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About Shaun

Hi, and welcome to my site. I’m an author, magazine writer and investigative journalist. Showtime just turned my latest book, The Murder of Sonny Liston, into a feature documentary that you can see on demand. Next up is a movie version that should go into production in 2021.

My instincts always lead me to crime and politics, though I somehow managed to spend twenty years in the investigations unit at ESPN. Four books have also allowed me to join the NASCAR tour for a season; delve into the history of Vince McMahon for a New York Times best-selling unauthorized biography; chronicle America’s history with steroids; and turn into a cold case cop to investigate the decades-old death of Sonny Liston, the infamous heavyweight champion of the word.

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Shaun Assael | Photo credit: Amy K. Nelson
Media Downloads

I’ve been lucky to win numerous awards for my magazine work lately, including from the National Association of Black Journalists (for science writing), the Associated Press Sports Editors (for investigative reporting), the National Headliners Club, the New York Press Club, and the World’s Best Radio Programs and World’s Best TV & Films awards.

These days I live in historic home in Wilmington, North Carolina. If you stop by, you’ll probably see with me with a laptop on the porch swing,  working on a sequel to my debut novel, which is awaiting publication. The only moss that grows around here is the Spanish type that’s hanging from the crepe myrtles in our yard.

Author
Cover steroid nation  
Journalist
Home Court

Home Court

In this chronicle of the the struggles of African Americans to play tennis in the segregated south, a five-year-old meets a black doctor who changes history by building a clay court in his back yard. Think Green Book, through a tennis lens, with Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe as guest stars.

Cranky Yankee Blogger
Southern Journeys

Southern Journeys

I’m thrilled to be in the “Southern Journeys” issue of the Oxford American with this history of segregated tennis in the South. Come inside to read it.

read more
Interviews

The Massacre That Spawned The Alt.Right

The Massacre That Spawned The Alt.Right

Forty years ago, a gang of Klansmen and Nazis murdered five communists in broad daylight. America has never been the same.

Reporting with Peter Keating in Politico Magazine

Home Court

Home Court

In this chronicle of the the struggles of African Americans to play tennis in the segregated south, a five-year-old meets a doctor who changes history by building a clay court in his back yard. Think Green Book, through a tennis lens, with Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe as guest stars.

as found on:
ESPN
NPR
Outside the Lines

Invite Me to Your Reading

Planning to reopen the unsolved case of Sonny Liston's mysterious death, or reading one of my other books, with your book club or class? I always enjoy joining a book discussion, and can do so virtually. Just reach out with your details.

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