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James Fallows Biography

James Fallows whose birth name is James Mackenzie Fallows 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 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 job.

James Fallows Age

Fallows was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, he celebrates his birth date on  August 2, 1949.He is currently  70 years old as of 2019.

James Fallows Education

He graduated from Redlands High School. James also 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 the University of Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

James Fallows Wife

Fallows is married to writer and researcher Deborah Fallows, with whom he has two sons. His 2018 book, Our Towns, was co-authored and researched with Deborah.

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James Fallows Career

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?”  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?”. 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, Massachusetts were approved for service.

He argued that the class bias of the Vietnam draft, which made it easy for him and for others from 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.

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 .During the operating system wars of the early and mid-nineties, Fallows used and wrote about IBM’s Operating System/2  and its battles with MS Windows, often frequenting the Canopus forum and online community on CompuServe. 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  in the early years of the 2000s  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.

James Fallows Awards

For the first paperback edition of National Defense, Fallows received a 1983 National Book Award for Nonfiction. He was a finalist at the National Magazine Award in the years 1988, 2006, 2007 and had won the award in 2003 for his article The Fifty-First State?. The documentary series On The Frontlines: Doing Business in China in which he participated as an editorial supervisor and co-host  was awarded the 2010 Emmy Award.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.

James Fallows Books

  • Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America
  • China Airborne
  • Postcards from Tomorrow Square
  • Blind Into Baghdad
  • Free Flight: From Airline Hell to a New Age of Travel
  • Breaking the News: How the Media Undermines American Democracy
  • Looking at the Sun: The Rise of the New East Asian Economic and Political System
  • Containing Japan More Like Us
  • Human Capital: The Cultural Sources of America’s Economic Decline And Rebirth
  • National Defense
  • The water lords

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