John Watson Milton


Also by John Watson Milton: The Fallen Nightingale, winner of two awards for historical fiction and translated into the Spanish and Catalan languages; Time to Choose, a novel of politics in the wake of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade; Crossing the Barriers (Afterword for Senator Allan Spear's memoir), finalist in Minnesota Book Awards 2011

The author in Barcelona (Spain) with the Catalan translation of his historical novel The Fallen Nightingale

For the Good of the Order: Nick Coleman and the High Tide of Liberal Politics in Minnesota, 1971-1981

Foreword by Vice President Walter F. Mondale


About the author . . .

John Watson Milton was born in St. Paul. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; he also studied at the Harvard School of Business. At Princeton, as editorial chairman of The Daily Princetonian, he reported and edited with a distinguished group of writers: R.W. Apple, Jr., Robert A. Caro, Richard Kluger, and William Greider.

Milton was elected to the Ramsey County Board and the Minnesota Senate, where he became a recognized leader in health care policy. He served as chairman of the health and economic development subcommittees, and was a member of the committee on the economic status of women. His leadership led to service on several boards of state and national health and medical organizations. From 1970 to 1992, he worked on political campaigns at the national, state, and local level.

Milton has written commentary and editorials for daily and weekly papers, feature articles, history, and investigative reports for magazines, speeches for political campaigns, short stories, poetry, and recipes for several cookbooks. His biographical novel, The Fallen Nightingale, won two national awards for historical fiction, and has been re-published in Spanish and Catalan translations. The author lives with his Panamanian-born wife, Maureen Angélica Acosta, on a small farm in Afton, Minnesota, where he writes and grows wine-grapes.

Praising Milton's For the Good of the Order
“For anyone who wants to know about the personalities and policies that defined modern Minnesota politics, this is the book to read.”
-- David A. Schultz, professor of political science, Hamline University, St. Paul MN
[This excerpt, from a review by Professor Schultz, is reprinted from Ramsey County History, vol. 48, no. 2 -- Summer 2013]

How the fourth-grader became an author . . .
"I started writing when my fourth grade teacher, Miss Loomis, gave me an A+ for a short story I’d written; she told me ‘you are a writer,’ and, since Miss Loomis was never wrong about anything, that got imprinted somewhere deep inside me. I later received a piece of valuable advice from Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway, who once told me: ‘If you’re a writer, you write. No matter what happened last night, no matter how much you drank, no matter whose bed you climbed out of in the morning, you write. If you don’t, you’re not a writer.’

"While raising five children, I had a lot of jobs that kept food on the table, and when the last of the kids went off to college, I went back to my passion, full-time. In addition to completing several book projects in the last eight years, I saw these works published: "Saving the Whales," Arden Magazine of Short Stories, 1995; "Hemingway’s Haunts, A Return to Havana," and a series of articles on "Early Marrieds of the Silent Generation," Princeton Alumni Weekly magazine (1997 and 2006); "Granados and Goya: Artists on the Fringe of Aristocracy," Encuentros, University of California – Riverside, 2005; "After the bridge collapsed . . . A citizens deliberation on transportation," Metropolitan State University, Strengthening Citizenship Through Deliberative Polling (2008); Time to Choose (a novel of politics in Minnesota; Philadelphia: Xlibris Publishing, 2008); two articles about Irish-American politicians for Ramsey County History (Spring 2009 and Spring 2011); and the Afterword to Senator Allan H. Spear’s memoir, Crossing the Barriers (University of Minnesota Press, 2010; and a finalist for Minnesota Book Awards—2011). I plead guilty to trying to make up for lost time.

"In addition to my decade as an elected official, I’ve been continuously engaged in community service through board membership in these organizations: Community Health & Welfare Planning Council of Ramsey County; KTCA-Channel 2, public television; Ramsey County Arts & Science Council; St. Paul Urban Coalition (president); National Alliance for the Mentally Ill–MN; Penumbra Theatre; National Advisory Council, V.A. Medical Programs; National Advisory Board, Association of American Medical Colleges; Advisory Board, Bi-National Health Programs, University of California–San Diego; White House Conference on Aging; Global Volunteers; the Editorial Board of Ramsey County Historical Society; and the Minnesota Legislative Society."

Selected Works

History
Definitive biography of Minnesota’s Senate Majority Leader Nick Coleman, key sponsor of the "Minnesota Miracle."
Autobiography, political memoir
When Senator Allan Spear – the first LGBT senator in the nation to come out – died in late 2008, his publisher recruited John Milton, one of Spear’s colleagues in the Minnesota Senate, to summarize the last years of his life in an afterword. The book was a finalist in its category for the Minnesota Book Awards in 2011.

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