I'm a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. I've been a regular contributor to The Washington Post Magazine for more than 20 years; other credits include The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Smithsonian, Travel & Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal. I also was a staff feature writer at The Baltimore Sun, and a contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler and John Kennedy's innovative politics-and-culture magazine, George.
Currently I'm working on a narrative nonfiction book about some members of the German resistance during World War II. White Knights in the Black Orchestra is scheduled to be published by Da Capo Press/Hachette Book Group in early 2021. I was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities "Public Scholar" grant for this project. My thanks to the NEH for its invaluable support of working authors.
My first book, Color Blind, was released in hardcover in 2013. It's the true story of an integrated semipro baseball team that played in North Dakota during the Depression and whose marquee player was Satchel Paige, star pitcher and folk hero of the Negro Leagues. Booklist named Color Blind one of the Top 10 Sports Books of 2013.
"A delightful read. This is a tale worth telling."
“It is funny, it is sad, it is spellbinding, required reading for anyone who loves baseball, who loves a vivid story well-told."
Philadelphia Daily News
"Tom Dunkel revisits this [semipro] landscape to spin a tale as fantastic as it is true, as American as racism and baseball."
"Dunkel tells one of the great untold stories about baseball history, one that almost sounds too good to be true."
"Dunkel's enthralling narrative of Bismarck's talented collection of white and black players falls into the 'must-read' category."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"A virtually forgotten but very significant piece of sports history…done in a very entertaining, narrative nonfiction style. Baseball fans will cherish this book, and it will become required reading among those who feel we can better understand today’s racial tensions by looking to the past."
Booklist (starred review)
"A captivating recollection of the Bismarck, ND integrated baseball team…Delivers an important rendering of a too-little-remembered challenge to American society’s segregated practices. Strongly recommended."
Library Journal (starred review)
"Dunkel delves into the history of players, towns, and baseball itself in constructing this portrait of a harmonious team rising above a segregated society....a story that transcends championships, and an inspirational reflection on an otherwise dismal human rights history."