About Shaun

Shaun Assael is an award-winning author, magazine writer, and producer. 

He’s also the author of four books: Wide Open, a chronicle of his life on the Nascar circuit; Sex Lies & Headlocks, the New York Times best-selling biography of Vince McMahon; Steroid Nation, which chronicles his decade-long reporting into America’s performance-enhancing drug underground; and The Murder of Sonny Liston, which re-examined the Las Vegas death of the heavyweight champion of the world.

In film, he co-executive produced Pariah, a feature documentary based on his Liston book, for Showtime. His most recent project is a three-part podcast about the life of Wilt Chamberlain, which he wrote and narrates. It will air on Amazon’s Wondery + platform beginning in Feb. 2024.

His latest book (scheduled for late 2024) is a true crime partnership with Dick Harpootlian, the South Carolina state senator and attorney for Alex Murdaugh. He continues to write for national magazines and consult on celebrity biographies.

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WINNER: Best Magazine Writing

WINNER: Best Magazine Writing

My debut in Smithsonian Magazine is this strange but true thriller about the swashbuckling 18th-century naturalist Andre Michaux. A pioneer of the New World, Michaux made hundreds of discoveries on his travels through the Appalachian Mountains that formed in his...

Cranky Yankee Blogger
The Dept. of (my) History. Part I

The Dept. of (my) History. Part I

In September 1999, ESPN Magazine sent me to Littleton, Colorado, to chronicle the aftermath of what was then the worst high school shooting in American history. For a glimpse at how little has changed in the last 25 years, here’s a look back at what I wrote about Columbine High School soon after the massacre.

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The Botanist Is A Plant Podcast

Looking for a good 18th Century spy story? The wonderful folks at BYU’s Constant Wonder podcast (@cw_byu) gave me a half-hour to weave together the story of the legendary French naturalist Andre Michaux, who would have beaten Lewis & Clark to the Pacific if not for some amazing political intrigue involving Thomas Jefferson and a who’s who of quarrelsome Founding Fathers.

The podcast is adapted from my story in the new issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

Listen to “The botanist is a plant” here.

News & Updates
Dept. of (my) History: The Last Lecture

I don’t usually write in memoir, but my dad’s retirement, at the age of 88, made me think about how the generations look differently at the concept, and whether it’s okay to retire 30 years before your father. Here, then, is a conversation full of questions and received wisdom …

The Dept. of (my) History

Back in the day, Penthouse sent me to Las Vegas to interview Bodacious, the meanest rodeo bull who ever lived. I found him biding his time in a Home Depot parking lot. What could go wrong?

The Fast-Talking Billionaire

It’s not surprising that Greg Lindberg has his eyes on longevity. Accused of pilfering $2 billion from policyholders at his insurance companies, the 53-year-old faces being in jail until he’s 90. But that hasn’t dimmed his enthusiasm for his latest venture: Living forever through fasting.

Coronation Day: Macy’s Meets Oasis

May 6 — I’m in London this rainy morning. And watching the coronation is a little like watching the Macy’s Day Parade, if it was hosted by the Church of England. No one is lip syncing Frozen. But it still feels over the top. William & Harry are the Liam and Noel Galligher of Buckingham Palace — with William as Noel doing both parts…