P. J. O’Rourke (Patrick Jake)

Born: 1947

Ohio connection: Birth


Patrick Jake O’Rourke was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. After receiving his education at Miami University of Ohio and earning an M.A. in English from Johns Hopkins University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, O’Rourke worked for a short succession of underground counterculture magazines. In the early seventies O’Rourke found employment with National Lampoon, which he parlayed into the position of editor-in-chief in 1978. O’Rourke left National Lampoon in 1981 and launched his book writing career in earnest, writing Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People and The Bachelor’s Home Companion, both of which were parodies of the many popular handbooks on etiquette. Since that time O’Rourke has penned numerous other titles including Holidays in Hell; Parliament of Whores; Give War a Chance; and Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics. O’Rourke joins Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson as a practitioner of a style of writing known as new journalism, which is characterized by the reporter’s subjective interpretations and often features fictional dramatized elements to emphasize personal involvement. In between books O’Rourke’s byline has been found in an eclectic group of magazines including American Spectator, Car & Driver, and Rolling Stone. Currently he is a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and serves as the H. L. Mencken Research Fellow of the Cato Institute.

Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1969-70; Merit Award, Art Directors Club, 1973; Gold Award, 1975; Merit Award, Society of Publication Designers, 1976; received other awards for visual excellence for National Lampoon. 

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