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: Maps

  • Map crazy!

    Following the recent series of thought-experiment maps about how America's internal borders should be withdrawn, this note from a reader in Shanghai:

    "I always enjoy the maps by Danny Dorling at the University of Sheffield, resizing areas based on all sorts of variables, including wealth, life expectancy, etc.  http://www.worldmapper.org/
    "Sobering "income animation" here.  It certainly lives up the its tagline "The world as you've never seen it before".

    From the income animation -- first, how the display looks when showing countries "sized by people living on less than $2 per day":

    And when sized by those living on more than $200 a day:

    I won't go on forever with alternative maps -- though this a good occasion to re-mention Toby Lester's wonderful book on the history of maps, The Fourth Part of the World -- but they are useful jogs to conventional thinking. And, a further note on the "what New England" should be called question, from a one-time resident of our smallest state:
    "As a native Rhode Islander, I have to note that our state is the Ocean State, and it seems too proprietary to apply to all of Southern New England. Also, while I'm not a sports fan, the Red Sox are mighty popular here in RI and southern Mass and CT, so moving that northward doesn't make sense either. How about just Southern New England, which is used a lot anyway, at least by our weathermen, and the Northeast Kingdom?"


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