Mark Danner
Mark David Danner is a prominent American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 writer, journalist, and educator. He is a former staff writer for The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

and frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

. Danner specializes in U.S. foreign affairs, war and politics, and has written extensively on Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

, Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

, the former Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, and the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. In 1999, he was named a MacArthur Fellow.

He is currently serving as a professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
The UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is a graduate professional school on the campus of University of California, Berkeley. It is among the top graduate journalism schools in the United States, and is designed to produce journalists with a two-year Master of Journalism degree.The program...


Background and education

Danner was born at Utica
Utica, New York
Utica is a city in and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The population was 62,235 at the 2010 census, an increase of 2.6% from the 2000 census....

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. He attended Utica Free Academy, a public high school, and then Harvard
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

, where he graduated, magna cum laude, with a degree in modern literature and aesthetics in 1981.

Early years

After leaving Harvard, Danner joined the staff of The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books
The New York Review of Books is a fortnightly magazine with articles on literature, culture and current affairs. Published in New York City, it takes as its point of departure that the discussion of important books is itself an indispensable literary activity...

, where he worked as an assistant to editor Robert B. Silvers
Robert B. Silvers
Robert Benjamin Silvers is an American editor who has served as editor of The New York Review of Books since 1963. According to a 2007 Vanity Fair article, "Jason Epstein's assessment of Silvers as 'The most brilliant editor of a magazine ever to have worked in this country' has been 'shared by...

 from 1981 to 1984. In 1984, he moved to Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine
Harper's Magazine is a monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance, and the arts, with a generally left-wing perspective. It is the second-oldest continuously published monthly magazine in the U.S. . The current editor is Ellen Rosenbush, who replaced Roger Hodge in January 2010...

as a senior editor. In 1986, he joined The New York Times Magazine
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, where he specialized in foreign affairs and politics, writing pieces about nuclear weapons and about the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti, among other stories.

The New Yorker and El Mozote

In 1990, Danner joined the staff of The New Yorker shortly after the magazine published his three-part series on Haiti, "A Reporter at Large: Beyond the Mountains".

On December 6, 1993, for only the second time in its history, The New Yorker devoted its entire issue to one article, Danner's piece, "The Truth of El Mozote", an investigation into the El Mozote massacre
El Mozote massacre
The El Mozote Massacre took place in and around the village of El Mozote, in Morazán department, El Salvador, on December 11, 1981, when Salvadoran armed forces trained by the United States military killed at least 200 and up to 1000 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran...

 in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, thought to be the worst atrocity in modern Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n history. The Mozote article became the basis for Danner's first book, The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War, which was published in 1994. The New York Times Book Review recognized The Massacre at El Mozote as one of its "Notable Books of the Year."

The Balkans and The New York Review of Books

During the mid-1990s Danner began reporting on the wars in the Balkans, writing a series of eleven extended articles for The New York Review of Books, which began with Danner's cover piece, "The US and the Yugoslav Catastrophe" (November 20, 1997) and concluded with "Kosovo: The Meaning of Victory", (July 15, 1999).

His 16,000-word essay, "Marooned in the Cold War: America, the Alliance and the Quest for a Vanished World," which appeared in World Policy Journal (Fall 1997) provoked a prolonged exchange of letters and responses from Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke
Richard Holbrooke
Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was an American diplomat, magazine editor, author, professor, Peace Corps official, and investment banker....

, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott
Strobe Talbott
Nelson Strobridge "Strobe" Talbott III is an American foreign policy analyst associated with Yale University and the Brookings Institution, a former journalist associated with Time magazine and diplomat who served as the Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001.-Early life:Born in Dayton, Ohio...

, Congressman Lee H. Hamilton
Lee H. Hamilton
Lee Herbert Hamilton is a former member of the United States House of Representatives and currently a member of the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council. A member of the Democratic Party, Hamilton represented the 9th congressional district of Indiana from 1965 to 1999...

