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Joseph Persico
Joseph Persico

Best-selling nonfiction writer

NYS Writers Institute, November 9, 2004

4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading |
Clark Auditorium, NY State Museum, CEC, Madison Avenue, Albany, NY

Joseph Persico is a best-selling nonfiction writer. His newest book, 11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour: Armistice Day, 1918 (2004, Random House, ISBN 0-375-50825-2), recounts the final bloody days and hours of the First World War. The book details how Allied commanders, in pursuit of military glory, sacrificed the lives of thousands of soldiers in senseless attacks on German positions, though fully aware that nation had already surrendered.

11th Month, 11th Day, 11th Hour; Armistice Day 1918Persico's previous books, some of them bestsellers, have included My Enemy, My Brother: Men and Days of Gettysburg (1977), Piercing the Reich: The Penetration of Nazi Germany by American Secret Agents during World War II (1979), The Imperial Rockefeller: A Biography of Nelson A. Rockefeller (1982), Murrow: An American Original (1988), Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey from OSS to CIA (1990); Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial (1994), and, most recently, Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage (2001).

". . .the first comprehensive account of the definitive role that espionage played in FDR's wartime agenda." - Booklist on Roosevelt's Secret War

[ the reader] "will not only be immensely entertained and informed, [but] will also come away with a solid understanding of the foundations of modern spying…." - Rocky Mountain NewsMy American Journey

Persico collaborated with General Colin Powell on My American Journey (1996), which The New York Times Book Review called, "A great American success story. . .an endearing and well-written book." My American Journey follows Powell's life from his birth in Harlem through his distinguished career in the U.S. Military, including his rise to influence at the Pentagon, as well as his role in the Vietnamese, Panamanian and Iraqi conflicts.

"A book that is much like its subject--articulate, confident, impressive, but unpretentious and witty. . .Whether you are a political junkie, a military buff, or just interested in a good story, My American Journey is a book well worth reading." - The San Diego Tribune


Persico's 1994 book, Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial was recently adapted as a miniseries on cable channel TNT. The book examines the struggles that took place behind the scenes of the famous trials, including turf wars among the legal teams of various Allied victors (The U.S., Russia, Great Britain and France), factionalism among the various Nazi defendants, and competition between two prison psychiatrists seeking material for books-in-progress.

"[Persico weaves] among the personalities as if they were traffic cones along the trial's center line--the presentation of the evidence. . .A fluid re-creation from opening gavel to closing gallows." - Booklist

My Enemy, My Brother

Persico's other books include The Imperial Rockefeller (1982), a biography of the former New York governor; Casey: The Lives and Secrets of William J. Casey from OSS to CIA (1990); Murrow: An American Original (1988), a life of the pioneer broadcaster; and My Enemy, My Brother: Men and Days of Gettysburg (1977).

Persico wrote The Imperial Rockefeller from the vantage point of his role as the New York Governor's chief speech writer for eight years. The author also accompanied Rockefeller to Washington as part of his Vice Presidential staff.

"a finely nuanced and insightful biography," adding that Persico, "is an observant, admiring, critical, thoughtful deviser of a fair, often devastingly acidic portrait of a powerful, ambition and often thoughtless person. . ." - The Chicago Tribune Book World

"Fascinating...Persico has vividly recreated in human terms the drama, the agony, and the triumph of one of the seminal events in modern history." - Henry Kissinger

A graduate of UAlbany and Guilderland resident, Persico served on the commission that oversaw the design of the new National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, and penned the words that appear on the monument, "Here we mark the price of freedom."

Persico's appearance is cosponsored by the NYS Library, Friends of the NYS Library, and the NY Council for the Humanities.

Joseph Persico also presented a talk at the NYS Writers Institute on March 14, 2001 entitled The Naked Writer: The Story Behind the Books about the research quests, interviewing skills and writing challenges that lie behind his many books.

Related Links:
Sunday Gazette Article
Sunday Times Union Article
Altamont Enterprise
Times Union Article

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.