John T. Shaw was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, the second oldest of six children. He received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and his master's in History from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. He began his career working for the Governor of Illinois then participated in a training program with the European Union in Brussels before segueing to journalism with a position at the Wall Street Journal Europe. A congressional and diplomatic reporter in Washington, D.C. for more than twenty-five years, John has appeared on C-SPAN, the PBS Newshour, and KPCC, Southern California Public Radio and has been a media fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
In addition to Rising Star, Setting Sun, he is the author of four previous books. JFK in the Senate: Pathway to the Presidency (2013), the first book to focus on JFK's tenure as a senator, shows how Kennedy used the upper chamber as a policy and political training ground and launching pad to become only the second person in U.S. history to go directly from the Senate to the White House. Richard G. Lugar, Statesman of the Senate (2012) examines the legislative acumen of Richard Lugar of Indiana and shows how a senator can influence American foreign policy. The Ambassador: Inside the Life of a Working Diplomat (2006) describes the shrewd and strategic diplomacy of Jan Eliasson who served as Sweden's ambassador to the United States. Washington Diplomacy (2002) profiles more than five-dozen diplomats, legislators, and policy analysts.
John is now the Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. He and his wife Mindy live in Carbondale, Illinois.