James Reston, Jr.

James Reston, Jr. is the author of over a dozen books, three plays, and many articles in national magazines. He is a scholar with expertise in the history of the Crusades, the historical conflict between Christianity and Islam, and bioethical issues. He won the Prix Italia and the Dupont-Columbia Award for his 1983 radio documentary on National Public Radio, "Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown." His last four historical books, GALILEO: A LIFE, THE LAST APOCALYPSE: EUROPE AT THE YEAR 1000 A.D., WARRIORS OF GOD and DOGS OF GOD have been translated into more than twelve foreign languages.

In 1976-1977, Reston was David Frost's Watergate adviser for the famous Frost/Nixon television interviews, seen by 57 million people world-wide. Reston's THE CONVICTION OF RICHARD NIXON is a fascinating chronicle of that experience and how Reston and his team were able to wrestle some startling truths about Watergate from the impeached President. The manuscript was a considerable inspiration to the British playwright Peter Morgan in the making of his hit play, "Frost/Nixon," in which Reston is a major character. Ron Howard's film version received five Academy Award nominations.

Reston's articles appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Smithsonian, Esquire, Playboy, and Rolling Stone. He has lectured widely in the United States and overseas. He was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, a scholar in residence at the Library of Congress, and is currently a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. He is working on a novel on Ziad Jarrah, one of the 9/11 hijackers.

Visit Reston's website for more information.


Defenders of the Faith: Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificent, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536

"In this vibrant piece of intellectual history, Reston completes the saga of the relationship between East and West he began with WARRIORS OF GOD. ... By examining this short but crucial span of years, Reston not only brings to life two 'Olympian' figures who believed they were carrying out the will of God; he also offers a lucid window onto Renaissance Europe and the foundations of contemporary debates between the West and Islam." - Publishers Weekly

"Given the disunity of the Christian monarchs, readers wondering why Suleyman did not prevail may depend on Reston's interesting display of fact, description, and narrative to elucidate a pivotal point in history." - Booklist

The Conviction of Richard Nixon: The Untold Story of the Frost/Nixon Interviews

Washington Post: "An intelligent and compassionate memoir...compact and gripping."

Los Angeles Times: "A riveting memoir."

Publishers Weekly (starred review): "Fascinating reading."

Watch Reston talk about his book THE CONVICTION OF RICHARD NIXON, the basis of both Peter Morgan's play and Ron Howad's film "Frost/Nixon."

Fragile Innocence

A Washington Post Book World Best Book of 2006

A Finalist for the 2006 Books for a Better Life Award

"Turning his remarkable writer's gaze inward, into his own family, Jim Reston captures the most unfair condition of all: a parent living with the suffering of a child. Once you start this book, and are caught up in the story of Hillary, Devin, Maeve, Denise and Jim, you won't put it down. Reston shows, as all of us with a 'special needs' child know, that whole families are changed by the tragedy of one." - Judy Woodruff

"A story of love and hope." - Newsweek

Dogs of God: Columbus, The Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors

"An engaging and highly readable book...The events in DOGS OF GOD may have taken place more than 500 years ago, but there are times when they seem chillingly, worryingly familiar." - Washington Post

"In an energetic style unfettered by scholarly jargon or too many footnotes, Reston brings alive the conflict between the Catholic and the Muslim and how the conflict still resonates today." - USA Today

Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade

Washington Post Book World: "A refreshingly unbiased popular history of the Third Crusade."

Kirkus Reviews: "Remarkably intimate and engagingly detailed."

Forbes FYI: "Reading this book, one sways between horror and exhilaration. The magnitude of human suffering is mind-boggling, but the warriors' adventures are the stuff of boyhood fantasy."

The Last Apocalypse: Europe at the Year 1000 A.D.

New York Times Book Review: "Sifting through court poems, Norse sagas, Hungarian folk tales... Reston constructs a colorful and dramatic story."

Kirkus Reviews: "[A] lively, absorbing 'saga' of Europe at the end of the last millennium... a thoughtful, briskly told narrative that makes the period come alive."

