James Fallows

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

James Fallows: China Today

  • "China Today" #3: The Environment

    Third in the series of video conversations about China's prospects.

    The third in the series of conversations I've been having with Damien Ma, of the Eurasia Group, is now online, here. It's the third one down on the list on that page; previous two available there, and here. The theme this time is an extension of one often discussed in our pages: namely, how serious, really, is the environmental challenge for China, and how do the country's efforts to cope with it measure up.

    By the way, lots of other interesting videos on the Atlantic's (conveniently-named) "Video" channel, here. Worth checking out.

  • Installment #2 of "China Today" Conversations

    Those enormous Chinese loans to America: how do they shift the balance of power between the countries?

    Following this first installment earlier in April of the "China Today" series of conversations between me and Damien Ma, of the Eurasia Group, a second has just gone online. It is here, with embedded version below.

    The main theme of this second conversation is which country has the leverage over the other, via China's enormous loans to and investments in the United States. Ma and I see this more or less the same way -- but in quite a different way from what you'd think based on mainstream coverage of the topic or, especially, US talk shows or political speeches. Judge for yourself.

  • More on the RMB and Chinese Economics: "China Today" Series

    Beginning a series of video conversations about China's economics and place in the world.

    Today we kick off a series of video conversations about the Chinese economy, US-China relations, and the general swirl of developments that is modern China. It is called "China Today"; you can find it here; and it features short discussions between me and Damien Ma of the Eurasia Group, below.


    We'll be running these as a series through the spring and again in the fall. In a sense they're an extension of last year's "Doing Business in China" series of videos -- which I will provide a link to when our site's "categories" feature is put back in action, and which as noted earlier is in contention for some documentary awards. The first discussion, which we recorded this past weekend, ends up being timely in regard to the Hu-Obama RMB discussions now in the news.


Confessions of Moms Around the World

A global look at the hardest and best job ever


A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book


The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"


This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.



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