Rich Cohen


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Rich Cohen (born July 30, 1968) is an American non-fiction writer. He is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone. He is co-creator, with Martin Scorsese, Mick Jagger, and Terence Winter, of the HBO series Vinyl. His works have been New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Notable Books, and have been collected in the Best American Essays series. He lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut, with his four sons. In 2022, Cohen became a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, and grew up in Chicago's North Shore suburb of Glencoe. He received his BA from Tulane University in 1990. His father, the negotiator Herb Cohen, grew up with the broadcaster Larry King; Cohen worked on King's CNN show for a short time after graduation. His sister, Sharon Cohen Levin, is an Assistant United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York. His brother, Steve Cohen, a former aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, is a partner at the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder in New York City.

Cohen published his first book, Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams—a non-fiction account of the Jewish gangsters of 1930s Brooklyn, notably those involved with Murder, Inc.—in 1998. Cohen's second work, The Avengers: A Jewish War Story (2000), follows a group of anti-Nazi partisans in the forests of Lithuania at the close of World War II.

Cohen's third work, the memoir Lake Effect, was published in 2002. In 2006, Cohen published Sweet and Low: A Family Story, a memoir about the creation of the artificial sweetener, a product invented by Benjamin Eisenstadt, Cohen's grandfather.

In 2009, Cohen published Israel is Real: An Obsessive Quest to Understand the Jewish Nation and its History. In 2010, Cohen co-wrote the memoir When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead, the story of American film producer Jerry Weintraub. The book was a New York Times bestseller.

Cohen's story of United Fruit president and banana king Sam Zemurray, The Fish That Ate the Whale, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2012. In 2013, Cohen published Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, a story of football through the eyes of the 1985 Chicago Bears. The book was a New York Times best seller. Cohen's next book, a narrative history of The Rolling Stones called The Sun and The Moon, and the Rolling Stones, was published by Spiegel and Grau in May 2016. 

Cohen had been on close terms with the Rolling Stones since the mid-1990s. Cohen's 2019 book, The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation, details the life and times of Albert W. Hicks, an American criminal active from about 1840 to 1860.

Best author’s book


The Fish That Ate the Whale