Jack El-Hai

I am a writer of nonfiction books, longform narratives, podcasts, and the free monthly Damn History newsletter for writers and readers of popular history. I cover history, medicine, science, crime, and anything else that hooks me – and that I hope will hook you.

I also coach physicians in using creative writing to avoid stress and burnout, connect with their patients, enjoy the pleasure of creation, and experience the satisfaction of publishing their work.

info Subjects


Arts & Culture
Business & Finance
Health & Medicine


History, crime, law

notepad Skills

  • Books
  • Essays
  • Feature writing
  • Investigative reporting
  • Podcasts
  • Podcasting
  • Profiles
  • Articles

notepad Writing Credits

The Atlantic, Smithsonian, Wired, Discover, Scientific American, The Washington Post Magazine, GQ, Longreads, + many other publications.
I am the writer of Long Lost, a six-part investigative history podcast for Twin Cities PBS.

notepad Book Credits

The Lost Brothers: A Family’s Decades Long Search (University of Minnesota Press)

The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WW2 (PublicAffairs Books)

Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press)

The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness (Wiley)

Plus many commissioned books for FedEx, Super 8 Motels, Minnesota Public Radio, Andersen Windows, Land O’Lakes, Mannington Mills, the Minnesota Historical Society, and other corporations and organizations.

star Awards, Honors, Appointments

Winner: Article of the Year, lifestyle category, American Society of Journalists and Authors, 2021 (for “The Case of the Autographed Corpse” in Smithsonian Magazine)

Winner: Book of the Year, American Society of Journalists and Authors, 2020 (for The Lost Brothers)

Winner: Minnesota Book Award, 2014 (for The Nazi and the Psychiatrist)

Winner: Minnesota Book Award, 2006 (for The Lobotomist)

Past President: American Society of Journalists and Authors

Winner: Annual Book Award, Medical Journalists’ Association, United Kingdom (for The Lobotomist)

Winner: June Roth Memorial Award for Medical Journalism, American Society of Journalists and Authors

Selected Work

As author, unless indicated otherwise.


"The Case of the Autographed Corpse"

A longform narrative about the author of the Perry Mason novels, who rose to the defense of an Apache shaman falsely convicted of killing his wife.


The Lost Brothers: A Family's Decades Long Search

This book, winner of the 2020 Best Book award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (history/biography), tells the story of one of the oldest known active missing-child investigations: the 1951 disappearance of the three Klein brothers in Minneapolis. An intimate portrait of a parent’s worst nightmare and its terrible toll on a family, the book is also a genuine mystery, spinning out suspense at every missed turn or potential lead, along with its hope for resolution.


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