“The Volunteer Who Published on Contemporary Life in America” — Laurence Leamer (Nepal)


Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)

(The materials for this Profile were drawn heavily from Wikipedia) 

Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1965–67)

In 1964, after graduating with a B. A. in History from Antioch College, Laurence spent a year in France at the University de Besancon and worked in a factory. He then joined the Peace Corps and was stationed in the mountains of Nepal. After returning home, he studied at the University of Oregon and Columbia University’s School of Journalism. When he graduated from Columbia second in his class in 1969, he was named a Pulitzer International Fellow.

 Laurence then worked as an associated editor at Newsweek before turning to writing magazine articles for a range of other publications, including Harper’s The New York Times Magazine, and Playboy. During this period, he also worked in a West Virginia coal mine while researching an article.

During the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, he was the only journalist to live in a Bengali hotel in Dacca and travel to remote areas of the newborn state of Bangladesh. His article in Harper’s won a citation from the Overseas Press Club for “Best Magazine Reporting.”

Laurence’s writings on the Kennedy family have achieved considerable popularity, for instance, The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family  was the main selection of the Book of the Month Club and reached number two on the New York Times Best Seller list. That ant the other Kennedy biography – The Kennedy Men 1901–1963 were both New York Times bestsellers.

He has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, the New York Times, CNN and NPR to lend his expertise to matters concerning the Kennedys, Ronald Reagan, and American politics. In the period following the death of John F. Kennedy, Jr., Laurence served as a consultant for MSNBC’s coverage of the plane crash and subsequent funeral. He has also written a biography of Johnny Carson titled King of the Night, which spent over six weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list.

In writing his novel Assignment, Laurence lived in Peru for two years to research the cocaine trade. He again immersed himself in his topic when he moved to Nashville to research the business and lifestyle of country music and its many stars for Three Chords and the Truth. Each of these books were lauded for the depth of their research. His work on the life of famed mountaineer Willi Unsoeld was purchased by Robert Redford’s production company to be turned into a film that remains in the development stage.

Laurence’s 2013 book The Price of Justice is the story of two Pittsburgh lawyers and their decade and a half struggle against the most powerful coal baron in American history. It involves allegations concerning the death of 41 miners, the poisoning of the water of hundreds of people, and of judicial corruption in the West Virginia Supreme Country and a landmark decision in the U. S. Supreme Court. The book won the
Peace Corps Writers award for the best nonfiction book of 2013.

His 2019 book Mar-a-Largo: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace was controversial and got Laurence thrown out of Mar-a-Largo for life.

His latest book, Capote’s Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era, was a national bestseller.

Laurence’s highly recognized publication of 18 books has served to document contemporary life in America, earning him a richly-deserved Profile in Citizenship.

Search on our site for 23 book reviews or other articles about Laurence!


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