Jon Lee Anderson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jon Lee Anderson
John Lee Anderson 2010.JPG
Anderson in 2010
Born (1957-01-15) January 15, 1957 (age 57)
Occupation Biographer, author, international investigative journalist

Jon Lee Anderson (born January 15, 1957) is an American biographer, author, international investigative reporter, war correspondent and staff writer for The New Yorker, reporting from warzone locales such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda, Israel, El Salvador, Ireland, Lebanon, Iran, and throughout the Middle East. Anderson has also written for The New York Times, Harper's, Life, and The Nation. Anderson is renowned for his numerous profiles of political leaders, including Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Augusto Pinochet.[1]

Personal life and early career[edit]

The son of Dr. Joy Anderson, a children's book author and University of Florida teacher, and of John Anderson, a diplomat and agricultural adviser for USAID and the Peace Corps, Anderson was raised and educated in South Korea, Colombia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Liberia, England, and the United States. His brother is Scott Anderson, a novelist and journalist, and they have co-authored two books.[2] He currently resides in Dorset, England with his wife, Erica, and three children: Bella, Rosie and Máximo.[citation needed]

Anderson began working as a reporter in 1979 for the Lima Times in Peru. During the 1980s he covered Central America, first for the syndicated columnist Jack Anderson and later for Time magazine.[citation needed]

Anderson is also the author of the best-selling[citation needed] biography of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Entitled Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, it was first published in 1997. While researching the book in Bolivia, he discovered the hidden location of Guevara's burial from where his skeletal remains were exhumed in 1997 and returned to Cuba.[citation needed]



  • Anderson, Scott; Anderson, Jon Lee (1986). Inside the League: The Shocking Expose of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Infiltrated the World Anti-Communist League. New York: Dodd, Mead. p. 322. ISBN 0-396-08517-2. 
  • Anderson, Jon Lee; Anderson, Scott (1988). War Zones (hardcover). New York: Dodd, Mead. p. 309. ISBN 0-396-08915-1. 
  • Anderson, Jon Lee (1992). Guerrillas: Journeys in the Insurgent World (hardcover). New York: Times Books. p. 280. ISBN 0-14-200497-9. 
  • Anderson, Jon Lee (1997). Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life (hardcover). New York: Grove Press. p. 814. ISBN 0-8021-1600-0. 
  • Anderson, Jon Lee (2002). The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan. New York: Grove Press. p. 244. ISBN 0-8021-1723-6. 
  • Anderson, Jon Lee (2004). The Fall of Baghdad. New York: Penguin Press. p. 389. ISBN 1-59420-034-3. 

Essays and Reporting[edit]

Since 1988, Anderson has authored in excess of 100 essays, including the following:

  • "Havana Journal: The Plague Years". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 62. January 26, 1998. 
  • "The Power of Gabriel García Márquez". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 56. September 27, 1999. 
  • "Letter from Baghdad: The Unvanquished". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 76. December 11, 2000. 
  • "Letter from Afghanistan: The Warlord". The New Yorker (Conde Nast). October 22, 2001. 
  • "Letter from Kabul: The Assassins". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 72–81. June 10, 2002. 
  • "Letter from Baghdad: The Collapse". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 70. April 21, 2003. 
  • "Letter from Baghdad: Out on the street". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 72. November 15, 2004. 
  • "Letter from New Orleans: Leaving Desire". The New Yorker (Conde Nast). September 19, 2005. 
  • "Letter from Cuba: Castro’s Last Battle". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 44. July 31, 2006. 
  • "Being Jalal Talabani, President of Iraq". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). February 9, 2007. 
  • "Letter from Afghanistan: The Taliban's Opium War". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 50. July 9, 2007. 
  • "Fidel's Slow Fade". LA Times (Tribune Company). February 20, 2008. 
  • "Letter from Zimbabwe: The Destroyer". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 10–27. October 27, 2008. 
  • "It's like the Middle Ages… there's no purpose other than living another day". The Observer (Guardian News and Media Limited). November 29, 2009. 
  • "Letter from Mogadishu: The Most Failed State". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 64. December 14, 2009. 
  • "Letter from Tehran: After the Crackdown". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 62. August 16, 2010. 
  • Anderson, John Lee (April 4, 2011). "The Talk of the Town: Comment: Who Are the Rebels?". The New Yorker 87 (7): 21–22. 
  • "Letter from Khost Province: Force and Futility". The New Yorker (Conde Nast): 96. May 16, 2011. 
  • "Pashean Play" - Guernica: A Magazine of Art and Politics (September 1, 2011)
  • Anderson, John Lee (November 7, 2011). "Letter from Libya: King of Kings". The New Yorker 87 (35): 44–57. 


  • "Questions for: Jon Lee Anderson". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). May 4, 1997. 
  • Smith, Martin (December 7, 2003). "Beyond Baghdad: Interview with Jon Lee Anderson". Frontline (PBS). 
  • "Jon Lee Anderson: The Fall of Baghdad". Meet the Author (video). Meet the Author Ltd. ca. 2004.  Check date values in: |date= (help);
  • Birnbaum, Robert (October 18, 2004). "Robert Birnbaum v. Jon Lee Anderson". The Morning News (The Morning News LLC). 
  • "A talk with Jon Lee Anderson" (mp3). Melbourne: La Trobe University. May 26, 2008. 
  • ""No veo a Colombia distinta a Afganistán": Jon Lee Anderson" [I do not see Colombia different from Afghanistan: Jon Lee Anderson]. Cambio (in Spanish) (Colombia: Gabriel García Márquez). November 2, 2008. 
  • Aksan, Cihan; Bailes, Jon (May 2010). "On Che Guevara: An Interview with Jon Lee Anderson". State of Nature (State of Nature). 
  • "TehelkaTV interview on Che's Legacy and covering insurrections". February 2011. 

Literary reception[edit]

Despite its widespread acclaim[3][4][5] as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and many reprints, in her 1997 critique of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, U.S. author Jane Franklin claims "...Anderson never quite communicates an understanding of why Guevara remains such a powerful presence. Relying too much on secondary sources for his knowledge of Cuban history, he fails to grasp the nature of the revolution for which Guevara, Fidel Castro and so many others were willing to die."[6] Conversely, author Peter Canby states, "...Anderson does a masterly job in evoking Che's complex character, in separating the man from the myth and in describing the critical role Che played in one of the darkest periods of the cold war. Ultimately, however, the strength of his book is in its wealth of detail."[3]

In the Washington Monthly, Matthew Harwood's review of The Fall of Baghdad was full of praise, "...his crisp and lush prose reads more like a work of literature than like reportage. But for all its literary beauty, the book's real power lies in its narrative strategy."[7]


  1. ^ "Jon Lee Anderson and Andrew Bacevich in Conversation". Sydney Writers' Festival 2008 - Online Program. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Author Interview: Scott Anderson". NPR. 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Canby, Peter (May 18, 1997). "Poster Boy for the Revolution". New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  4. ^ "CHE GUEVARA: A Revolutionary Life". Kirkus Reviews. 
  5. ^ "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life". Goodreads. 
  6. ^ Franklin, Jane (May 19, 1997). "Che Guevara: Guerrillero Heroico". The Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ Harwood, Matthew (December 2004). "Ground up: John Lee Anderson avoided hanging out with U.S. troops - and wrote the best book on the Iraq war". Washington Monthly (Washington Monthly Company). Retrieved June 4, 2011. 

External links[edit]