About the Author
photo by George Peper
Dick Russell has published fifteen books on subjects ranging from natural history to the assassination of President Kennedy.
His latest is The Real RFK Jr: Trials of a Truth Warrior, an intimate biography of the son of Robert Kennedy and who is running for president in the 2024 election. The 384-page biography examines Kennedy’s forty years as the country’s most prominent environmental advocate and more recently his role in defending public health.
Kennedy wrote the introductions for two editions of Russell’s investigation into the energy moguls most responsible for the climate crisis facing our civilization, Horsemen of the Apocalypse (2017) and Climate In Crisis (2020), also published by Skyhorse.
The second and third volumes of Russell’s monumental biography, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, are also scheduled to appear in 2023. The first volume, “The Making of a Psychologist,” was published in 2013 and chronicled the early years of the pioneering founder of archetypal psychology.
Russell has co-authored five books with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, three of which became New York Times Best-Sellers (American Conspiracies, 63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You To Read, and They Killed Our President!)
Russell is currently serving as a researcher and commentator for a 10-part podcast series about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, hosted by Rob Reiner and Soledad O’Brien to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary. He is the author of two ground-breaking books on the subject, including The Man Who Knew Too Much (1992 and 2003), hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “a masterpiece of historical reconstruction.” His 2005 book, On the Trail of the JFK Assassins, will appear in an updated edition in November 2023.
Russell’s 2014 memoir, My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism, came out in an updated paperback in 2018. His early years of traveling across Europe and Africa are the subject of a 2017 documentary, “Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity,” which premiered at the Kansas City Film Festival. His work has been published as Forewords in numerous other books.
For the past three decades, the environment has been a primary focus of Russell’s magazine writing and personal activism, particularly the crisis impacting the world’s fisheries and oceans. A longtime sports fisherman, Russell spent the better part of three years fighting for stronger regulations to protect the endangered Atlantic striped bass. He organized a national conference in Washington, D.C., and appeared on numerous radio and TV programs. For his efforts, Russell was awarded the citizen’s Chevron Conservation Award in 1988. His book Striper Wars: An American Fish Story, was published by Island Press/Shearwater Books in Summer 2005. The book has been described as “one of the most amazing fish stories…ever” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “a can’t-put-down read” by the Boston Globe.
Russell’s book Eye of the Whale (Simon & Schuster hard-cover; paperback edition by Island Press/Shearwater Books), follows the migration of the California gray whale from Mexico’s Baja peninsula all the way to northern Alaska and Russia. According to L.A. Times’ reviewer Richard Ellis, this book “will change the way you think about the natural world.” Eye of the Whale was named among the Best Books of 2001 by three major newspapers: the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Russell has written dozens of articles about other environmental issues, for publications ranging from The Nation to Parenting, and served for eighteen years as a Contributing Editor for OnEarth (formerly Amicus Journal), the award-winning quarterly publication of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has also been a recipient of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation’s Golden Swordfish Award (1984) and was featured in a National Geographic documentary on whales.
Russell’s 1998 book, Black Genius: And the American Experience is study of African-American artists, writers, musicians, educators, and scientists, past and present. According to one reviewer, the book “signals a maturity in our sea-to-shining-sea culture that’s long overdue.” Reissued in a revised, updated paperback edition in 2009, another updated version is scheduled for publication in 2024.
He has been a guest on many national TV and radio programs, including the Joan Rivers Show and NBC Nightly News, and has been a guest lecturer at universities including Harvard and the University of California, at the National Arts Club, and elsewhere. In earlier “incarnations,” Russell was a staff writer in the Hollywood Bureau of TV Guide Magazine (1977-79), and a staff reporter for Sports Illustrated (1969-70) in New York.
Married and with one child, Russell currently lives in Los Angeles. He has traveled widely in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and Central America and is a 1969 graduate (BA, Humanities) of the University of Kansas.