Joe Jackson

Biography

Joe Jackson is the author of six works of nonfiction and a novel. His nonfiction includes: Leavenworth Train, a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime; Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America, with co-author William F. Burke and an introduction by William Styron; A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet and the Harrowing 4,300-mile of its Survivors; A World on Fire: A Heretic, an Aristocrat, and the Race to Discover Oxygen; The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire; and Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Competitors, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic, released by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in May 2012. A first novel, How I Left the Great State of Tennessee and Went on to Better Things, was released in March 2004.

Jackson holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and was an investigative reporter for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk for twelve years, covering criminal justice and the state's Death Row. His journalism has resulted in the acquittal of a man wrongly convicted of murder, the federal investigation of a jail in which sixteen prisoners died of medical neglect, the investigation of federal agents for misconduct, and the recantations of two men whose testimony helped send men to Death Row. He was the writer-in-residence at the James Thurber House in 2001 and lives in Virginia Beach with his wife, son, and clumsy dog.

Selected Works

Nonfiction
"A penetrating evaluation of Lindbergh's triumph set against the backdrop of the hero-worshipping Twenties. Painstakingly researched, Jackson's balanced work is a singular contribution to the history of flight in general and to Lindbergh historiography in particular. Highly recommended." -- Library Journal (starred review)
"An exhilarating narrative, sweeping us through great discoveries and international rivalries.... Here is the drama of the scientist made real." -- Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
"A tragic yet triumphant book about the limits of humanity and human endurance."
--Publishers Weekly
"Leavenworth Train is an express ride into one man's nightmare and redemption."
--American History
Fiction
"A frog-coughing, spider-barking, toad-strangling jim-dandy of a road novel."
--The Orlando Sentinel
Nonfiction; True Crime
"A gripping tale of a death-row inmate's life and eventual death in the Virginia prison system . . . [and]an intriguing, sometimes darkly comic, saga of the escape of death-row inmates who became known as the 'Mecklenberg Six.' Readers looking for a true-crime story that reaches for broader themes, such as THE EXECUTIONER'S SONG, will find one in DEAD RUN. -- The Orlando Sentinel