John A. Farrell

Jack Farrell is a Washington, D.C.-based biographer.

Selected Works:

Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century


Listed by The New York Times as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2011 (Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned)

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Which one or two American books or plays would you yourself recommend to the foreign leaders?

All the King's Men
The Great Gatsby
Hemingway's short stories

Who in your childhood—for example, parent or teacher—encouraged you to read books, and which one or two books do you remember most fondly?

My mom was a great reader. So was my older sister. The nuns who taught us at St. Patrick's seemed more interested in getting us to obey and be organized than to lose ourselves in literature. But we did have a closet-like "library" at school that contained all the Hardy Boys books, Horatio Hornblower, Lad a Dog books and the like. One of my favorite books was The Lion's Paw, by Robb White. Also, The Once and Future King, by T.H. White.

Which books by writers of the other G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom) have been most important to you as a writer?

Tolkien, Shakespeare, Dickens—cannot beat the mother tongue. There are some pretty good Irish writers, too.

What is the Power of the Word Exhibit?

Power of the Word: Leaders, Readers and Writers is the first online exhibition of The American Writers Museum. As world leaders gather in the U.S. this spring, The American Writers Museum Foundation is inviting American writers and readers to explore the power of the word and join in a discussion of how American books can help readers in other parts of the world better understand our culture.

Leaders Gallery

An exploration into what some of the world’s most powerful leaders like to read, and how reading has influenced them.

Writers Gallery

American writers comment on their early experiences with reading and name the books they think world leaders should read in order to better understand American culture.

Readers Gallery

An interactive, open forum where readers are invited to join the discussion by answering the question: Which American works of literature do you think leaders from other nations should read in order to gain a better understanding of America?

We would like to thank our exhibit sponsors for their generous support:


What is The American Writers Museum?

The mission of The American Writers Museum Foundation is to establish the first national museum in the United States dedicated to engaging the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture and our daily lives. Learn more at