Book Passage Presents
Wed., June 30th, 2021 • 5:30pm PT • Live • Online
In conversation with Bill Petrocelli
In more than five decades as a reporter, editor and publisher Peter Osnos has had an especially good view of momentous events and relationships with some of the most influential personalities of our time.
As a young journalist for I.F. Stone's Weekly, one of the leading publications of the turbulent 1960s, and in eighteen years at The Washington Post, Osnos covered the war in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Soviet Union at the height of Kremlin power, Washington D.C. as National Editor, "Swinging London" in the 60s, and Thatcher's Britain in the 1980s.
At Random House and the company he founded, PublicAffairs, he was responsible for books by four presidents—Carter, Clinton, Obama and Trump—celebrated Washington figures including Robert McNamara, House Speaker Tip O'Neill and Vernon Jordan, first ladies Rosalynn Carter and Nancy Reagan, the billionaire George Soros, basketball superstars Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Magic Johnson, legendary spies, political dissidents, and the writers Molly Ivins and Peggy Noonan, among many others.
In this unusually wide-ranging memoir, Osnos uses a reporter's skills to portray historic events and encounters beginning with his parents' extraordinary World War II experiences escaping Europe to India, where he was born, to the present day. He shares unique portraits of the famous people he worked with and an insider's perspective of the news and publishing businesses. As he charts the evolution of his career and recent history, he also explores the influence and impact of family, character, curiosity, luck, resilience, a well-pressed suit and some unexpected wrinkles.
Peter L.W. Osnos was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) India on October 13, 1943. He arrived in Los Angeles by ship with his parents and brother in February 1944. He was raised in New York and attended high school in Connecticut, college at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and graduate school at Columbia University. He worked as an assistant to the journalist I.F. Stone and joined the Washington Post in 1966. At the Post, Osnos served as a correspondent in Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and London. He was also the national and foreign editor. In 1984, Osnos joined Random House as a senior editor and later associate publisher as well as publisher of the Times Books imprint. In 1997, he founded PublicAffairs in partnership with the Perseus Books Group and served as publisher and editor at large until 2020. He was the founder of the Caravan Project on the development of digital and audio publishing, author of a weekly media column called Platform which was hosted by the Century Foundation and appeared on theatlantic.com and in 2020, launched Platform Books LLC with his wife, Susan Sherer Osnos. The first book will be An Especially Good View: Watching History Happen to be released in June, 2021. It is Osnos' memoir to be distributed by Two Rivers/Ingram. He is the father of two children, Evan Osnos and Katherine Sanford, and grandfather of five. He and his wife now live in New York City and Lakeside, Michigan.
Bill Petrocelli is co-owner of Book Passage and author of the novels The Circle of Thirteen and Through the Bookstore Window, as well as the nonfiction book Electoral Bait & Switch: How the Electoral College Hurts American Voters.
Peter L.W. Osnos photo courtesy of author; Bill Petrocelli photo courtesy of author