Daniel Okrent is the author of five books, most recently Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, winner of the American Historical Association’s prize for the year’s best book of American History. He began working on Last Call shortly before he concluded his term as the first Public Editor of the New York Times in 2005. He had retired as Editor-at-Large of Time Inc. in July 2001, after serving three years in that post, three years as the company’s Editor of New Media, and four years as Managing Editor of Life magazine.
Prior to arriving at Time Inc. in 1991, Okrent worked extensively in book and magazine publishing in editorial and executive positions. In the book industry, he was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., and at the Viking Press, and editor-in-chief of general books at Harcourt Brace, Inc. In magazines, he was editor and co-founder of New England Monthly (twice consecutively winner of the National Magazine Award for General Excellence). In addition to Last Call, his other books include Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in history. He has appeared as an actor in two feature films, Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown and Lasse Hallstrom’s The Hoax, and on television, he was a featured commentator on Ken Burns’s PBS series Baseball and Burns’s Prohibition, which is largely based on Last Call. He was also co-author and co-producer of the off-Broadway hit Old Jews Telling Jokes (2012). He is currently writing a book about immigration in the early 20th century, to be published by scribner in 2018.
Okrent is on the boards of the Authors Guild and the Skyscraper Museum; he is a former chairman (2003-2008) of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
In the 2009-2010 academic year, Okrent was the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer on Press, Politics, and Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where he had been a Fellow in 2006. In the 1999-2000 academic year, he was the Hearst Foundation Visiting Fellow in New Media at the Columbia University School of Journalism.
A native of Detroit and a graduate of the University of Michigan, the 68-year-old Okrent lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod with his wife, poet Rebecca Okrent. They have two adult children.