Michael Dobbs (American author)

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For the British conservative politician and author of House of Cards, see Michael Dobbs.

Michael Dobbs (born 1950) is a British-American non-fiction author and journalist.

Early life and education[edit]

Dobbs was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and graduated from the University of York in 1972, with a BA in Economic & Social History,[1] and completed fellowships at Princeton and Harvard.[2] He became a U.S. citizen in 2010.


Dobbs spent much of his career as a foreign correspondent covering the collapse of communism. He was the first Western reporter to visit the Gdansk shipyard in August 1980; he also covered the Tiananmen Square uprising in China in 1989, the abortive coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991, and the wars in the former Yugoslavia.[citation needed] He joined The Washington Post in 1980, when he was appointed bureau chief in eastern Europe (1980-1981), based in Warsaw. He was also bureau chief in Paris (1982-1986) and Moscow (1988-1993). Other assignments included stints in Rome for Reuters news agency (1974-1975), in Africa as a freelancer (1976), and as a special correspondent in Belgrade (1977-1980), when he covered the death of Marshal Josip Broz Tito.[citation needed]

In Washington, he worked for the Post as a United States Department of State reporter and as a foreign investigative reporter, covering the Dayton peace process.[3][4] During the U.S. presidential campaign in 2008, he returned to the newspaper to launch its online "Fact Checker" column.

Dobbs is the author of the "Cold War trilogy", a series of books about the climactic moments of the Cold War. His Down with Big Brother: The Fall of The Soviet Empire was a runner-up for the 1997 PEN award for nonfiction. His hour-by-hour study of the Cuban missile crisis, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times history prize and was named one of five non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post. The final book in the trilogy, Six Months in 1945: From World War to Cold War (Knopf, 2012), describes the division of Europe into American and Soviet spheres of influence after World War II.

His other books include a biography of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Saboteurs: The Nazi Raid on America, about a bungled Nazi sabotage attempt directed against the United States in 1942.

Michael Dobbs was a visiting professor in the Department of Communications Studies at the University of Michigan from 2010-2011; he has also taught at Princeton University. He is a research fellow at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and he covered the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladić for Foreign Policy magazine.

Personal life[edit]

He lives in Bethesda, Maryland[citation needed] and is a distant relative of Michael Dobbs, the British politician and author of the political thriller House of Cards.[5]


  1. ^ "Grapevine, Autumn 2006" (PDF). University of York. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ "Michael Dobbs - Authors - Random House". www.randomhouse.com. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Poland On the Front Page 1979-89 - The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-14. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  4. ^ "Michael Dobbs: Guide to Specialists: U.S. Institute of Peace". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  5. ^ Dobbs, Michael (2008-06-03). "The real Michael Dobbs". The Fact Checker. The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-10-13. 

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