How to pronounce Richard Zacks: rhymes with axe
Richard Zacks was born in Savannah, Georgia in 1955 but grew up in New York City. As a teenager, he gambled on the horses, played blackjack in illegal Manhattan card parlors and bought his first drink at age fifteen at the Plaza Hotel. He also attended elite schools such as Horace Mann ('73), University of Michigan ('79) and Columbia Journalism School ('81). He was a Classical Greek major at the University of Michigan and studied Arabic in Cairo, Italian in Perugia, and French in the vineyards of France.
After completing Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, he wrote a syndicated column for four years carried by the NY Daily News, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News and many others.
His first book, History Laid Bare (1994) packed unusual accounts of love and sex from Joan of Arc to Mark Twain.
His next title, An Underground Education (1997) took the same no-holds-barred approach to research and applied it to Arts, Crime, Medicine, etc. He dug up stories about Edison's electric chair and Lincoln's tentative plan to ship out the freed slaves. He keeps a hole-in-the-wall office in Manhattan and lives just outside the city limits in an 1897 stucco house, once used by bootleggers.
He has also authored The Pirate Hunter, Island of Vice, and The Pirate Coast.
He lives in Pelham, N.Y., with his wife and two children, and every so often when he finds the neighborhood just too smug and comfortable, he flies the Jolly Roger from the flagpole off his son's bedroom.
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