He prepared at South Kent School, where he was active in publications and debating. At Princeton he became executive editor of The Daily Princetonian and a member of Whig-Clio, majored in history and in the Special Program in the Humanities, and joined Terrace Club.
After service in the Army he studied international relations at Harvard in 1958, supported the election of Silvio Conte of Massachusetts to Congress, and served briefly as his legislative assistant.
He became political editor of Congressional Quarterly in 1959; argued for direct popular election of the president in his first book, The People’s President; co-founded National Journal in 1969; and produced 10 books on the cultural, economic, and political distinctions of every state in the country.
His syndicated column by The Washington Post promoted regional approaches to the management of metropolitan areas and overcoming parochial NIMBYism — on which he elaborated persuasively in a seminar at the Class’s 65th reunion — and originated a worldwide news service called Citiscope to identify new experiments in cities large and small all over the world. The Peirce family is establishing an urban journalism travel-grant program in Neal’s name. Information is available from email@example.com.
Neal is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara; their children, Celia, Andrea, and Trevor; four grandchildren; brother Everett; and sister Jan Woman. The class thanks him for his service.