Harvey Rachlin

Harvey Rachlin
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Newsday Photo/Ken Spencer

Harvey Rachlin is the award-winning author of thirteen books and hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. His first book, The Songwriter’s Handbook (Funk and Wagnalls), sold over 50,000 hardcover copies in thirteen printings, and was the best-selling book on the subject for many years. It is endorsed on the back cover by the Academy Award–winning songwriters Burt Bacharach, Sammy Cahn (who wrote the book’s foreword), Marvin Hamlisch, Henry Mancini, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne.

Rachlin’s second book, The Encyclopedia of the Music Business (Harper & Row), won the ASCAP–Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism, was named Outstanding Music Reference Book of the Year by the American Library Association, was recommended by Oscar-winning composer Henry Mancini (“Moon River”) on behalf of CBS Television and the Library of Congress on the internationally televised Grammy Awards show, and is included on the U.S. Copyright Office’s “Selected Bibliography for Musicians.” The book is praised on the back cover by Elton John, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone, and Morton Gould.

Another of Rachlin’s books, Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones and Einstein’s Brain (Henry Holt), was made into the long-running smash-hit History Channel series History’s Lost and Found, narrated by actor Edward Herrmann (of Gilmore Girls fame) and introduced on the network by the renowned television journalist Roger Mudd. Rachlin co-wrote the three pilot episodes, which broke ratings records for the History Channel and won the Cine Golden Eagle Award for Best History Series. The show, which ran in prime time for many years, is now broadcast in countries around the world.

Rachlin’s books have been translated into Korean, Spanish, German, and Polish and have been selections of the Book-of-the-Month Club, Quality Paperback Book Club, History Book Club, Encyclopedia Britannica Home Library, Writer’s Digest Book Club, and the Fireside Theatre Book Club. His books have been reviewed in such publications as the New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Seattle Times, Orlando Sentinel, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News, New York Post, Salt Lake City Tribune, Virginian-Pilot, Baton Rouge Advocate, Nashville Banner, Charlotte Observer, A&E Monthly, Money Magazine, Parade magazine, and Entertainment Weekly magazine.

Harvey Rachlin has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and several national television shows including The Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder (CBS), The Dinah Shore Show, The Joe Franklin Show, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, and he has been profiled in many major newspapers including the New York Times (twice), Boston Herald, and Newsday. Other luminaries who have endorsed his books include President Gerald R. Ford, Dave Powers (Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy), Aaron Copland, Barbara Eden, Estelle Getty, movie producer Samuel Z. Arkoff, best-selling true-crime author Nicholas Pileggi, and Sonny Grosso (the “French Connection” detective).

For his first police book, The Making of a Cop (Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster), Rachlin went through the NYPD Police Academy where he followed a small group of recruits through the rigorous training process; that book was optioned for a theatrical motion picture by Longbow Productions, producer of the girls’ baseball movie A League of Their Own. For his second police book, The Making of a Detective (W.W. Norton hardcover, Dell paperback), he followed one of the NYPD’s most skillful young investigators as he earned his gold shield in New York City’s most dangerous precinct, the “Seven-Five,” in East New York, Brooklyn; that book received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was featured on the national television show Good Morning America.

With his last three books, Harvey Rachlin has carved out a niche for himself as a writer of quirky history books. In Lucy’s Bones, Sacred Stones and Einstein’s Brain and Jumbo’s Hide, Elvis’s Ride, and the Tooth of Buddha, he uses historical artifacts to recount riveting and often little-known episodes of the past. He does much the same with paintings in his most recent book, Scandals, Vandals and da Vincis. In devising a way to come up with original true stories about masterpieces, he may have pioneered a new literary genre, the “art tale.”

Rachlin has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (London), and The Jerusalem Post, and is a regular contributor to The Writer and Songwriter magazines; for the latter he has profiled such tunesmiths as Irving Caesar (“Tea for Two” and “Swanee,” written with George Gershwin); Johnny Marks (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie and Annie), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell), Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Bend Me, Shape Me”), Sandy Linzer (“Dawn,” “A Lover’s Concerto,” Native New Yorker”), and Ron Miller (“For Once in My Life,” “Yester-You, Yester-Me, Yesterday,” “Touch Me in the Morning”). His books are cited in numerous law reviews and used in AP high school and college courses around the country, and he has lectured at many universities and town hall meetings including at the University of Michigan, University of California at Santa Barbara, San Diego State University, and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

Rachlin has written hundreds of pop tunes and instrumentals. He co-wrote the score to a locally produced musical comedy called The Fettuccini Affair, and one of his compositions, “Le Bontemp Roulé,” was performed and recorded by the Long Island Guitar and Mandolin Orchestra. He currently runs the Music Management program at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.

Rachlin's two fondest career remembrances? Being given a poignant tour by Senator Edward M. Kennedy of his Washington, D.C., Senate office with all its Kennedy family memorabilia; and befriending Broadway composer Richard Rodgers (Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, The Sound of Music), with whom he enjoyed a friendly correspondence and an unforgettable twenty-minute one-to-one private meeting at the legendary composer's Rodgers and Hammerstein office on Madison Avenue near the end of his life.

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Harvey Rachlin
author of
Scandals, Vandals, and Da Vincis
A Gallery of Remarkable Art Tales

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