1925 – 2002
Who was Jack Olsen?
Jack Olsen was an American journalist and author known for his crime reporting. Olsen was Senior Editor and Chief for the Sun-Times in Chicago Illinois in 1954. He was Midwest bureau chief for Time magazine and a senior editor for Sports Illustrated in 1961. He was also a regular contributor to other publications, including Fortune and Vanity Fair.
Books by Olsen have sold 33 million copies. Several of his books examined the intersection of law and politics during the late 1960s-early 1970s. These include Last Man Standing: The Tragedy and Triumph of Geronimo Pratt, and The Bridge at Chappaquiddick,. As Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward write in their book All The President's Men, the book was one of several checked out of the White House library by E. Howard Hunt in the course of gathering information about Kennedy to potentially be used against him in the 1972 presidential campaign.
Many of Olsen's most popular works investigated the life histories of violent career criminals. These include studies of serial rapists such as Arthur Shawcross and George Russell, as well as serial killers. Discussing his lifelong interest in crime journalism, Olsen described a field trip that his college criminology class took to a prison: