About Peter Laufer

EXTRA! Just published: Up Against the Wall: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border! – with a foreword by Vicente Fox (Anthem Press)

The journalistic adventure of Peter Laufer has already resulted in thousands of hours of network reporting from the front lines of conflict and social change around the world, and a growing shelf of books dealing with social and political issues: from immigration and borders (Wetback Nation, The Elusive State of Jefferson and ¡Calexico!) to talk radio (Inside Talk Radio) to the pleasures of an intriguing American art form: neon signs (Neon Nevada, with Sheila Swan Laufer).

Laufer’s books include one that focuses on American soldiers who return from Iraq opposed to the war, Mission Rejected, and Hope Is a Tattered Flag (written with Markos Kounalakis), which offered scenarios for recovery post-Bush. The Dangerous World of Butterflies, published by Lyons Press, is a direct result of Laufer’s speaking tour for Mission Rejected. As a follow-up to The Dangerous World of Butterflies, Laufer wrote Forbidden Creatures, a study of the so-called exotic pets and their “owners.” The third book in this natural history trilogy is No Animals Were Harmed, published in 2011.

Laufer wrote an exposé of the sour side of the “organic” food industry in his book Organic: A Journalist’s Quest to Learn the Truth behind Food Labeling  His research took him across four continents as he tracked foodstuffs from his local grocery store back to their (supposedly organic) sources.

Slow News — Laufer’s Manifesto for the Critical News Consumer — is published by the Oregon State University Press, just in time to save us all from the 24-hour news cycle.

Peter Laufer is the James Wallace Chair Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Radio work by Peter Laufer includes the creation of a magazine show from around the world for the National Geographic Society and a radio adaption of its investigative reporting for Mother Jones magazine. Read the Ben Fong-Torres San Francisco ChronicleRadio Waves” column for more on Laufer’s talk radio work.

Professor Laufer is a frequent lecturer on the role of talk radio in American society, the crisis on the U.S.-Mexican border and about the border where animal use becomes animal abuse.

Watch Peter Laufer talk about his butterfly book with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show.

Read the Washington Post review of The Dangerous World of Butterflies, and the Los Angeles Times review.

“An eye-opening peek into the world of butterfly collecting. From true crime to heated debates between butterfly conservationists and butterfly farmers, this book reads like a novel,” says the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.

Listen to Peter Laufer talk about The Elusive State of Jefferson on “All Things Considered” on NPR.

Peter Laufer’s latest book, Dreaming in Turtle, is called “a masterpiece of nature writing” by professor of biological sciences at the University of Southern California and author of The Last Tortoise, Craig Stanford.

The book is a fascinating exploration into the world of turtles across the globe; Laufer charts the lore, love, and peril to a beloved species.

Dreaming in Turtle is a compelling story of a stalwart animal prized from prehistory through to today―an animal threatened by human greed, pragmatism, and rationalization. It stars turtles and shady and heroic human characters both, in settings ranging from luxury redoubts to degraded habitats, during a time when the confluence of easy global trade, limited supply, and inexhaustible demand has accelerated the stress on species. The growth of the middle class in high-population regions like China, where the turtle is particularly valued, feeds this perfect storm into which the turtle finds itself lashed. This is a tale not just of endangered turtles but also one of overall human failings, frailties, and vulnerabilities―all punctuated by optimistic hope for change fueled by dedicated turtle champions.

Kirkus Reviews calls Dreaming in Turtle “a clear call to action” and “a highly readable book.”