Jon Lee Anderson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jon Lee Anderson
John Lee Anderson 2010.JPG
Anderson in 2010
Born (1957-01-15) January 15, 1957 (age 66)
  • 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, Palestine, El Salvador, Ireland, Lebanon, Iran, and throughout the Middle East as well as during Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts with K38 Water Safety as documented in the New Yorker article Leaving Desire. Anderson has also written for The New York Times, Harper's, Life, and The Nation. Anderson has profiled political leaders such as Hugo Chávez, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Augusto Pinochet.[1]


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,[2] and later for Time, Life, The Nation, and Harper's.[3]

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.[4]


Literary reception[edit]

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life has received widespread acclaim[5][6][7] as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year[8] 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."[9] 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."[5]

In Washington Monthly, Matthew Harwood praised The Fall of Baghdad, writing, "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".[10]

According to left-wing NACLA magazine, Anderson's coverage of Hugo Chávez and Venezuela is rife with errors and distortions.[11]

Personal life[edit]

The son of Joy Anderson, a children's book author and University of Florida professor, 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.[12]

He currently resides in Dorset, England, with his wife, Erica, and three children: Bella, Rosie and Máximo.[13]


  1. ^ "Jon Lee Anderson and Andrew Bacevich in Conversation". Sydney Writers' Festival 2008 - Online Program. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2008. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
  2. ^ Kornheiser, Tony (1983-08-07). "JACK ANDERSON &". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  3. ^ Birnbaum, Robert (October 18, 2004). "Jon Lee Anderson". The Morning News. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  4. ^ Anderson, Jon Lee (May 3, 2011). "Burial Lesson: From Che to Bin Laden". The New Yorker. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Canby, Peter (May 18, 1997). "Poster Boy for the Revolution". New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  6. ^ "CHE GUEVARA: A Revolutionary Life". Kirkus Reviews.
  7. ^ "Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life". Goodreads.
  8. ^ "Notable books of the year 1997". New York Times. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  9. ^ Franklin, Jane (May 19, 1997). "Che Guevara: Guerrillero Heroico". The Nation. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  10. ^ 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. Archived from the original on January 19, 2012. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  11. ^ "On Venezuela, The New Yorker's Jon Lee Anderson Fails at Arithmetic". NACLA. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  12. ^ "Author Interview: Scott Anderson". NPR. 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  13. ^ "The Conversation: Jon Lee Anderson, foreign correspondent". The Independent. 2013-05-11. Archived from the original on 2022-06-14. Retrieved 2017-06-21.

External links[edit]