Mike D'Orso

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Mike D'Orso (born October 12, 1953) is an American author and journalist based in Norfolk, Virginia.

D'Orso wrote Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood (1996), Plundering Paradise: The Hand of Man on the Galapagos Islands (2002), and Eagle Blue: A Team, A Tribe and a High School Basketball Season in Arctic Alaska (2006). His co-written books include Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement (1998), written with U.S. Congressman and former civil rights leader John Lewis; Rise and Walk: The Trial and Triumph of Dennis Byrd (1993), written with New York Jet defensive end Dennis Byrd; and Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them (2011), written with actor and environmental activist Ted Danson.


D'Orso's father was a U.S. Navy submarine officer and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. D'Orso was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and was raised in military base cities, including: Key West, Florida; San Diego, California; Charleston, South Carolina; and Frankfurt, Germany.[1][2] He graduated with a degree in philosophy from the College of William and Mary in 1975 and earned a master's degree in English from William and Mary in 1981.[3]

D'Orso was a staff writer for Commonwealth Magazine (1981-1984), features writer for The Virginian-Pilot (1984-1993), and contributor to Sports Illustrated magazine (1988-1993).[4] Seven of his books have been best sellers: Rosewood: Like Judgment Day and Body For Life (both The New York Times);[5][6] Walking With the Wind (The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post);[7][8] Like No Other Time and In Praise of Public Life (The Washington Post); Rise and Walk (Bookstore Journal National Christian Bestsellers);[9] and Winning With Integrity (Business Week).[10] Walking With the Wind also won the 1999 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and was selected for Newsweek magazine's 2009 list of "50 Books For Our Times".[11][12]


D'Orso's work often involves issues of social justice.[original research?] His first book, Somerset Homecoming (1988), written with Dorothy Redford, was about Redford's investigation into her ancestors' experience as slaves in North Carolina.[13]

Like Judgment Day discussed the 1923 Rosewood massacre, and the survivors' pursuit of reparations seventy years later.[14]

Walking With the Wind was a biography of John Lewis, a leader of the civil rights movement during the 1960s.[15]

Eagle Blue was about rural Native American villagers in arctic Alaska shifting from a subsistence lifestyle of hunting, trapping and fishing to a modern cash economy.[16]

Plundering Paradise described the social and environmental impact of thousands of Ecuadorians moving to the Galapagos Islands in search of jobs.[17][18]


  1. ^ "Writing His Life," Hampton Roads Magazine, January, 2008.
  2. ^ "Reporter-Author Michael D'Orso Goes Inside the Skin of His Subjects," The Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 2, 1993.
  3. ^ "Local Profile: Author Mike D'Orso," AltDaily, Feb., 2010 http://www.mikedorso.com/author/AltDaily2010.html.
  4. ^ Morris, Bill (11 June 2010). "The Happy Ghost". The Millions. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Best Sellers Plus," The New York Times, March 23, 1997 ("Like Judgment Day" #22).
  6. ^ "Best Sellers," The New York Times, Nov. 7, 1999 ("Body For Life" #1).
  7. ^ "Los Angeles Times Bestsellers," The Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1998 ("Walking With the Wind" #8).
  8. ^ "Washington Post Bestsellers," The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2017 ("Walking With the Wind" #3).
  9. ^ "Best-Selling Christian Books," Bookstore Journal, Nov., 1993 ("Rise and Walk" #3).
  10. ^ 10) "Crash Landing," ESPN The Magazine, April 1, 2002.
  11. ^ Robert F. Kennedy Book Award Winners, 1999, "Walking With the Wind." http://rfkhumanrights.org/who-we-are/awards/rfk-book-awards/book-award-winners/.
  12. ^ "50 Books For Our Times," Newsweek, July 2, 2009 https://www.librarything.com/bookaward/Newsweek+50+Books+for+Our+Times
  13. ^ 13) Nelson, Jill (Aug. 25, 1988). "Searching for Her Roots." The Washington Post.
  14. ^ Daynard, Jodi (Feb. 4, 1996). "An American Tragedy." The Boston Sunday Globe.
  15. ^ Nelson, Jack (June 14, 1988). "A Hero of Our Time." Los Angeles Times Book Review.
  16. ^ Fox, David (March 8, 2017). "Alaskan Basketball – A Way of Life." Anchorage Press.
  17. ^ "C-Span BookTV" (Feb. 23, 2003). https://www.c-span.org/video/?165949-1/plundering-paradise-hand-man-galapagos-islands
  18. ^ Gutin, JoAnn C. (Feb. 2, 2003). "Bitter Harvest." The Washington Post.

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