Lesley M. M. Blume is an award-winning journalist, historian, and New York Times bestselling author. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WSJ Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Paris Review Daily, Vogue, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Slate, and Departures, among other publications.
Blume is currently completing her second major non-fiction book, Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed it to the World. It will be released by Simon & Schuster in August, 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Fallout tells the story of how one intrepid American correspondent helped expose the deadliest government cover-up of the 20th century: the true effects of the nuclear bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This harrowing and engrossing story will remind readers about the ghastly realities of nuclear warfare, and of the essentialness of independent investigative journalism.
In 2016, Eamon Dolan Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released Blume’s book Everybody Behaves Badly: The True Story Behind Hemingway’s Masterpiece The Sun Also Rises to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Sun‘s 1926 release. Reviewers lauded Everybody Behaves Badly as “essential … a page-turner,” “magnificently reported,” “fiendishly readable,” “riveting,” and “the best book on Hemingway in Paris since A Moveable Feast.” The book was a Washington Post notable book of 2016 and became a New York Times best seller shortly after its publication. It has sold foreign editions around the world, including in Germany, Russia, and China. Blume has also served as literary executor of the estate of editor, bookseller, and Lost Generation icon Sylvia Beach, founder and owner of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore and library, and original publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Blume’s previous nonfiction books include Let’s Bring Back (Chronicle Books, 2010), a cultural encyclopedia celebrating hundreds of forgotten objects, pastimes, fashions, delectables, and personalities from bygone eras. A call for the return to civility, it was deemed “whimsical … comical … [and] delightful” by The New Yorker and celebrated by scores of other magazines, newspapers, and broadcasts. Following the success of this initial edition, Chronicle released additional topic-specific Let’s Bring Back volumes. Blume also wrote It Happened Here (Thornwillow Press, 2011), a book detailing the raucous cultural history of New York City’s St. Regis Hotel. The book was the inaugural volume of Thornwillow’s “Libretto series,” which showcases the work of literary lions past and present, including Peter Matthiessen, Adam Gopnik, and Lewis Lapham.
For the amusement of young readers, Blume has authored four critically-acclaimed novels and two collections of short stories, all published by Knopf. Her debut children’s novel, Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters, has sold over 300,000 copies. Upon the release of her third children’s novel, Tennyson, reviewers compared her to writers Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Truman Capote (“Brilliant, unusual writing.”—The Chicago Tribune).
The daughter of a classical pianist mother and a journalist father, Blume followed her father’s footsteps into the newsroom, beginning her career at The Jordan Times in Amman and Cronkite Productions in New York City. She later became an off-air reporter and researcher for ABC News Nightline with Ted Koppel in Washington, D.C., where she helped cover the historic presidential election in 2000, the 9/11 attacks, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Early in her career, Vogue selected Blume as a founding member of the Vogue 100, an organization of “influential decision makers and opinion leaders … [who] personify the rising influence of women over the past several decades.”
Blume holds a B.A. in history from Williams College, and earned an M. Phil in Historical Studies from Cambridge University, where she was a Herchel Smith Fellow. She wrote her graduate thesis on American press coverage of the 1991 Gulf War, and the historical evolution of the relationship between the American media and the U.S. military.
She recently moved from New York City to Los Angeles with her husband, also once a former Nightline journalist. Their first date was a bio-chemical warfare training session just before the 2003 Iraq invasion.