David Hajdu
Award-Winning Author & Cultural Critic

David Hajdu is the award-winning author of three acclaimed books of nonfiction: Lush Life, the biography of jazz composer Billy Strayhorn; Positively 4th Street, a group portrait of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Richard Farina, and Mimi Baez Farina; and The Ten-Cent Plague, the story of the hysteria over comic books in the McCarthy Era, which transformed American popular culture.



He is the music critic for The New Republic and a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Review of Books.  Over the past twenty years, he has been a winner or a finalist for the National Magazine Award, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the Deems-Taylor Award, and other honors.



A though-provoking authority on popular culture, he has appeared on television shows such as The Colbert Report, CNN, Nightline, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, as well as on radio programs such as Fresh Air, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered.



A full-time professor at Columbia University, he teaches the seminar in Arts and Culture in the Columbia Journalism School.  He was previously Nonfiction Writer in Residence at the University of Chicago, and he has lectured at, among others, New York University, Rutgers, and Tufts.



He lives in New York with his wife, the jazz singer Karen Oberlin, and their young son Nathan.

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Trade Paperback
Positively 4th Street
The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña

Tenth Anniversary Edition The story of how four young bohemians on the make - Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Baez, and Richard Farina - converged in Greenwich...

Trade Paperback
The Ten-Cent Plague
The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America

In the years between the end of World War II and the mid-1950s, the popular culture of today was invented in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic...

Trade Paperback
Lush Life
A Biography of Billy Strayhorn
North Point Press

Nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award Billy Strayhorn (1915-67) was one of the greatest composers in the history of American music, the creator...

How Comic Books Changed America: David discusses his book, The Ten Cent Plague, and how comic books occupied a unique cultural space at a unique historical moment.
Bob Dylan: The Elvis of the Mind: A discussion of Bob Dylan, his impact on America's musical legacy and our cultural heritage.
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn: Genius, Gender, and Jazz: David talks about the subjects of his landmark study of black music and gay culture, Lush Life.

Praise for The Ten-Cent Plague
"Incisive and entertaining . . . This book tells an amazing story, with thrills and chills more extreme than the workings of a comic book’s imagination."
-Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"A well-written, detailed book . . . Hajdu’s research is impressive."
-Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

Praise for Lush Life
"Hajdu invests his biography of Strayhorn with the kind of sensitivity and clarity which is the mark of his subject's best work."
The New Yorker

"Lush Life is a book as beautiful and intelligent as its subject. David Hajdu has brought all my dear memories of Billy Strayhorn to life."
—Lena Horne