Stanley Meisler

Stanley Meisler - author of Shocking Paris: Soutine, Chagall and the Outsiders of Montparnasse, Kofi Annan: A Man of Peace in a World of War, United Nations : A History  and When The World Calls: The Inside Story Of The Peace Corps And Its First Fifty Years. Meisler served as a Los Angeles Times  foreign and diplomatic correspondent for thirty years, assigned to Nairobi, Mexico City, Madrid, Toronto, Paris, Barcelona, the United Nations and Washington. He continued to contribute articles to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Sunday Opinion and Art sections and wrote a Commentary for his website. Meisler began his journalism career in 1953 as a reporter for The Middletown Journal (Ohio) and went on to work as a reporter with the Associated Press from 1954 to 1964. He was deputy director of the Office of Evaluation and Research of the Peace Corps in Washington before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1967. For many years, Meisler contributed articles to leading American magazines including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, The Nation, the Reader’s Digest, the Quarterly Journal of Military History, and the Columbia Journalism Review. While most of these articles focus on foreign affairs and political issues, he contributed more than thirty articles on artists and art history to the Smithsonian Magazine. Meisler passed away in 2016.

"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure"
Dr. Samuel Johnson
(1709 - 1784)

Letter from Washington

Letter from Washington

Letter from Washington

Letter from Washington

Letter from Washington

August 29, 1959
August 1959
Letter from Washington
A potful of hot water gurgled down on us as we waited, caught in a giggling, shoving crowd, outside Washington’s Coffee ‘n Confusion Club, a beatnik haven marking its first Saturday night of business in the nation’s capital. An irate neighbor in an upstairs apartment had tossed out the hot but not boiling water. The sprinkles from above alighting on the sprinkle of beards in the crowd symbolized one of the oddest clashes in the history of this clash-ridden federal town. For several months now, the prudery of Washington has been at war with the rebellion of its youth. The war started when a 24-year-old self-styled poet, William A. Walker, decided to open his club. Following the style of shops in San Francisco’s North Beach, it would sell coffee, pastries, biscuits, cream cheese, bagels and poetry...

The Future of Tom Mboya

The Future of Tom Mboya

The Future of Tom Mboya

The Future of Tom Mboya

The Future of Tom Mboya

February 14, 1963
February 1963
The Future of Tom Mboya
For most Americans, one dynamic young man, Tom Mboya of Kenya, symbolizes the onrush of African nationalism in the last few years. On his several trips to the United States, he has been publicized in rallies, television shows, and newspaper interviews. He is, for America, the magazine cover boy of Africa. But despite all the American cheers, Mboya is in deep political trouble at home, and some of the trouble stems from those very cheers. Mboya has qualities that appeal to western taste. He is vigorous. He is efficient. He is moderate, though always frank and direct, in his speech. He seems to combine the shrewdness of a politician with the honor of a statesman. Even the British settlers in Kenya, long displeased with the American encouragement of Mboya, have now come to regard him as a main hope for their survival when the colony becomes independent, perhaps some time this year or next. They trust him and would help him. The vision of an independent Kenya led by Mboya has replaced their shattered dream of a white man's Kenya. But Mboya, now thirty-two, will not be at the helm when Kenya becomes independent...

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'

August 29, 1963
August 1963
The Eugene Guard (Eugene, Oregon)
Massive Negro Demonstration 'Only a Beginning'
No Evidence of Any Effect on Congress - The historic civil rights march on Washington - massive and orderly and moving - has dramatized the wants of Negroes in America, but leaders still faced the task today of trying to turn drama into action. Speaker after speaker told the 200,000 Negro and white sympathizers massed in front of the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday that their demonstration was no more than a beginning. 'Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content,' said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., 'will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.' Demonstrators and their leaders made it clear that one sign of progress, in their view, would be congressional approval of President Kennedy's civil rights bill...

Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget

Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget

Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget

Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget

Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget

September 28, 1964
September 1964
Lie Detectors - Trial by Gadget
Lie Detectors - The Industry, the Technology and the Victims. The first lie detector, employed centuries ago, was a handful of rice dropped into the mouth of a suspect. If the rice stayed dry while he answered questions, he clearly was a liar — exposed under the questionable theory that a liar's salivary glands would dry up when gripped by fear. The lie detector used most commonly today is far more sophisticated. Developed by the psychologist and criminologist Leonard Keeler almost forty years ago, it comprises a pneumatic tube that fits across a subject's chest to measure breathing, an inflatable rubber cuff that wraps around the arm to measure blood pressure and a pair of electrodes that touch the fingers and, by the flow of current, measure the dampness of the palm. These instruments activate pens that draw wiggles and waves on a rolling sheet of paper — a process that gives the lie detector its modern name, polygraph, Greek for "many writings." In theory, an examiner can look at the chart, note any unusual wiggles and waves, and nab his man. This polygraph, obviously more complicated than a few grains of rice, is also touted as more accurate. In truth, it is not...

Breakup in Nigeria

Breakup in Nigeria

Breakup in Nigeria

Breakup in Nigeria

Breakup in Nigeria

October 9, 1967
October 1967
Breakup in Nigeria
Two simple posters explain the civil war in Nigeria. The first, a thin strip, was glued to the walls and windows of most public buildings in Enugu, the capital of Eastern Nigeria, a few weeks before the region seceded on May 30 to become the Republic of Biafra. The poster shows four men. Three look alike, obviously Ibos, the dominant tribe of the east. The fourth man is a Hausa from Northern Nigeria. “This Is Your Region,” the poster says, “Report Any Strange Face to the Police.” The second poster, a little larger and more colorful, was slapped all over Lagos, the federal capital of Nigeria, a few weeks before federal troops invaded Biafra on July 6, the beginning of the civil war. This poster shows a monstrous drawing of the severed head of Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu, the ruler of Biafra, lying under the heavy combat boot of a Nigerian soldier. “Crush Rebellion,” the poster says...

Rwanda and Burundi

Rwanda and Burundi

Rwanda and Burundi

Rwanda and Burundi

Rwanda and Burundi

September 1, 1973
September 1973
Rwanda and Burundi
The enormity and horror of it all are exposed by what a visitor does not see in Bujumbura. Bujumbura, a languid, colorless, nondescript town on Lake Tanganyika, is the capital of Burundi, a central African nub of a country in which 85 percent of the population is Hutu. Yet a visitor can find few Hutus in Bujumbura. It is a little like entering Warsaw after World War II and looking for Jews. A visitor would not need a tour of Treblinka to know that something terrible had happened. In Burundi, something terrible has happened. A year ago, the government, run by the minority Tutsi tribe, tried to eliminate, in a chilling and systematic way, the entire elite class of the Hutu people -- all those with some education, government jobs, or money. The death toll was perhaps one hundred thousand, perhaps as great as two hundred thousand. Since then there has been even more killing, the latest in May and June of this year...

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

The World of Bosch

March 1, 1988
March 1988
The World of Bosch
With his bizarre and fearsome images, the enigmatic master of apocalypse still speaks to us across five centuries. A half-millennium ago when Europe was moving out of the Middle Ages, Hieronymus Bosch, a prosperous painter and landowner in the duchy of Brabant in what is now the Netherlands, was widely admired as one of the cleverest, most pious, most perceptive, most apocalyptic masters of his times. He then slipped into several hundred years of obscurity. The symbolism and message of his terrifying masterpieces seemed bizarre and unsavory and even heretical. But he has been rediscovered in the 20th century. American tourists, who have little Bosch at home, now crowd through the museums of Europe to be awed by his great triptychs or to track down his smaller masterpieces...

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960

December 22, 2012
December 2012
My Role In the Presidential Election of 1960
While reading The Passage of Power, the fourth volume of Robert A. Caro’s formidable biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson, I found myself recalling my role in the election of 1960 when Senator John F. Kennedy defeated Vice President Richard Nixon for president. I was a junior member of the Washington staff of the Associated Press then but nevertheless landed some juicy assignments. Since my role has been ignored by biographers and historians, from Theodore H. White to Caro, I thought it might be helpful to set down some of the details...

***IN THEATRES NOW: watch Stanley Meisler
in the new Peace Corps documentary A Towering Task***

Stanley Meisler
1931-2016
obituaries: Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times

drawing of Stanley Meisler by Sidney Wissner
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