Add speakerRemove speakerSpeaker added

Stephen Fried

Award-winning journalist and historian

  • About Stephen Fried

    Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and a New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Columbia University in the School of Journalism and the Department of Psychiatry, and at the University of Pennsylvania.

    He is the author of the acclaimed biographies Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West—One Meal at a Time, which was adapted into a PBS documentary, and Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, which inspired the Emmy-winning film Gia and introduced the word “fashionista” to the English language. He is the co-author, with Congressman Patrick Kennedy, of A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction, and his other books include Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry.

    A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, he has frequently written for Vanity Fair, GQ, The Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, Rolling Stone, Glamour, and Philadelphia magazine.

    Fried and his wife, author Diane Ayres, live in Philadelphia, just a few blocks from where Dr. Benjamin Rush lived, and the nation was born.

  • Speaking Topics

    Benjamin Rush: The Missing Piece of the American Revolution

    The Founding Father of Medicine, Addiction Care, and Mental Health: Benjamin Rush's Impact on American Medicine

    The Founding Father Bromance of Benjamin Rush and John Adams

    A Founding Father’s Search for Religious and Racial Equality

  • Video

  • Praise for Stephen Fried


    Stephen is the epitome of a great author. He thoroughly researches his topics, presents them in a well-written manner, and speaks eloquently in his presentations. He is the ideal author and speaker that those of us in public affairs and programming want to work with every day!

    National Archives and Records Administration, Kimberlee Ried

    Stephen is a compelling and articulate speaker. His use of supporting AV was helpful, the Q&A after the talk was lively. His topic was hard, but he brought light to it. If I were looking for a speaker, I would be happy to bring Stephen Fried in.

    Adath Israel on the Main Line, Elliott Miller, Past President

    Praise for Rush

    A perceptive analysis...reveal[s] a dedicated humanitarian with an enduring influence....Through the efforts of Mr. Fried ... what Benjamin Rush characterized as ‘the distant and more enlightened generations’ are now better placed to judge him.

    The Wall Street Journal

    An important and fascinating account of a relatively neglected yet critical Founding Father. Benjamin Rush—Surgeon General of the Continental Army, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Jefferson’s choice for medical advisor to the Lewis and Clark Expedition—is also acknowledged as the father of American Psychiatry for his study and treatment of the mentally ill. Stephen Fried brings to life Rush’s extraordinary political and medical contributions, as well as the times in which he lived.

    Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind and Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire

    An engrossing exploration of a founding father whose life sheds new light on the American Revolution, as well as on the ongoing challenges of civil rights and mental healthcare in this country. I had no idea how much Rush helped to shape our young nation and how urgent his voice remains today. Anyone who cares about our past and future—politically, medically, spiritually—should read this masterful biography.

    Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy

    Stephen Fried has written a gem of a book—the riveting story of a Founding Father who is too often forgotten. In this magnificent work, Benjamin Rush gets the biography he deserves, and readers get an expertly researched, splendidly written account of a brilliant, influential man and the times in which he lived.

    Jonathan Eig, author of Ali: A Life

    Benjamin Rush is best known as the founding father the more famous founders wrote to. Stephen Fried, in this fascinating biography, shows us why we need to reconsider, and pay more attention to a man whose talents rivaled Franklin’s, opinions equaled Adams’s, and facility with language approached Jefferson’s.

    H.W. Brands, author of The First American and Heirs of the Founders

    A welcome biography of a Founding Father…[who] became a prominent revolutionary and signer of the Declaration of Independence, then surgeon general of the Continental Army…renowned in the annals of American medicine as a pioneer of medical education and the treatment of the mentally ill….A complete portrait of a complex man…who excited attention and controversy in his day but then fell into the shadows. Fried does well to restore him to history.


    Praise for Thing of Beauty

    Stephen Fried has done an admirable job reconstructing Gia's frenzied life...Fried makes a convincing case, through recording Gia's travails, that fetching eyes and a killer body are not enough. This is a chilling tale that every pretty, stupid young thing should read.

    Boston Globe

    Gia's story has everying—glamor, glitz, squalor and tradgedy.

    Liz Smith

    Vivid...The story of Gia Carangi...should be set out among the fashion magazines in modeling agency waiting rooms and any other place where teen-age girls who've been called pretty a little too often hang out...Stephen Fried's exhaustive account of Gia's brief life seems to have an important unanswered quesition on every page: why didn't anyone help Gia?

    The New York Times

    Praise for A Common Struggle (with Patrick J. Kennedy)

    Fascinating … This book is a must-read, not only for those suffering from mental health and substance use disorders, but also for the professionals who treat them and for those who pay for that treatment.

    Dr. George Koob, Director National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Clinical Psychiatry News

    Searching and fearless.

    Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe

    A stunningly unvarnished portrait of one of America’s most private public families…


    Praise for Appetite for America

    Appetite for America is the kind of superb non-fiction you don’t see anymore—marvelously reported, fluidly written and a remarkable story about a remarkable man who influenced American culture perhaps more than anyone alive past or present. Today he is a footnote, but Stephen Fried brings him alive in a true story as brilliant as it is meticulous as it is compulsively readable

    Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights

    Part business story, part social history, part family saga, Appetite for America gives us the winning of the West in a whole new mouthwatering way.

    Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder

    Praise for Husbandry

    Fried is insightful as well as funny.

    Publishers Weekly

    Praise for The New Rabbi

    Brave . . . remarkable . . . a book about leadership that you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate.

    Philadelphia Inquirer

    Fascinating . . . Beneath the story about synagogue politics is a novel-like story about love and loss.

    New York Times

    Compelling . . . extraordinarily valuable . . . intertwines a personal search for religious meaning with a communal search for continuity. . . . Fried hoped to shed light on the future of the rabbinic profession and, indirectly, on the future of Judaism and organized religion in America . . . and [he] gets it absolutely right.

    Washington Post Book World

    Praise for Bitter Pills

    One of the year’s best books…startling…sobering.

    Philadelphia Inquirer

    Bitter Pills could save your life.

    San Diego Union Tribune


  • Books by Stephen Fried

  • Media About Stephen Fried

Request Fees
and Availability

  • 212 572-2013
  • Stephen Fried travels from Philadelphia, PA

Similar Speakers

Ron Chernow

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Washington: A Life and Alexander Hamilton

T.J. Stiles

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer, American historian and author of Custer's Trials

Hampton Sides

Award-winning editor of Outside magazine and the author of In the Kingdom of Ice