A. Brad Schwartz

Graduate Student

I study 20th century American history, with a special interest in questions of media and journalism, law and policing, and the cultural production of history. My dissertation project is a biographical study of the American broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow.

My undergraduate thesis at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor explored Orson Welles’s 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast, drawing upon an untapped trove of listener letters to challenge the standard narrative of the so-called “panic broadcast.” This research became the basis for my first book, Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News (Hill and Wang, 2015). In 2013, I co-wrote a documentary about War of the Worlds for the PBS series American Experience, based in part on my thesis research. I am currently a member of the Graduate Student Council of the Radio Preservation Task Force of the Library of Congress.

With Max Allan Collins, I have co-authored two biographies of the famed American lawman Eliot Ness: Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago (William Morrow, 2018) and Eliot Ness and the Mad Butcher (William Morrow, 2020). Scarface and the Untouchable received a Best of Illinois History Award and was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the Chicago Public Library. I have also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vanity Fair, and Smithsonian Magazine.

Year of Study
Seventh Year
Area of Interest
Cultural History
Digital History
Political History
Public History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
19th Century
20th Century
21st Century
American West
North America
United States