Kevin Baker (author)

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Kevin Baker
Baker in 2015
Baker in 2015
Born1958 (age 61–62)[1]
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationNovelist, historian, journalist, political commentator
GenreRealistic fiction, historical fiction, Nonfiction

Kevin Baker (born 1958) is an American novelist, political commentator, and journalist.

Early life[edit]

Baker was born in Englewood, New Jersey,[1] and grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts.[2][3] As a youth, he worked on the local newspaper Gloucester Daily Times,[1] covering school-boy sports, as well as town meetings and other civic affairs. He graduated from Columbia University in 1980,[1] with a major in political science.[2]


In 1993, Baker's first book, Sometimes You See it Coming (1993),[1] a contemporary baseball novel loosely based on the life of Ty Cobb, was published.[2]

He was the chief historical researcher on Harold Evans’s illustrated history of the United States, The American Century (1998).[4] He was a columnist ("In the News") for American Heritage magazine from 1998 to 2007.[5] In 2009 appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal and The Colbert Report, to discuss the Obama presidency.[6]

Baker is the author of the City of Fire trilogy, published by HarperCollins, which consists of the following historical novels: Dreamland (1998); the bestselling Paradise Alley (2002); and Strivers Row (2006). The middle volume of the trilogy won the 2003 James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction[7] and the 2003 American Book Award.[8] Paradise Alley was also chosen by bestselling Angela's Ashes author, Frank McCourt, as a Today show book club selection.

In 2009, he wrote a Luna Park, a graphic novel illustrated by Croatian artist Danijel Žeželj.[9]

A writer of over 200 newspaper and magazine articles, Baker was the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim fellowship for non-fiction.

Baker lives in New York City, where he is a contributing editor to and bi-monthly columnist for Harper's Magazine[5], and a regular contributor to, The New Republic, The New York Times, and The New York Times Book Review.


  • Sometimes You See It Coming (1993)
  • The American Century (1998; with Harold Evans and Gail Buckland)
  • Dreamland (1999)
  • Paradise Alley (2002)
  • “Rudy Giuliani and the Myth of Modern New York” (2005; in America's Mayor: The Hidden History of Giuliani's New York)
  • “Lost-Found Nation: The Last Meeting Between Elijah Muhammad and W.D. Fard (2006; in I Wish I'd Been There)
  • Strivers Row (2006)
  • Luna Park (2011; with artist Danijel Žeželj)
  • The Big Crowd (2013)
  • Becoming Mr. October (2014)
  • America The Ingenious: How a nation of dreamers, immigrants, and tinkerers changed the world (2016)


  1. ^ a b c d e "Kevin (Breen) Baker." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Retrieved via Biography in Context database 2016-06-19.
  2. ^ a b c Shafner, Rhonda (December 29, 2002). "At Home with History: Books Have Long Taken Writer Kevin Baker into the Past." Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.). Retrieved via Google News 2016-06-19.
  3. ^ "Kevin Baker – About." Kevin Baker [author's website]. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  4. ^ Reynolds, David S. (October 11, 1998). "The March of Time: The American Century by Harold Evans with Gail Buckland and Kevin Baker" [book review]. New York Times. "... with the help of a research team headed by Kevin Baker, [Evans] has culled a staggering amount of information from other history books."
  5. ^ a b "Kevin (Breen) Baker." The Writers Directory. Detroit: St. James Press, 2016. Retrieved via Biography in Context database 2016-06-19.
  6. ^ "Book Discussion on Barack Hoover Obama" (June 21, 2009). C-SPAN. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  7. ^ "James Fenimore Cooper Prize." Society of American Historians. Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  8. ^ "Before Columbus Foundation Presents the American Book Awards 2003" [press release]. Before Columbus Foundation. Available as PDF file on the foundation's website ( Retrieved 2016-06-19.
  9. ^ Kois, Dan (January 13, 2010). "Book World reviews the graphic novel 'Luna Park' by Kevin Baker" [book review]. Washington Post.

Further reading[edit]