Tom Wicker was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on June 18, 1926. He served in the Navy during World War II. He received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1948. Over the next decade, he was an editor and reporter at several newspapers in North Carolina. He started working for The New York Times in 1960 and became the paper's Washington bureau chief and a political columnist for 25 years. He was riding in the presidential motorcade when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. He wrote 20 books, 10 fiction works and 10 non-fiction works. His fiction works include Facing the Lions, Unto This Hour, Donovan's Wife, and Easter Lilly. His non-fiction works include A Time to Die, Kennedy without Tears: The Man Beneath the Myth, JFK and LBJ: The Influence of Personality Upon Politics, One of Us: Richard Nixon and the American Dream, Tragic Failure: Racial Integration in America, On the Record: An Insider's Guide to Journalism, and Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy. He died of a heart attack on November 25, 2011 at the age of 85.