Richard Lourie

Richard Lourie headshot
Richard Lourie has defined himself as “an American writer whose main subject is Russia.” Besides Sakharov: A Biography, his books include the international best-seller The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin (a novel), Russia Speaks: An Oral History from the Revolution to the Present, and Hunting the Devil, a true-crime account of Russia’s worst serial killer, for the writing of which Lourie spent two years working with the Russian police. He has translated more than thirty books from Russian and Polish, including Andrei Sakharov’s Memoirs, Vladimir Voinovich’s Chonkin, and Czeslaw Milosz’s Visions from San Francisco Bay. Lourie’s articles and reviews have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New Republic, and The Nation.

During the Cold War Lourie was very active in the anti-Soviet underground, smuggling manuscripts and other materials into and out of the USSR and Eastern Europe. He was with Lech Wałęsa in the Lenin Shipyards in Gdansk in 1981 and distributed the movie that Solidarity made called
Workers ‘80, the only copy not confiscated by the Polish authorities being the one sent to the Pope by diplomatic pouch. The Pope sent Lourie his copy.

But his interests are hardly limited to Russia and the east of Europe. His poetry has been published widely and he was given the Sneath Poetry Award by Robert Lowell. He was a travel and food writer for many years, his work appearing in
The New York Times, Gourmet and in his own column — Dish — in Hamptons Country magazine. Lourie also wrote the next to last episode of Miami Vice.

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