Michael Kranish is an investigative political reporter for The Washington Post and co-author of Trump Revealed, a Post biography of the Republican presidential nominee.
He is the author of The World's Fastest Man: The Extraordinary Life of Cyclist Major Taylor, America's First Black Sports Hero. Kranish's long-standing interest in Taylor led to a 2001 cover story in the The Boston Globe's Sunday Magazine. As the first American-born black world champion in any sport, a dozen years before Jack Johnson won the boxing title and fifty years before Jackie Robinson became a Major League baseball player, Taylor's accomplishment shattered racist perceptions and had widespread impact across sport and society.
Taylor's extraordinary life, at the intersection of the Jim Crow era and the Gilded Age, provided an unparalleled chance to explore one of the great turning points in American history. He was one of the most chronicled black men of his day, overcoming the highest odds to become a world champion, traveling throughout the United States, Europe and Australia. Kranish spent years collecting thousands of articles written about Taylor, examined his scrapbooks and letters, interviewed his then-96-year-old daughter, and studied histories of the era as he reearched the book.
A graduate of Syracuse University, Kranish began his newspaper career in Florida at the Lakeland Ledger and the Miami Herald, where he wrote a series of stories about a plan to tear down much of South Beach. Kranish then moved north to The Boston Globe in 1984 and became the paper’s New England correspondent. Kranish eventually returned to his hometown and joined the Globe’s Washington Bureau, where he covered national affairs and presidential campaigns and served as the bureau’s deputy chief before leaving the paper in December 2015.
Kranish was the Globe’s congressional reporter, White House correspondent and national political reporter, filing stories from 49 states and 25 countries. Having reported on Senator John F. Kerry for much of his career at the Globe, Kranish worked on a series of biographical stories during Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, including pieces about Kerry’s ancestry, his involvement in the Vietnam War and his leadership in the protest against that conflict. This turned into a 2004 book co-authored by Kranish, John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography.
Kranish also is the co-author of The Real Romney, written with fellow Boston Globe reporter Scott Helman, a product of the Boston Globe that is published by HarperCollins (January 2012). Please visit this page for more information.
Kranish was the co-winner of the 2013 Dirksen prize for congressional reporting for his work on the Globe’s “Broken City” series about Washington dysfunction. A story from that series about Washington’s industry of distortion was included in the book, Best Business Writing of 2014.
In 2015, he authored 10 articles in the Globe’s series, “Divided Nation,” which focused on inequality.
In 2016, Kranish was the recipient of the Society of Professional Journalists award for Washington Correspondence, and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for Feature writing, both for the “Divided Nation” series.
Kranish has frequently mined his interest in history and biography in his work. He has produced lengthy profiles about the history of the Bush family, the Vietnam War actions of presidential candidate Wesley Clark, and the family history of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Each of these stories relied on burrowing into archival research and on-the-ground reporting, intermingling the disciplines of journalist and historian. Following the 2004 presidential campaign, Kranish explored the possibility of writing a full-scale history on a subject that had long interested him: the Revolutionary War.
One story seemed especially intriguing: the 1781 invasion of Virginia by Benedict Arnold, which caused then-Governor Thomas Jefferson and the legislature to flee the capital of Richmond. The chapter seemed little-explored in biographies of Arnold and Jefferson; both men had greater claims to fame or infamy. Early histories about these events were written without the benefit of key diaries, journals, ship records and other documentation that became available only in recent years.
With a proposal for these events in hand, Kranish was awarded a fellowship at the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello, which enabled him to live in a writer’s cottage just down the slope from Monticello and directly across from the Jefferson Library, where many vital resources are stored. The result, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, was Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War.