Alexander Cockburn, The Nation’s “Beat the Devil” columnist and one of America’s best-known radical journalists, was born in Scotland and grew up in Ireland. He graduated from Oxford in 1963 with a degree in English literature and language.
After two years as an editor at the Times Literary Supplement, he worked at the New Left Review and The New Statesman, and co-edited two Penguin volumes, on trade unions and on the student movement.
A permanent resident of the United States since 1973, Cockburn wrote for many years for The Village Voice about the press and politics. Since then he has contributed to many publications including The New York Review of Books, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and The Wall Street Journal (where he had a regular column from 1980 to 1990), as well as alternative publications such as In These Times and the Anderson Valley Advertiser.
He has written “Beat the Devil” since 1984.
He is co-editor, with Jeffrey St Clair, of the newsletter and radical website CounterPunch.org which has a substantial world audience. In 1987 he published a best-selling collection of essays, Corruptions of Empire, and two years later co-wrote, with Susanna Hecht, The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon (both Verso). In 1995 Verso also published his diary of the late 80s, early 90s and the fall of communism, The Golden Age Is In Us. With Ken Silverstein he wrote Washington Babylon; with Jeffrey St. Clair he has written or coedited several books including: Whiteout, The CIA, Drugs and the Press; The Politics of Anti-Semitism; Imperial Crusades; Al Gore, A User’s Manual; Five Days That Shook the World; and A Dime’s Worth of Difference, about the two-party system in America.