Jon Lee Anderson

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Jon Lee Anderson
John Lee Anderson 2010.JPG
Anderson in 2010
Born (1957-01-15) January 15, 1957 (age 59)
Occupation Biographer, author, international investigative journalist

Jon Lee Anderson (born January 15, 1957) is an American biographer, author, investigative reporter, war correspondent and staff writer for The New Yorker, reporting from war zones 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 has profiled political leaders such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, and Augusto Pinochet.[1]

Personal life and early career[edit]

The son of 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 a biography of the Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara called Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, first published in 1997. While conducting research for 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.[3]


Literary reception[edit]

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life has received widespread acclaim[4][5][6] as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year[citation needed] and many reprints. In her 1997 critique of the book, 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."[7] 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."[4]

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".[8]


  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. ^ Anderson, Jon Lee (May 3, 2011). "Burial Lesson: From Che to Bin Laden". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Canby, Peter (May 18, 1997). "Poster Boy for the Revolution". New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  5. ^ "CHE GUEVARA: A Revolutionary Life". Kirkus Reviews. 
  6. ^ "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life". Goodreads. 
  7. ^ Franklin, Jane (May 19, 1997). "Che Guevara: Guerrillero Heroico". The Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2011. 
  8. ^ 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. 

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