About Peter Laufer

Up Against the Wall: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border

with a foreword by Vicente Fox (Anthem Press, 2020) is Laufer’s latest book. Praise includes:

Fearlessly, Peter Laufer steps into the middle of the debate and states his case making points that will leave people shaking their heads. A primary text.                                                                                                                             – Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Across the Wire and The Devil’s Highway

This is great reporting on a complex, delicate and controversial subject. Peter Laufer knows the American side of the border and the issue, but understands the Mexican one as well. It is a case well made for a different approach to a long-standing matter of dispute between the two countries. In the current debate about immigration in the United States, this is well worth reading.”                                                                                                                                – Jorge G. Castañeda, former foreign minister of Mexico, professor of Latin American studies at NYU

Laufer is editor of

Classroom 15: How the Hoover FBI Censored the Dreams of Innocent Oregon Fourth Graders

with a foreword by Ann Curry (Anthem Press, 2021).

The New York Times writes: On a soggy January day at the University of Oregon, Peter Laufer…

Other praise includes:

It is a fascinating tale, all the more remarkable because it was written not by a single author but by a class of journalism students. The book will appeal to history buffs (not just professional historians but average readers interested in history). It will appeal to readers who like a mystery – who stopped the pen pal project and why? It will appeal to journalism students, who will learn how a story can be divided into parts for different writers and reassembled. I think it will appeal to readers who just like a good story. And for those, like me, who remember the McCarthy era it will bring back some chilling memories.                                                                                                  – Roberta Ulrich, veteran Oregonian and UPI journalist


The journalistic adventure of Peter Laufer has resulted in thousands of hours of network reporting from the front lines of conflict and social change around the world, and a 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 (with Markos Kounalakis). The Dangerous World of Butterflies,  Forbidden Creatures,  No Animals Were Harmed, and Dreaming in Turtle make up Laufer’s quartet of books dealing with the relationships of humans with other animals.

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 of 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. Ben Fong-Torres in his San Francisco ChronicleRadio Waves” column writes about 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.

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.