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James Fallows
Born August 2, 1949 (1949-08-02) (age 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Education Bachelor's degree in American history and literature
Alma mater Harvard University, University of Oxford
Occupation Journalist
Employer The Atlantic

James Fallows is an American print and radio journalist who has been associated with The Atlantic Monthly for many years and has written nine books. His work has appeared in Slate, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, The American Prospect, and other magazines. He was also one of Nader's Raiders at Public Citizen and Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter for the first two years of his presidency, the youngest person to ever hold that job, being two months younger at the time than Jon Favreau, Barack Obama's speechwriter.[1][2]



Fallows 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 to 1972 Fallows studied economics at Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. He subsequently worked as an editor and writer for the Washington Monthly and Texas Monthly magazines. For the first two years of the Carter administration he was Carter's chief speechwriter. From 1979 through 1996, Fallows was the Washington Editor for The Atlantic Monthly. 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 American Book Award, for National Defense.

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 in 1970, in which Fallows and his Harvard and MIT classmates overwhelmingly produced reasons for medical exemptions, while the white working-class men of Chelsea 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.

In the 1980s and 1990s Fallows was a frequent contributor of commentaries to NPR's Morning Edition. 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. Starting in the 2010 academic year, he will be a part time visiting Professor in US Media at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. [3] He is an instrument-rated pilot, and in "Free Flight," published in 2001, he described the new generation of "personal jets" and other advanced aircraft now coming onto the market from Eclipse Aviation and Cirrus Design. 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") [1]. In 1999, he spent six months at Microsoft designing 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 2000s and of Google's "Zeitgeist" conference starting in 2005. He has written regular technology columns for the New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly. In 2009, he became the regular news analyst for NPR's "All Things Considered" on the weekend.



  • The Water Lords: Ralph Nader's study group report on industry and environmental crisis in Savannah, Georgia (1971). Grossman Publishers. ISBN 0-670-75160-X
  • Who Runs Congress (1972). With Mark Green and David Zwick. Bantam.
  • National Defense (1981). Random House. ISBN 0-394-51824-1
  • More Like Us: Making America Great Again (1989). Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-395-49857-0
  • Looking at the Sun: The Rise of the New East Asian Economic and Political System (1994). Vintage Paperback (reprint ed, 1995) ISBN 0-679-76162-4
  • Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy (1996). Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-44209-X. Vintage Paperback (1997) ISBN 0-679-75856-9
  • 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. ISBN 978-0-307-27796-1
  • Postcards from Tomorrow Square: Reports from China (2009) Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-47262-5

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

James Fallows (born 1949-08-02) is an American print and radio journalist who has been associated with The Atlantic Monthly for many years and has written eight books. He was also one of Nader's Raiders at Public Citizen and Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter for the first two years of his presidency.


  • Japan gets the most of ordinary people by organizing them to adapt and succeed. America, by getting out of their way so that they can adjust individually, allows them to succeed. It is not that Japan has no individualists and America no organizations, but the thrusts of the societies are different. Japan has distorted its economy and depressed its living standard in order to keep its job structure and social values as steady as possible. At the government's direction, the entire economy has tried to flex almost as one, in response to the ever-changing world. The country often seems like a family that becomes more tightly bound together when it must withstand war, emigration, or some other upheaval. America's strength is the opposite: it opens its doors and brings the world's disorder in. It tolerates social change that would tear most other countries apart. The openness encourages Americans to adapt as individuals rather than as a group.
    • Making America Great Again (1989), ch. 3

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