As a war correspondent in Saigon for the Los Angeles Times, Jacques Leslie was the first American journalist to enter and return from Viet Cong territory in South Vietnam. For his reporting, he earned expulsion from South Vietnam. For this same reporting, he earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination and won two national journalism awards. He went on to cover the collapse of the Lon Nol government (leaving Phnom Penh in an evacuation helicopter) and the Pathet Lao's toppling of the coalition government in Laos. He is the author of The Mark: A War Correspondent's Memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia. He has written for Harper's, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Mother Jones, Wired, Salon, Whole Earth Review, and many other magazines and newspapers.
In recent years, Leslie has focused most of his attention on what he terms "the great looming story of the twenty-first century, the unraveling of the global environment." He has written on power blackouts, the coming hydrogen age, food irradiation, SUVs, and groundwater speculation. In 2000, he authored a Harper's cover story on international water scarcity entitled "Running Dry: What Happens When the World No Longer Has Enough Freshwater?" It was selected for inclusion in The Best American Science Writing 2001.
His new book, Deep Water: The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment, won the 2002 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. It depicts three people deeply involved with dams: Medha Patkar, the world's leading antidam activist, who has courted death repeatedly to protest the Sardar Sarovar Dam in western India; Thayer Scudder, an anthropologist at the California Institute of Technology and the world's foremost authority on dam resettlement; and Don Blackmore, who led a campaign to persuade farmers and politicians to return water to the River Murray in Australia to reverse its headlong decline.
Leslie speaks on the deepening global water shortage – on its complexity, its seriousness, and its implications for the future. He speaks about dams and their relationships to rivers, freshwater supplies, farming, rural communities, and related ecosystems.
Videos of an interview and of a bookstore talk are available here, and information about his Deep Water book is available here. To explore engaging Jacques Leslie as a speaker, contact him here. For the most up-to-date information about Jacques, visit his website here.
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