A Complicated Man: Writer J.F. Pirro Describes Activist John Prendergast

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Main Line Today Editor Hobart RowlandMonths ago, when I greenlighted senior writer J.F. Pirro’s feature on high-profile human-rights activist and author John Prendergast, I assumed the piece would fit neatly into the feel-good mold I’d come to expect from the philanthropist profiles we’d done in past December issues. But it didn’t take long for things to get a little messy.

“I’m more than just a bit old-fashioned when it comes to print journalism, but one standard I’ve lived by is the notion that everyone has a story to tell—and Prendergast’s is among the best I've had the good fortune to tell in my 30 years at this craft,” says Pirro. “There are two sides to every good story, and he completely understood that.”

Raised in Berwyn, Prendergast—who prefers to go by JP—graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School, also Pirro’s alma mater. “I grew up in awe of JP, two years behind him,” says Pirro. “One of my best friends was his younger brother, Luke. We all had the same teachers, the same influences, the same roots.”
Senior Writer J.F. Pirro
As he got deeper into his research and interviews for “Soldier of Fortune,” Pirro found that there was much he didn’t know about his friend. “After months of trying to pin down one of the busiest men in America for a face-to-face interview, the best I could do was a midweek drive out to Millersville University to catch his session at a conference,” says Pirro. “Then I interviewed him on the drive back on the turnpike to 30th Street Station.”

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