About the Author
photo by George Peper
Dick Russell has published thirteen books on subjects ranging from natural history to the assassination of President Kennedy.
His latest is “Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Men Who Are Destroying Life On Earth – and What It Means For Our Children,” an in-depth investigation into the energy moguls most responsible for the climate change crisis facing our civilization.
Russell writes a regular blog on the Trump administration and the environment. His early years of traveling across Europe and Africa are the subject of a 2017 documentary, “Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity,” which premiered in April at the Kansas City Film Festival. His 2014 memoir, “My Mysterious Son: A Life-Changing Passage Between Schizophrenia and Shamanism,” will appear in an updated paperback version in November.
A monumental biography, The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Volume One: The Making of a Psychologist, was published in 2013. Russell is currently working on a second volume, subtitled “Psychology’s Renegade.”
For most of the past twenty years, the primary focus of Dick Russell’s magazine writing and personal activism has been the environment – 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. Today, the return of the striped bass is considered the foremost example of the resiliency of the oceans – provided a species is given a chance to recover. His book on this subject,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 previous book is Eye of the Whale (Simon & Schuster hard-cover; paperback edition by Island Press/Shearwater Books), which upon publication 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. It is an account of his following the migration of the California gray whale, from Mexico’s Baja peninsula all the way to northern Alaska and Siberia. According to L.A. Times’ reviewer Richard Ellis, this book “will change the way you think about the natural world.”
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 is an active member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and PEN USA.
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, Russell was featured in documentaries by Shane O’Sullivan (“Killing Oswald”) and in “Last Word on the Assassination” by John Barbour, “On the Trail of the JFK Assassins,” Russell’s second book examining the conspiracy behind what happened to President Kennedy, appeared in 2008, when Russell was also a consultant on the web-based documentary film, “The Warning” and was featured in a National Geographic documentary on whales.
He has published two other widely-acclaimed books. Black Genius: And the American Experience (Carroll & Graf, 1998) is a path-breaking 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.” Including a new chapter about Barack Obama, “Black Genius” was reissued in a revised, updated paperback edition in 2009 by Skyhorse Publishing.
The Man Who knew Too Much (Carroll & Graf, 1992) was hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “a masterpiece of historical reconstruction” focusing on the Kennedy assassination. The book was reissued in a revised, updated edition in 2003, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of that tragic event.
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. His free-lance articles have appeared in numerous publications, from Family Health to the Village Voice. His work has been published in ten other books. 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.
Married and with one child, Russell divides his time between Los Angeles and Boston. He has traveled widely in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and Central America. He is a 1969 graduate (BA, Humanities) of the University of Kansas.