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Early life and family
Born in London in 1947, Cockburn grew up in County Cork, Ireland. His father was socialist author and journalist Claud Cockburn. His mother, Patricia Evangeline Anne (née Arbuthnot), was the granddaughter of British colonial administrator Henry Arthur Blake and British politician George Arbuthnot; she had written an autobiography, Figure of Eight. Cockburn was educated at Glenalmond College, Perthshire, and Worcester College, Oxford.
Cockburn has two brothers, Alexander Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, who are also journalists, and two half-sisters. One sister, Sarah, was best known as the mystery writer Sarah Caudwell. The other sister, Claudia, worked on disability and married Michael Flanders, half of the well-known performance double-act: Flanders and Swann; the two children of this marriage are the journalists Laura Flanders and Stephanie Flanders, his half-nieces.
He married Leslie Corkhill Redlich in San Francisco in 1977 and together they have three children, Chloe Frances Cockburn (April 3, 1979), The O.C. and House M.D. actress Olivia Wilde (née Olivia Jane Cockburn) and Charles Philip Cockburn (January 31, 1993). The Cockburns are distantly "related by cousinly marriages" to Sir George Cockburn, 10th Baronet, who ordered the Burning of Washington in 1814.
Cockburn has written numerous books and articles, principally about national security. He has also produced numerous documentary films, principally in partnership with Leslie Cockburn as well as co-producing the 1997 thriller The Peacemaker, starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, for Dreamworks. After an early career in British newspapers and television, he moved to the United States in 1979. His film The Red Army, produced for PBS in 1981, was the first in depth report on the serious deficiencies of Soviet military power and won a Peabody Award. In 1982, he published the book "The Threat – Inside the Soviet Military Machine" (Random House), which examined the same topic in greater depth. He subsequently published many articles on the subject of U.S. and Soviet military power as well as lecturing at numerous military bases, foreign policy forums, and colleges and innumerable television shows. The collapse of the Soviet Union, and subsequent revelation that his analysis of the Soviet military had been correct rendered his subject otiose. He then began covering middle eastern subjects, including the 1991 documentary on the after-effects of the first Gulf war, The War We Left Behind, which he co-produced for PBS with Leslie Cockburn. In 2009 he and Leslie Cockburn produced American Casino, a feature length documentary on the Wall Street crash. New Yorker critic David Denby called it “A terrific documentary… Everything is connected: the movie embodies chaos theory for social pessimists.” Apart from his books he has written for National Geographic, Los Angeles Times, The London Review of Books, Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, Harper's Magazine, CounterPunch, Condé Nast Traveler, New York Times, and the Dungarvan Observer. He is currently Washington Editor of Harper's Magazine.
Cockburn's most recent book is Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy (subtitled An American Disaster in the UK edition). In the New York Times, reviewer Jacob Heilbrunn called it "perceptive and engrossing." He is also known for writing "21st Century Slaves" for National Geographic. It was a groundbreaking article that shed light on the practice of modern-day slavery.
- Cockburn, Andrew (2007). Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy Scribner ISBN 1-4165-3574-8
- Cockburn, Andrew (with Patrick Cockburn) (2002). Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession Verso ISBN 1-85984-422-7
- Cockburn, Andrew (with Patrick Cockburn) (1999). Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein HarperCollins Publishers Hc ISBN 0-06-019266-6
- Cockburn, Andrew (with Leslie Cockburn) (1997). "One Point Safe" Doubleday ISBN 0-385-48560-3
- Cockburn, Andrew (with Leslie Cockburn) (1991). Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship HarperCollins Publishers ISBN 0-06-016444-1
- Cockburn, Andrew (1983). "The Threat: Inside the Soviet Military Machine" Random House ISBN 0-394-52402-0
- Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, page 120.
- Sarah Booth Conroy (August 25, 1991). "New Memories of an Old Flame". Washington Post.
-  Producer of "The American Casino" film
- Duel: The Strangest Story of the Afghan War (2012)
- Nicaragua's New Day (2011)
- In the Land of the Dragon's Blood Tree (2010)
- The Return of Judas (2006)
- The Kurds: Iraq's Resilient Minority (2005)
- Twenty-First Century Slaves (2004)
- The Shia of Iraq (2003)
- Diamonds: The Real Story (2002)
- "Frontline Club: Rumsfeld – the Man Behind the US Military Disaster" (May 11, 2007)
- "Saddam's Last Act" (December 17, 2003)
- "Tired, Terrified, Trigger-Happy" (December 2, 2003)
- "Now the Blood Feud Begins" (July 26, 2003)
- "Should We Attack Iraq Because We Can?" (November 4, 2002)
- "Bono Betrays Ireland" (August 11, 2002)
- Booknotes interview with Andrew and Leslie Cockburn on Dangerous Liaisons, September 1, 1991.
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Cockburn, February 27, 2007
- C-SPAN Q&A interview with Andrew and Leslie Cockburn about American Casino, January 3, 2010