A Hope in the Unseen: Biography: Ron Suskind

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Ronald Steven Suskind was born on November 30, 1959, in Kingston, New York, to a Jewish family. He attended Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware and received his B.A. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Columbia and in 1983 began reporting for the New York Times, covering business news. In 1985 he was a staff writer for the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. He became editor of Boston Business Magazine in 1988 and Senior National Affairs Writer for the Wall Street Journal from 1993-2000.

In 1995 Suskind won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for the story of Cedric Jennings, an inner-city student who was trying to get out of the ghetto and attend an Ivy League college. Those articles became the basis of his book, A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League (1998). This novelistic nonfiction became a favorite on college campuses and reframed the debate on racism and affirmative action in America. It was chosen by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Monthly Booklist as one of the best books of the year.

In 2004 Suskind published The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O’Neill, a report on the treasury secretary and the inner workings of the Bush Administration. The book claims the war in Iraq was planned in January 2001. The book was discussed on CBS’s 60 Minutes, and the New York Times called it one of the 75 smartest books ever written. It was called the Best Book of 2004 by Investigative Reporters and Editors. The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America’s Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 (2006) describes how the U.S. fought a new kind of war after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, with foreign policy being shaped by Vice President Dick Cheney. Suskind was featured on TV again with this book, for instance, on The Colbert Report.

The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism (2008) details the National Security Team of the Bush era and the fabrication of the charge against Iraq having weapons of mass destruction. Suskind was on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show to discuss and publicize the book. Suskind is a sought after speaker on TV and college campuses. He currently writes for Time Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Esquire, and is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Dartmouth. Suskind champions investigative journalism and criticizes the suppression of this tool for meaningful debate on public policy. He lives in Washington, D. C. with his wife Cornelia Kennedy Suskind and their sons, Walter and Owen.

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