Jack El-Hai

Writer of narratives on science, medicine, and history

Jack El-Hai is a writer of books and articles who specializes in covering medicine, science, and history. He has written more than 500 articles and essays for The Atlantic, Scientific American Mind, Wired, American Heritage, The History Channel Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, and many other publications.

His books include The Nazi and the Psychiatrist (forthcoming in September 2013 from PublicAffairs Books), Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (forthcoming in November 2013 from the University of Minnesota Press), and The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (John Wiley & Sons, 2005; winner of a Minnesota Book Award and the annual book award of the Medical Journalists’ Association of the U.K.). El-Hai has taught nonfiction and journalism courses and workshops at the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Iowa, the Split Rock Arts Program, and the Loft Literary Center.

Portfolio

Books

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist
The Nazi and the Psychiatrist explores the unusual relationship that took shape in a small prison cell in 1945. The cell held two men: Hermann Göring, the most prominent Nazi...
Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines
From its earliest flights in 1926, carrying mail and occasionally a solo passenger to Chicago, to its acquisition by Delta in 2010, Northwest Airlines soared to the heights of...
The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness
A biography of Walter Freeman, developer and promoter of the prefrontal and transorbital lobotomy.
Lost Minnesota: Stories of Vanished Places
Stories and photos of notable buildings, bridges, and other built structures of the past.

History articles

Reel Life
In the depths of the Great Depression, Louise Thompson Patterson led a group of aspiring African-American actors to the U.S.S.R.
E.G. Marshall's Invented Past
Why did a great actor lie about his history?
The Kangaroo's Tale
How an errant elevator door ended a popular form of public entertainment
The Cherry Sisters: Good or Bad?
Did the five sisters in vaudeville's worst act realize they were bad?

Medicine articles

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist
Encounters behind bars between Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering and an American doctor 65 years ago raise questions about responsibility, allegiance and the nature of evil
13 Weeks Eating Nothing But White Castle Hamburgers, in the Name of Science
What happens when you take a healthy young man and feed him nothing but hamburgers and water for three months?
A Powerful Devotion
The School Sisters of Notre Dame and the University of Minnesota make it their mission to break new ground in a famed study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease

Science articles

The Verdict is In: The Jury is Out
Have pity, please, on jurors called upon to absorb complex scientific and medical information in the courtroom
America's First Pop Psychologist
How a Polish-born academic became the ancestor of Joyce Brothers and "Dr. Phil"
Strange but True: An Elemental Quest for the Building Blocks of the Universe
Element collectors love the thrill of the chase but tread carefully when necessary
Toolkit: A Look at the Gear That Experts Use to Spy on Spies
Kevin Murray sniffs out corporate espionage

Crime and law articles

The Killer Who Haunts Me
In 1895, the nation was riveted by the trial of Harry Hayward, accused of murdering a Minneapolis dressmaker. Writer Jack El-Hai asks: Was Kitty Ging's murderer America’s first...
One Smart Bookie
A savant bookie with a legal license to take bets

Business and finance articles

A Mysterious Check in the Mail
When I investigate a strange check that arrives in the mail, I stumble upon a story of loss and crookery.
Where No Business is Good Business
Many American corporations rely on the security of "workplace-recovery centers" -- fully equipped but empty office space reserved for the moment when disaster strikes

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