Thomas Powers

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Thomas Powers (New York City, December 12, 1940) is an American author and intelligence expert.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.


He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1971 together with Lucinda Franks for his articles on Weatherman member Diana Oughton (1942-1970). [1] He was also the recipient of the Olive Branch award in 1984 for a cover story on the Cold War that appeared in The Atlantic , a 2007 Berlin Prize, and for his 2010 book on Crazy Horse the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History.

Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting

This Pulitzer Prize has been awarded since 1942 for a distinguished example of reporting on national affairs in the United States. In its first six years (1942–1947), it was called the Pulitzer Prize for Telegraphic Reporting – National.

Lucinda Franks American journalist

Lucinda Franks is an American journalist. She is a former staff writer for The New York Times, and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic.

Weather Underground American radical organization

The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), commonly known as the Weather Underground, was a radical left militant organization active in the late 1960s and 1970s. Founded on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of Michigan, the Weather Underground was originally called Weatherman and later became known colloquially as the Weathermen. The WUO organized in 1969 as a faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) largely composed of the national office leadership of SDS and their supporters. Beginning in 1974, the organization's express political goal was to create a revolutionary party to overthrow what it saw as U.S. imperialism.

Life and works

Born in New York City in 1940, he was a 1958 graduate of Tabor Academy. Powers later attended Yale University, where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in English. At first he worked for the Rome Daily American in Italy, later for United Press International. In 1970 he became a freelance writer. [2]

Yale University Private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Yale consistently ranks among the top universities in the world.

United Press International company

United Press International (UPI) is an international news agency whose newswires, photo, news film, and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations for most of the 20th century. At its peak, it had more than 6,000 media subscribers. Since the first of several sales and staff cutbacks in 1982, and the 1999 sale of its broadcast client list to its rival, the Associated Press, UPI has concentrated on smaller information-market niches.

Powers is the author of six works of non-fiction and one novel. His The Man who Kept Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA (1979) is "widely regarded as one of the best books ever written on the subject of intelligence." [2] His work on Werner Heisenberg tracks secret developments in nuclear physics during the 1930s and early 1940s.

Richard Helms Director of Central Intelligence (1966–1973)

Richard McGarrah Helms served as the United States Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) from June 1966 to February 1973. Helms began intelligence work with the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Following the 1947 creation of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) he rose in its ranks during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy administrations. Helms then was DCI under Presidents Johnson and Nixon.

Werner Heisenberg German theoretical physicist

Werner Karl Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics. He published his work in 1925 in a breakthrough paper. In the subsequent series of papers with Max Born and Pascual Jordan, during the same year, this matrix formulation of quantum mechanics was substantially elaborated. He is known for the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which he published in 1927. Heisenberg was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the creation of quantum mechanics".

The revised edition of his Intelligence Wars contains twenty-eight articles previously published in the New York Review of Books and the New York Times Book Review from 1983 to 2004. His most recent book follows the life of Crazy Horse (died Nebraska 1877). Evan Thomas in The New York Times , while reviewing this book, also commented broadly on Powers as an author and a previous work on Richard Helms:

Crazy Horse Oglala Sioux chief

Crazy Horse was a Lakota war leader of the Oglala band in the 19th century. He took up arms against the United States federal government to fight against encroachment by white American settlers on Native American territory and to preserve the traditional way of life of the Lakota people. His participation in several famous battles of the Black Hills War on the northern Great Plains, among them the Fetterman Fight in 1866 in which he acted as a decoy and the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 in which he led a war party to victory, earned him great respect from both his enemies and his own people.

Evan Thomas American journalist

Evan Welling Thomas III is an American journalist, historian, and author. He is the author of nine books, including two New York Times bestsellers.

<i>The New York Times</i> Daily broadsheet newspaper based in New York City

The New York Times is an American newspaper based in New York City with worldwide influence and readership. Founded in 1851, the paper has won 127 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S.

Powers is "a great journalistic anthropologist. In possibly the best book ever written about the C.I.A, The Man Who Kept the Secrets, Powers took the reader on a fascinating journey into the world of secret intelligence gathering and covert action. The C.I.A. was, at least in the early years of the cold war, a tribe as mysterious and exotic as the Great Plains Sioux of the 1870s. And Powers tells us much that is revealing and often moving about the Sioux in their last days as free warriors". [3]

Powers has been a contributor to The New York Review of Books , [4] The Atlantic , [5] The Los Angeles Times , The New York Times Book Review , [6] Harper's , The Nation , Commonweal , and Rolling Stone .

Besides writing, Powers joined a partnership to found in 1993 a publishing company, Steerforth Press. Originally located in South Royalton, Vermont, it is now located in Hanover, New Hampshire. [7] Its website self describes as a "small independent house" with a "range of titles on a variety of topics".

Powers and his wife Candace live in Vermont. [8] In 1979 he was living with his wife and three daughters in New York City. [9] "He is currently writing a memoir of his father, who once told him that the last time he met Clare Boothe Luce was in the office of Allen Dulles." [4]


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  1. "National Reporting". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
  2. 1 2 Powers, Heisenberg's War (Penguin 1993) at ii, "About the Author".
  3. Evan Thomas (November 12, 2010). "A Good Day to Die". The New York Times. A Book Review of The Killing of Crazy Horse.
  4. 1 2 "Thomas Powers | The New York Review of Books". Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  5. "Thomas Powers - Authors". The Atlantic. 2010-11-24. Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  6. Naftali, Timothy. "Thomas Powers News - The New York Times". Retrieved 2010-11-28.
  7. Toby Lester, "The Numbers Game. CIA analyst Sam Adams fought the intelligence establishment about its Vietnam policy like David fought Goliath", Book Review re Adams, in The Atlantic , February, 1997. Accessed 2017-01-12. (Review, with interview of Powers).
  8. "Thomas Powers - Authors". Random House. 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2010-11-28. Includes recent photo.
  9. Back flap of The Man who Kept the Secrets (Knopf 1979).