Ron Powers Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Ron Powers      

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist & Author

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and Emmy Award-winning writer and critic with a career that spans over four decades. He is the author of sixteen books, including No One Cares About Crazy People; Dangerous Water; and co-author of The New York Times best-seller Flags of Our Fathers.

His most recent book, No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America offers a searching, rich narrative of the social history of mental illness in America paired with the deeply personal story of his two sons' battles with schizophrenia. From the centuries of torture of "lunatiks" at Bedlam Asylum to the current mental health landscape, Powers delineates our fears and myths about mental illness and the fractured public policies that have resulted. Braided with that history is the moving story of Powers' beloved son Kevin--spirited, endearing, and gifted--who triumphed even while suffering from schizophrenia until finally he did not, and the story of his courageous surviving son Dean, who is also schizophrenic.

As a Hannibal, Mo. native, Powers has had a lifelong fascination with Mark Twain. Powers has written two books on Twain & one on the region that raised him — Dangerous Water:A Biography of the Boy Who Became Mark Twain, Mark Twain: A Life, and Tom & Huck Don’t Live Here Anymore, a narrative examination of two killings in the town of Hannibal perpetrated by adolescent boys. It was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times book prize. Powers’ two-act play, Sam and Laura, an imaginative extension of a true romantic encounter in the young life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, debuted in 2010.

For his book, Flags of Our Fathers, Powers collaborated with James Bradley, a son of one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers explores each flag raiser’s boyhood, military service, experiences on Iwo Jima and — for the survivors — later life and fate. The book was No. 1 on The New York Times hardcover nonfiction list for five weeks and remained on the bestseller list for 46 weeks. The movie version, produced partly by Steven Spielberg and with Clint Eastwood directing, premiered in October 2006.

He has been published in The New York Times Book Review, The Smithsonian, The Kenyon Review, The Columbia Journalism Review, Preservation Magazine, The New England Review/Breadloaf Quarterly, Esquire, and Playboy. In 1973, Powers was the first TV critic to win the Pulitzer Prize. He was the media commentator for CBS News Sunday Morning for five years, for which he earned an Emmy award, and has hosted numerous documentaries.

Related Speakers View all

More like Ron