 1983 in National Book Awards history there were several
nonfiction subcategories including General Nonfiction, with dual
hardcover and paperback awards in most categories. Most of the
paperback award-winners were reprints, including this one.
^ "Fallows, James M. 1949- (James Fallows, James Mackenzie Fallows,
Jim Fallows) – Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series –
^ a b Fallows, James (15 September 1992). "Put Down That Bloody Shirt,
Mr. President". The Washington Post. Now the necessary disclaimers: I
am a Democrat, and I hope Clinton wins.
^ Pilkington, Ed. Obama inauguration: Words of history ... crafted by
27-year-old in Starbucks, The Guardian, January 20, 2009.
^ Fallows, James. "Factual Error in Washington Post", James Fallows
The Atlantic blog, December 18, 2008.
^ a b c "National Book Awards – 1983". National Book Foundation.
^ a b Steketee, Mike. "Urgent Need to Save Quality Journalism,
Professor Warns", The Australian, February 16, 2009.
^ Fallows, James. "James A. Fallows, 1925–2008".
^ Fallows, James. "More Emmy News",
The Atlantic blog,
April 20, 2010.
^ "Agenda", The Atlantic, Bob Newell .
^ Gerstein, Josh (22 November 2010). "A 'tipping point' in terror
fight?". Politico. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012.
Retrieved 21 September 2011.
^ Wilson, Reid (23 February 2009). "Dem primary victor for ex-Emanuel
seat likely to win general". The Hill. Retrieved 21 September
^ "Capital Gang Sunday: The Forbes Candidacy". CNN. 21 January
^ Olson, Robert (January–February 2005). "The Rise of 'Radical
Middle' Politics Archived 2012-07-16 at the Wayback Machine.". The
Futurist, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 45–47. Publication of the World Future
Society. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
^ "American Society of Magazine Editors – National Magazine Awards
Database – Search 'James Fallows'".
^ 2010 New York Emmy Awards Winners Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback
Wikiquote has quotations related to: James Fallows
Audio of lecture delivered to the World Affairs Council of Northern
Audio/Video recording of
James Fallows on his book Blind Into Baghdad:
America's War in Iraq as part of the University of Chicago's World
Beyond the Headlines series
Appearances on C-SPAN
Booknotes interview with Fallows, booknotes.org, May 14, 1989.
James Fallows on IMDb
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