EUGENE ROBINSON uses his twice-weekly column in The Washington Post to pick American society apart and then put it back together again in unexpected, and revelatory, new ways. To do this job of demolition and reassembly, Robinson relies on a large and varied tool kit: energy, curiosity, elegant writing, and the wide-ranging experience of a life that took him from childhood in the segregated South—on what they called the “colored” side of the tracks—to the heights of American journalism.
In a 25-year career at The Washington Post, Robinson has been city hall reporter, city editor, foreign correspondent in Buenos Aires and London, foreign editor, and assistant managing editor in charge of the paper’s award-winning Style section. He has written books about race in Brazil and music in Cuba, covered a heavyweight championship fight, witnessed riots in Philadelphia and a murder trial in the deepest Amazon, sat with presidents and dictators and the Queen of England, thrusted and parried with hair-proud politicians from sea to shining sea, handicapped all three editions of “American Idol,” acquired fluent Spanish and passable Portuguese, and even reached an uneasy truce with the noxious hip-hop lyrics that fester in his teenage son’s innocent-looking iPod.
Eugene Robinson won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Judges complimented Robinson’s “eloquent columns on the 2008 presidential campaign that focus on the election of the first African-American president, showcasing graceful writing and grasp of the larger historic picture.