A professor of history at Ohio State University, Kevin Boyle broke into bestsellerdom with his 2004 National Book Award winner, Arc of Justice -- a history that is at once a courtroom drama, a riveting biography, and a fascinating look at race in America in the early 20th century.
Read the interview
Date of Birth:
October 7, 1960
Place of Birth:
B.A., University of Detroit, 1982; M.A., University of Michigan, 1984; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990
|2004 National Book Award Winner|
|Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age|
"What a powerful and beautiful book! Kevin Boyle has done a great service to history with Arc of Justice. With deep research and graceful prose, he has taken a single moment, the hot September day in 1925 when Ossian and Gladys Sweet moved into a bungalow on Garland Avenue in Detroit, and from that woven an amazing and unforgettable story of prejudice and justice at the dawn of America's racial awakening," observes David Maraniss, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of They Marched into Sunlight.
Read a chapter
|A Writer's Rituals|
|"In the course of a day, I spend much more time plotting sentences, passages, or scenes than I do actually writing," Boyle reveals in our exclusive interview. "I find it hard to do that work sitting still. So I wander around the house -- up and down the stairs, out to the backyard to shoot a few baskets, down the block and back. Once I think I’ve puzzled through whatever problem is on my mind, I race back to the computer to try out the solution."|
|A Major Influence||Boyle's Favorite Books|
|Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families|
J. Anthony Lukas
"Here was someone writing history the way I wanted it to be written," recalls Boyle when telling us about reading the book that most influenced his career. "More importantly, here was a book that captured the enormous complexity and profound tragedy of modern American race relations. It’s taken years, but with Arc of Justice I feel as if I have confronted the ghosts of Detroit in the way Lukas taught me."
Boyle told us that Joseph Heller's Catch-22 is an all-time favorite read. "American literature’s great dark comedy, it’s the sort of book that draws young people in the joy of literature. It certainly did that for me," he reflects. Read our interview to learn more about Boyle's best loved books, including:
|Photo by Victoria Getis||