Clay Risen is the author of three books: "The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act" (Bloomsbury, 2014), "American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to the Nation's Favorite Spirit" (Sterling Epicure, 2014), and "A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination" (Wiley, 2009). He also co-edited "The New York Times' Disunion: Modern Historians Revisit and Reconsider the Civil War from Lincoln's Election to the Emancipation Proclamation."
Risen is a staff editor at The New York Times; previously he worked as an assistant editor at The New Republic and the managing editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. He has written for numerous national magazines and newspapers, including The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Fortune, The Oxford American, Garden and Gun, Inc., Men's Journal, Popular Science, and The New York Times Magazine.
Clay Risen lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children. His latest book is The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, The Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century, out from Scribner. His next two books, The Whiskey Barons and a new history of the Red Scare, are forthcoming from Scribner.
advance praise for the crowded hour
“A revelatory history of America's grasp for power.” — Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
“Risen’s lively and extensively researched social history illuminates a transformative moment in America’s past.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Scrupulously researched and dramatically narrated, The Crowded Hourshowcases Theodore Roosevelt in all of his Rough Rider glory. Clay Risen, a marvelous historian, brings the Spanish American War and the Gilded Age back to life in these vibrant pages. All of TR’s undaunted hubris, bedrock patriotism, derring-do, and political genius are captured in this fast-paced war epic.” — Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
“Here, in cinematic fashion, Clay Risen captures the nearly inexhaustible energy and irrepressible charisma of Teddy Roosevelt at the moment of his meteoric rise into the national consciousness. Through careful sifting and resourceful reporting that runs both broad and deep, The Crowded Hour brings fresh insight and a modern sensibility to this classic episode of American history.” —Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder and On Desperate Ground
“Crowded Hour is a marvelous book. There is no finer account of the fighting in the Spanish-American War, and the author’s clear-eyed examination of the war’s most celebrated hero, Theodore Roosevelt, is as powerful as it is original.” — Patricia O’Toole, author of When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House
"Clay Risen has given us an illuminating and elegant account of how Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders in many ways founded what would become, in Henry Luce's phrase, the American Century. Restless and brave, flawed and noble, TR and his compatriots embodied an emerging global nation—for better and for worse. It was indeed a crowded hour, not only for Roosevelt but for America."
—Jon Meacham, author of The Soul of America
PRAISE FOR THE BILL OF THE CENTURY: LYNDON JOHNSON AND THE EPIC BATTLE FOR THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT
“Clay Risen’s book will join a very short list of outstanding studies that reminds us of the extraordinary efforts to enact the 1964 civil rights law. As he brilliantly demonstrates, this was indeed the ‘Bill of the Century.’ Deeply researched, beautifully written, this is a history scholars and general readers alike will want to read.” – Robert Dallek, author of Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and his Times, 1961-1973
The New York Times Sunday Book Review, All the Way, Kevin Boyle, May 15, 2014
The Wall Street Journal Book Review, James T. Patterson, April 11, 2014
Named one of the the Best History Books of 2014 by Kansas City Star
Named one of Dropout Nation's Top 8 Books of the Year
Nominee for NAACP Image Award for Non-fiction Book of 2014
PRAISE FOR AMERICAN WHISKEY BOURBON & RYE: A GUIDE TO THE NATION'S FAVORITE SPIRIT
“[Risen] offers takes on excellent whiskies, and doesn’t hold back while describing the bad (“Drinking George Dickel No 8, I can’t get away from the thought of Robitussin poured over cornflakes”), lending authority to his assessment of an overwhelming number of choices. The book will help whiskey lovers single out the good-to-great, but Risen also offers suggestions for lower tier whiskeys like Evan Williams that are perfectly fine for mixed drinks.” – Publishers Weekly
Professional Cocktail.com Book Review, February 7, 2014