Arnie Bernstein

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General Information

Bernstein Arnie.jpg
Name: Arnie Bernstein

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction, History

Born: 1960 in Harvey, Illinois





Email: or

Photo Credit: Jennifer Girard

Illinois Connection

Lives in Chicago. Raised in Park Forest, Niles & Morton Grove. High school at Niles West in Skokie, Illinois. Southern Illinois University, BA in Film Studies/Theater, Carbondale, Illinois; Columbia College, MA in Integrated Writing Program, Chicago, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Arnie Bernstein is a nonfiction writer based in Chicago. He is working on Swastika Nation: Führers, Politicians, Mobsters and the Rise and Fall of the German American Bund, a new book detailing a pro-Nazi movement that swept the United States in the 1930s. Swastika Nation is coming in fall 2013 from St. Martin's Press.

His critically acclaimed 2009 book Bath Massacre: America’s First School Bombing, brought to light the forgotten story of a madman who detonated a rural Michigan school building on May 18, 1927, killing 38 children and six adults. Gregg Olsen, author of the New York Times best seller Starvation Heights praised the book, writing: “With the meticulous attention to detail of a historian and a storyteller's eye for human drama, Bernstein shines a beam of truth on a forgotten American tragedy. Heartbreaking and riveting.”

Bernstein is the author of three books on Chicago history, which earned praise from the late United States Senator Paul Simon (D-Illinois) and Roger Ebert. In his introduction to Bernstein’s book The Movies Are: Carl Sandburg’s Film Reviews & Essays, Ebert wrote: “Arnie Bernstein has performed an extraordinary accomplishment in bringing this book into being….(He) adds great knowledge and insight…providing background, orientation, historical information, helpful footnotes. This is a book that reopens a chapter of journalism and history that might have remained closed forever.”

Bernstein has been interviewed by many media outlets, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, BBC Radio, television, documentaries and webcasts. He was honored for his work by the the State Library of Michigan and the Illinois State Library; and won grants and awards from The Puffin Foundation and Warner Brothers Studios. Bernstein is a member of The Author’s Guild, PEN, The Chicago Writer's Association, and The Society of Midland Authors. He is represented by Michele Rubin of Writers House, New York.

Speaking engagements include presentations at DePaul University, the University of Chicago, Columbia College-Chicago, and many others. He has given speeches and served on panel discussions at the Chicago History Museum, the Illinois State Library, the Gene Siskel Film Center, as well as numerous public and private libraries, bookstores and reading groups.

When it comes to philosophy, Arnie follows the words of notable sage Groucho Marx: “I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.”

Published Works

  • Swastika Nation: Führers, Politicians, Mobsters and the Rise and Fall of the German American Bund, St. Martin's Press, 2013
  • Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing, University of Michigan Press, 2009
  • The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections, Lake Claremont Press, 2003
  • The Movies Are: Carl Sandburg's Film Reviews & Essays, 1920-1927, Lake Claremont Press, 2000
  • Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago & the Movies, Lake Claremont Press, 1999 - 2nd Edition updated and published by Chicago Review Press in 2013 and written with Michael Corcoran

Titles at Your Library

Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund

ISBN: 1250006716
Release Date: 2013-09-03

Find on World Cat

Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

ISBN: 0472033468
Release Date: 2009-03-16

Find on World Cat

The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm: Chicago's Civil War Connections (Great Lakes Connections: The Civil War)

ISBN: 1893121062
Release Date: 2003-09-22

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

Author Honor

  • 2005 Honored at Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois

Hollywood on Lake Michigan: 100 Years of Chicago & the Movies

  • First Place, American Regional History Book Award, Midwest Division, 2000
  • One of the Best Non-Fiction Books, Chicago Book Review, 2013
  • 2014 ILLINOIS READS Book Selection

Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

  • Michigan Notable Books Selection, State Library of Michigan, 2010

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes

Contact Arnie Bernstein at

Arnie speaks with adult, high school, and middle school groups at schools, libraries, clubs, and bookstores. Topics include researching & writing nonfiction; Bath School bombing of 1927; Chicago and film; Chicago and Civil War/Lincoln. Limited engagements at this time; contact Arnie for more information.

External Links

Arnie Bernstein on WorldCat


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