I was born in 1970 in New York City, graduated from Harvard in 1993 and got an
MBA from Columbia in 2000. I didn't have a television at home when I was little.
Instead I read constantly, while my parents took me to extraordinary places
around the world. With a teacher and some friends, I started a newspaper in
7th grade in New York. At high school, I ran the school paper and we won national
awards despite the rather graphic gossip column called Low Notes, which was
the publication's main appeal to my fellow students. At university I was an
Editor of the Harvard Crimson, a daily newspaper.
My first writing after college was a book called Around the Sacred Sea, about
an expedition that some friends and I organized to study Lake Baikal, in Siberia.
My colleagues included Taran Davies, the filmmaker, and John Boit, the journalist.
It was the youngest expedition ever to be granted the honor of carrying the flag
of the Explorers Club. Our other sponsors were the Natural Resources Defense
Council and the Russian Academy of Sciences. (At the time I was the youngest
member of the Explorers Club. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.)
The only way to follow the lake's biggest tributary from its source in the Mongolian
steppe, and to get all the way around the lake, was by horseback. We spent four
months in the saddle, collecting water samples and canvassing the various environmental
players - scientists, national park people, directors of industrial concerns,
grass roots activists and others - along the way.
Most of my work now is in the Middle East, where my specialty is Iraqi politics
and constitutional issues. I believe strongly that Iraq should be covered by
spending as much time as possible living and travelling with Iraqis.
I have written about the Middle East, especially Iraq, for The New York Times,
the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Observer, the Financial Times,
the FT Magazine, the Telegraph Magazine, Prospect, Foreign Policy, Radar, and
Travel + Leisure, and have been syndicated in the International Herald Tribune,
Corriere della Serra, and the Los Angeles Times. As well as print journalism,
I occasionally do broadcast work, mostly for the BBC and Fox News. I am the International
Editor of Prospect, a London-based political and cultural monthly magazine
My next book, Paradise Lost: In Search of Civilisation in the Fertile Crescent,
will be published in 2007 by Grove/Atlantic in New York and London..
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