After a career of more than 40 years in television journalism, including 8 as a correspondent for NBC News, which Emmy award winner Eric Burns describes as "the best job I ever had," he left the newsroom and found shelter for the archives---a retreat from the present to the past. 1957 is his fifteenth book.
Two of them, The Spirits of America (a social history of alcoholic beverages), and The Smoke of the Gods (a social history of tobacco), won the American Library Association's "Best of the Best" award for their years of publication, 2004 and 2007, respectively.
He is the only non-academic author to have been so honored twice. A later volume, 1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar was chosen as one of the best non-fiction books of 2015. Burns is presently at work on a book about the nineteenth century battle between science and the occult, called When the Dead Spoke . . . and the Smartest Minds in the World Listened.