• Birth—December 21, 1942
• Where—England (?)
• Education—Oxford University
• Awards—Crime Writers' Award–nonfiction
• Currently—lives in Ireland
Anthony Bruce Summers is the non-fiction author of seven best-selling investigative books. He is an Irish citizen.
After studying modern languages at Oxford University, his early work took him from labouring jobs to freelance reporting to London newspapers, to Granada TV’s World in Action, the UK’s first tabloid public affairs program, to writing the news for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, then back to England to the BBC’s 24 Hours, a pioneering late evening show that brought viewers coverage from all over the world.
Summers became the BBC’s youngest producer at 24, travelling worldwide and sending filmed reports from the conflicts in Vietnam and the Middle East, and across Latin America. A main focus, though, was on the momentous events of the 60s and 70s in the United States—with on-the-spot reports on Martin Luther King’s assassination and on Robert F. Kennedy’s bid for the presidency.
He smuggled cameras into the then Soviet Union to obtain the only TV interview with dissident physicist Andrei Sakharov when Sakharov, who had just won the Nobel Prize, was under house arrest.
Before moving on from the BBC, Summers became an Assistant Editor of the prestigious weekly program Panorama. Long based in Ireland, he has since the mid-70s concentrated on investigative non-fiction, usually taking from four to five years to produce a book—conducting in-depth research, combining digging in the documentary record with exhaustive interviewing.
The Eleventh Day: The Ultimate Account of 9/11 (July 2011) is an investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, published by Random House to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11. It is the first comprehensive independent account of the event that traumatized America and the world, the product of five years’ research and access for the first time to tens of thousands of previously withheld 9/11 Commission documents.
Summers is also the author of Goddess (1985), a biography of Marilyn Monroe; The Arrogance of Power (2000), a biography of Richard Nixon; Official and Confidential (1993), on J. Edgar Hoover; Honeytrap (1987), on the Profumo spy scandal; The File on the Tsar (1976), an investigation of the disappearance of the last Russian imperial family; and Conspiracy (1980), on the assassination of JFK, which won the Crime Writers’ Association’s top award for non-fiction.
With Conspiracy, his book on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Summers took a middle road—avoiding the wilder conspiracy theories while, at the same time, throwing doubt on the findings of the Warren Commission. He reported in detail, adding the results of his own interviewing, on the finding of Congress' Assassinations Committee that the "committee believes, on the basis of the available evidence, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy." As did the Committee, he allowed for the possibility that major organized crime figures combined with anti-Castro elements—perhaps with the connivance of some CIA personnel— were behind the plot.
Four of Summers books were developed into successful television documentaries; Goddess was dramatized for television; and Honeytrap was turned in to the film Scandal, starring John Hurt.
Summers has been consultant to numerous television documentary programs and he is a contributor to Vanity Fair magazine.
Summers and Robbyn Swan were married in 1992. They live in Ireland. (Adapted from Random House Publishing Group and from Wikipedia. Both retrieved 10/9/2013.)
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