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Boldly written... Can the last millennium enlighten the next? Reston gives us the question dipped in blood."

Galileo: A Life

"In the spirited evocation of Galileo's charisma and capacity, Reston traces his galactic collision course with the only power on earth of heaven able to bring him to his knees: the Roman Catholic Church.... Fresh, sinewy, and altogether admirable." -Los Angeles Times Book Review

"It is the triumph of the book that Reston himself is able to offer a convincing imitation of a Renaissance man -- stepping beyond the Arts/Science dichotomy of the 20th century to tell the story of a society where not only were science and religion regarded as the same side of the coin, but in which their union made sense." - Washington Post Book World

Collision at Home Plate

"It touches on some of the great themes of literature -- love, waste, regret." - George Will,New York Review of Books

"[An] uncommonly intelligent book about two fascinating, uncommon (if flawed) men." - Chicago Tribune

"[This] is epic Americana. Reston is steady, painstaking, and controlled as he pits the scholar against the slugger." - Toronto Star

The Accidental Victim: JFK, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the Real Target in Dallas

Was the assassination of one of America's most beloved presidents an accident?

That is the shocking argument put forth by acclaimed historian James Reston, Jr. Based on years of research and interviews, this revelatory new book makes the case that Texas Governor John Connally, not President John F. Kennedy, was the intended target of Lee Harvey Oswald.

Oswald's motive was personal, not political. After he attempted to defect to the Soviet Union, his military discharge was changed from honorable to dishonorable. The proud ex-Marine protested directly to fellow Texan Connally, then Secretary of the Navy, and received a classic bureaucratic brush-off. From that day on, Oswald began nursing a deep, even murderous grudge.

Reston masterfully charts the path Oswald took toward that fated moment in Dallas, his hatred of the governor driving him to purchase a mail-order rifle, position himself in the Texas School Book Depository building, and attempt to settle his score with Connally.

There was no conspiracy.

There was Lee Harvey Oswald, a mail-order gun, and a missed shot.

Marshaling all the available evidence - some of it never before seen - Reston will change the way we understand this epochal event: In one of American history's most tragic ironies, President John F. Kennedy was as an accidental victim on November 22, 1963.


Drawing on Martin Luther's correspondence, notes, and other writings, LUTHER'S FORTRESS presents an earthy, gripping portrait of the Reformation's architect at this transformational moment, revealing him at his most productive, courageous, and profound.

"An engaging study of a short but explosive period in the life of the great reformer and translator of the Bible... In a swift-moving narrative, Reston examines all of the aspects of this tumultuous time for the reformer. An intensive journey inside Luther's thinking as it was forming in opposition to the church." - Kirkus Reviews

"Reston's superb juxtaposition of Luther's solitude in Wartburg and the instability in both Rome and Wittenburg demonstrates how truly perilous a moment this was in the history of the burgeoning Reformation." - Publishers Weekly

"The author details in exemplary fashion what was so important and influential about his subject's life and work... a fine, scholarly but accessible treatment of a key period in the life of one of the most influential persons in the history of Christianity." - Library Journal

A Rift in the Earth

A RIFT IN THE EARTH tells the remarkable story of the ferocious "art war" that raged between 1979 and 1984 over what kind of memorial should be built to honor the men and women who died in the Vietnam War. The story intertwines art, politics, historical memory, patriotism, racism, and a fascinating set of characters, from those who fought in the conflict and those who resisted it to politicians at the highest level. At its center are two enduring figures: Maya Lin, a young, Asian-American architecture student at Yale whose abstract design won the international competition but triggered a fierce backlash among powerful figures; and Frederick Hart, an innovative sculptor of humble origins on the cusp of stardom.

"The memorial appears as a rift in the earth, a long polished black stone wall, emerging from and receding into the earth." -Maya Lin

"I see the wall as a kind of ocean, a sea of sacrifice. . . . I place these figures upon the shore of that sea." -Frederick Hart