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Ron Chernow to Kick Off the 2011-12 Pittsburgh Speakers Series

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pittsburgh -- The Pittsburgh Speakers Series presented by Robert Morris University will launch its 2011-12 season Wednesday, Oct. 12, with a talk by author and historian Ron Chernow, who speaks at 8 p.m. at Heinz Hall in downtown Pittsburgh.

An honors graduate of Yale and Cambridge, Chernow is one of the most distinguished commentators on politics, business, and finance in America today. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has hailed him as “one of the pre-eminent biographers of his generation” and Fortune magazine has dubbed him “America’s best business biographer.”

RMUNewsroomChernowHis first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award as the best nonfiction book of 1990 and is considered a modern classic. The Modern Library Board voted it one of the 100 best nonfiction books published in the twentieth century. His second book, The Warburgs, won the prestigious George S. Eccles Prize for the best business book of 1993 and was cited by the American Library Association as one of the year’s ten best works. In reviewing his 1997 collection of essays, The Death of the Banker, The New York Times called Mr. Chernow “as elegant an architect of monumental histories as we’ve seen in decades.” His 1998 biography of John D. Rockefeller, titled Titan, was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for biography and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for sixteen weeks. Both the Times and Time magazine voted it one of the ten best books of the year, while The Times of London praised it as “one of the great American biographies.” 

Chernow’s much anticipated biography of Alexander Hamilton was published by The Penguin Press in April 2004 to extraordinary acclaim. The New York Times praised it as “moving and far the best biography ever written about the man” while USA Today hailed it as “a must-read. Ron Chernow’s masterpiece.” Excerpted by Business Week and chosen as the main selection of both The Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club, the book spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list and was the first recipient of the George Washington Book Prize for the year’s best book about the founding era. It was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in biography.
In October 2010, The Penguin Press published Mr. Chernow’s long-awaited biography of George Washington to outstanding reviews. It was the main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club as well as the History and Military Book Clubs. Excerpted by the Smithsonian magazine, the book spent five weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. The Wall Street Journal named the book one of the year’s ten best and The New York Times included it among its notable books of 2010. Writing in The New York Review of Books, Gordon Wood praised the work as “the best, most comprehensive, and most balanced single-volume biography of Washington ever written.”

A frequent contributor to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, Chernow is a familiar figure on national radio and television shows and has appeared in numerous documentaries. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and recently served as president of PEN American Center, the country’s pre-eminent organization of authors. In recent years, he has received honorary doctorates from Marymount Manhattan College, Hamilton College, and Long Island University.


Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.