Award-Winning Author & Journalist

John J. Miller lives on a dirt road in rural Michigan. He is director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College and writes for National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. His books include The First Assassin, a historical thriller set during the Civil War, The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football, and The Polygamist King: A True Story of Murder, Lust, and Exotic Faith in America. He is the founder and executive director of the Student Free Press Association, a non-profit group best known for its news website, The College Fix. The Chronicle of Higher Education has called Miller “one of the best literary journalists in the country.”


Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas

This collection of excellent short essays includes many of the most popular and important pieces by John J. Miller, the respected author, journalist, and academic. From literature to music, from movies to writing, from culture to politics, “Reading Around” shows Miller — the talented director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College — at his peak performance. This best-of book draws from National Review, Wall Street Journal, and other publications and includes pieces on the ancient epics “Gilgamesh” and “Beowulf”; thriller writers Michael Crichton, Daniel Silva, and Brad Thor; science-fiction authors Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein; fantasy novelists J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis; the horror fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft; movies such as “The Exorcist” and “Red Dawn”; the music of Iron Maiden; the art of Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo; and much more, including essays on the purpose of libraries, writer’s block, and the conundrum of having a common name. The Chronicle of Higher Education has called Miller “one of the best literary journalists in the country,” and this volume shows why. For anyone who loves and admires excellent writing, “Reading Around” is an enjoyable must.

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The Polygamist King: A True Story of Murder, Lust, and Exotic Faith in America

(A Kindle Single)

The astonishing story of James Strang—a religious rebel who became a figure of curiosity, sympathy, and murderous hatred. James Strang was a lawyer, a newspaper editor, and a failed politician, before he found his true calling as a self-declared Mormon prophet. Following the shocking murder of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, Strang lost a power struggle to Brigham Young. He went on to form a dissident sect and build a personal theocracy on Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. This compelling historical narrative delivers a remarkable tale of gothic drama and high tragedy, full of sex, violence, pride, fanaticism, and conspiracy.

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The First Assassin

Washington, D.C., 1861: A new president takes office, a nation begins to break apart—and Colonel Charles Rook must risk insubordination to stop a mysterious assassin who prowls a nervous city. He will need the help of an ally he does not even know he has: Portia, a beautiful slave who holds a vital clue, hundreds of miles away.

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The Big Scrum: How Teddy Roosevelt Saved Football

John J. Miller delivers the intriguing, never-before-told story of how Theodore Roosevelt saved American Football—a game that would become the nation’s most popular sport. Miller’s sweeping, novelistic retelling captures the violent, nearly lawless days of late 19th century football and the public outcry that would have ended the great game but for a crucial Presidential intervention. Teddy Roosevelt’s championing of football led to the creation of the NCAA, the innovation of the forward pass, a vital collaboration between Walter Camp, Charles W. Eliot, John Heisman and others, and, ultimately, the creation of a new American pastime. Perfect for readers of Douglas Brinkley’s Wilderness Warrior, Michael Lewis’s The Blind Side, and Conn and Hal Iggulden’s The Dangerous Book for Boys, Miller’s The Big Scrum reclaims from the shadows of obscurity a remarkable story of one defining moment in our nation’s history.

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A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America

In the 1970s, John M. Olin, one of the country’s leading industrialists, decided to devote his fortune to saving American free enterprise. Over the next three decades, the John M. Olin Foundation funded the conservative movement as it emerged from the intellectual ghetto and occupied the halls of power. The foundation spent hundreds of millions of dollars fostering what its longtime president William E. Simon called the “counterintelligentsia” to offset liberal dominance of university faculties and the mainstream media and to make conservatism a significant cultural force. Among the counterintellectuals the foundation identified and supported at key stages of their careers were Charles Murray during his early work on welfare reform, Allan Bloom as he wrote The Closing of the American Mind, and Francis Fukuyama as he was developing his “End of History” thesis.

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Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America’s Disastrous Relationship

In this provocative and brilliantly researched history of how the French have dealt with the United States, John J. Miller and Mark Molesky demonstrate that the cherished idea of French friendship has little basis in reality. Despite the myth of the “sister republics,” the French have always been our rivals, and have harmed and obstructed our interests more often than not.

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The Unmaking of Americans: How Multiculturalism Has Undermined America’s Assimilation Ethic

Will today’s immigrant population become the first in American history that fails to assimilate? If so, the United States threatens to collapse into disunion. Much of the blame for this state of affairs can be laid at the feet of multiculturalists, who have undermined the concept of Americanization by attacking it as racist and advancing in its place a divisive agenda of group rights and bilingual education. Unfortunately, many on the right have responded to this crisis by viewing immigrants themselves as their mortal enemies– instead of the entrenched native-born liberal elite that has declared war on the American idea itself.

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Hosted by National Review’s national correspondent John J. Miller, the Bookmonger features ten-minute interviews with today’s top authors on current events, politics, history, and more.


Hillsdale College’s John J. Miller discusses classic works within the Western literary canon.