, and Ambassador George F. Kennan
George F. Kennan
George Frost Kennan was an American adviser, diplomat, political scientist and historian, best known as "the father of containment" and as a key figure in the emergence of the Cold War...


Iraq and the War on Terror

Danner began writing about the war on terror soon after September 11, 2001, publishing ""The Battlefield in the American Mind" in the New York Times in October of that year. He began speaking out against invading Iraq, notably in a series of debates with Christopher Hitchens, Leon Wieseltier, Michael Ignatieff, David Frum, William Kristol and others. He reported from Iraq for The New York Review of Books in a series of lengthy dispatches including "Iraq: How Not to Win a War"(September 25, 2003), "Delusions in Baghdad" (February 12, 2004), and ""The War of the Imagination" (December 21, 2006).

In May 2005 Danner wrote an essay for The New York Review accompanying the first American publication of the so-called "Downing Street Memo", the leaked minutes of a July 2002 meeting the minutes of a July 2002 meeting of high-level British officials confirmed that when it came to the debate over whether to go to war in Iraq, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," and that the invasion of Iraq was in fact a foregone conclusion. The essay provoked a number of responses and led to two subsequent essays, all of which were collected, along with relevant documents and a preface by New York Times columnist Frank Rich, 2006 in The Secret Way to War: the Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History.

Torture and Abu Ghraib

Beginning in the spring of 2004, he wrote a series of essays for The New York Review on the emerging torture scandal that came to be known as Abu Ghraib. In October 2004, he collected these essays and gathered them, together with a series of government documents and reports, into his book, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror.

In March 2009, Danner published an essay in The New York Review,' "US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites", which revealed the contents of a secret International Committee of the Red Cross report based on testimony from "high-value detainees" in the "War on Terror," who had been captured, held, and interrogated at secret US prisons—the so-called "black sites". Shortly thereafter, he published a second essay, "The Red Cross Report: What it Means' and released the full text of the report on The New York Review website. Weeks later, President Obama ordered released four Justice Department memos in which the Bush administration purported "to legalize torture." Senior Obama officials claimed that the memos' release was prompted by the Red Cross Report.


In addition to The Massacre at El Mozote (1994), Torture and Truth (2004), and Secret Way to War (2006), Danner is also the author of The Road to Illegitimacy: One Reporter's Travels through the 2000 Florida Recount (2003) and Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War (2009).

Television and Commentary

Danner co-wrote and helped produce two hour-long television documentaries for ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

 News' Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings
Peter Charles Archibald Ewart Jennings, CM was a Canadian American journalist and news anchor. He was the sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight from 1983 until his death in 2005 of complications from lung cancer...

 Reporting series: "While America Watched: The Bosnian Tragedy" and "House on Fire: America's Haitian Crisis", which both aired in 1994. As commentator, Danner has appeared on The Charlie Rose Show, The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour and Bill Moyers Journal on PBS
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Prime News, Situation Room, and Anderson Cooper 360 ABC's World News Now, C-Span's Morning Show, and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

Academic career

In 2000 Danner became Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

. In 2002 he also accepted a Henry R. Luce professorship in Human Rights and Journalism at Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

, where, in 2006, he was named the James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs, Politics and the Humanities. At Berkeley, where he is now Chancellor's Professor of Journalism and Politics, he teaches on foreign affairs, politics, and literature, including on war and revolution, crisis management, Chekhov, and Dostoevsky. At Bard he conducts seminars on politics and literature, including on torture, utopia, Faust, the picaresque, and the politics of the War on Terror. In April 2010, Danner delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford, entitled "Torture and the Forever War: Living in the State of Exception."

Honors and awards

Danner’s work has been honored with a National Magazine Award
National Magazine Award
The National Magazine Awards are a series of US awards that honor excellence in the magazine industry. They are administered by the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City...

, three Overseas Press Awards, and an Emmy. In 1999, he was named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2006 he was awarded the Carey McWilliams Award to honor that year's "major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics." In 2008 and 2010 he was named the Marian and Andrew Heiskell Visiting Critic at the American Academy in Rome.

External links

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