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David Rieff (//; born September 28, 1952, Boston) is an American non-fiction writer and policy analyst. His books have focused on issues of immigration, international conflict, and humanitarianism. He has published numerous articles in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, El Pais, The New Republic, World Affairs, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Affairs, The Nation, and other publications.
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Rieff is the only child of Susan Sontag, who was 19 years old when David was born. His father, whom Sontag divorced, was Philip Rieff, author of Freud: The Mind of the Moralist. Rieff was educated at the Lycée Français de New York and attended Amherst College as a member of the class of 1974, where he studied with Benjamin DeMott. He eventually dropped out and went through a vagabond period, during which he labored for the radical Catholic priest Ivan Illich in Mexico and worked as a cab driver.
He finally ended up at Princeton University, where he graduated with an A.B. in 1978, and was a Senior Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux from 1978 to 1989, working with such authors as Joseph Brodsky, Elias Canetti, Carlos Fuentes, Alberto Moravia, Les Murray, Philip Roth, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Marguerite Yourcenar.
He is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research, a Fellow at the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch, of the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute and of Independent Diplomat.
- Texas Boots (with Sharon Delano) (Studio/Penguin, 1981)
- Going to Miami: Tourists, Exiles and Refugees in the New America (Little, Brown, 1987)
- Los Angeles: Capital of the Third World (Simon & Schuster, 1991)
- The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami (Simon & Schuster, 1993)
- Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (Simon & Schuster, 1995)
- Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (co-editor, with Roy Gutman) (W. W. Norton, 1999)
- A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis (Simon & Schuster, 2003)
- At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention (Simon & Schuster, 2005)
- Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
- Reborn: Journals & Notebooks, 1947-1963 (editor) (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009)
- Against Remembrance (Melbourne University Press. 2011)
- The Reproach of Hunger (Simon & Schuster, 2015)
- In Praise of Forgetting: Historical Memory and Its Ironies (Yale University Press, 2016)
Critical studies and reviews
- Rose, Peter (September 2011). "In the ring with Susan Sontag" (PDF). Australian Book Review 334: 20–21.
- Without Exception: The Same Old Song, World Affairs
- Interview with Rieff (online only) PBS Frontline (March 25, 2003)
- Curtis Bowman commentary on Rieff opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal (April 7, 2005)
- Foreign Affairs review of At the Point of a Gun (March/April 2005)
- Archive of writings by David Rieff for The Nation.
- Rieff, David, "Muscular Utopianism: I used to be a liberal interventionist. Now I'm a realist" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 3, 2010), The Wall Street Journal, Sunday, April 3, 2005.