Award-winning Journalist, Historian, Novelist
During the course of his career, Peter Golden has interviewed Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush; Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, George Shultz, and Lawrence Eagleburger; Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, and Yitzhak Shamir; and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
Golden's Quiet Diplomat, published in 1992, was a biography of industrialist and political-insider Max M. Fisher. It made the Detroit Free Press bestseller list and was widely reviewed. Commentary magazine declared the biography a “meticulously researched and gracefully written book” that “gives us a concrete view of the emergence of American Jews into the mainstream of national politics since World War II.” In his review of the biography, historian and political analyst J.J. Goldberg wrote that Quiet Diplomat was “a disturbing, challenging book. It suggests, without answering, a wide range of questions about the relationship between the American Jewish community and its ‘leadership,’ and between the Diaspora community and the state of Israel. . . . In the end, [Golden] leaves readers free to draw their own conclusions.” One facet of diplomacy Golden uncovered was that during a 1965 visit Fisher made to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at his Gettysburg farm, the president told him that he regretted pushing Israel to pull out of the Sinai. This fact was essentially unknown to historians until Golden wrote about it, and the claim was backed up by President Richard Nixon, who told Golden: “Eisenhower. . . told me—and I am sure he told others—that he thought the action that was taken [at Suez] was a mistake.”
Golden returned to journalism and won, among other kudos, the New York State Bar Association’s Media Award. Some of his work has appeared in the Detroit Free Press Magazine, The Albany Times Union, New Jersey Monthly, Microsoft’s eDirections, Beyond Computing, The Forward, Capital Magazine, and The Huffington Post.
In 2000, he co-wrote the memoir, I Rest My Case, chronicling the life of J. Stanley Shaw, one of the preeminent bankruptcy attorneys in the United States.
His first foray into fiction were the five interactive novels for computers he wrote as part of a joint venture between Imagic and Bantam Books that became known as the “Living Literature Series.” The interactive computer novel, Another Bow, was a Sherlock Holmes mystery set aboard the S.S. Destiny and was a Waldenbooks bestseller.
In 2012, his traditional novel, Comeback Love, which explored the changes in America during the 1960s, was published by Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Reviews were excellent—“Golden’s breakout debut fiction is a passionate story of love, loss and reconciliation. . . Grab a handful of tissues. . . then start speculating on actors best suited to bring Gordon and Glenna to the big screen.” (Kirkus) “Glenna and Gordon’s romance rises and falls with the familiar but engrossing tempo of reckless, youthful passion.” (Publishers Weekly) “Golden’s first novel resonates with the great experiences typical of a life—love, sorrow, loss, lessons, resolutions. . . . The sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic emotional dancing Gordon and Glenna engage in reads as honestly and accurately as any love story between two people who come together, come apart, then reconnect decades later.” (Booklist) “In this extraordinary debut, Golden unfolds the shimmering story of Gordon and Glenna, two joined-at-the-hip lovers, who meet and meld in the swinging sixties, only to be torn apart by the Vietnam War and Gordon’s draft lottery number. But Gordon never forgets Glenna, and years later, he tracks her down, fighting against the secrets of the past to struggle to rekindle their bond. A tumultuously wonderful novel about lost love, passion and regret.” (Caroline Leavitt, author of Pictures of You.)
That same year, Golden’s history of the Cold War and its relationship to the Soviet Jewry movement, O Powerful Western Star! was published by Gefen Books. Of the history, Professor Henry L. Feingold, the dean of American Jewish historians, wrote: “The rescue of Soviet Jewry was an enormously complex happening. Now Peter Golden has woven the entire story in a broad-ranging tapestry of historical incidents and processes. A talented novelist has been let loose to make sense of this crucial exodus with the result that a dense history has been magically transformed. O Powerful Western Star! reads like a good novel.” Publishers Weekly deemed the book “an extensively researched history” and observed that “given its politically-charged subject matter, Golden is remarkably even-handed.”
On November 3, 2015, Atria Books published Golden’s Wherever There is Light, a sweeping, panoramic, historical novel that covers three generations in the intertwined lives of two families—the Roses, who are Jewish, and the Wakefields, who are African American. The novel delves into the little known history of the rescue of German Jews from the Nazis by traditionally African-American colleges. Julian Rose, a former bootlegger, and his love interest, Kendall Ann Wakefield, whose family founded the college and becomes a world-renowned photographer, are the main protagonists of the story. The novel looks at the problems of interracial love affairs starting in 1938 and takes place in New Jersey, South Florida, Greenwich Village and Paris. It concludes in 1966 by tracing the fate of all the characters, both major and minor, as they struggle to come to grips with the fact they were all as haunted by the times they lived in as they were by their own private battles.
Reviews of Wherever There is Light have been excellent. “[An] absorbing story…Golden knows how to pique our interest…vivid characters and strong storytelling.” (The Washington Post) “Keenly detailed . . .compelling . . . Golden proves his stripes as a historian, detailing the lovers' brief bliss in prewar Greenwich Village, separating them for their individual battles during the war, and reuniting them in a skillfully evoked postwar Paris . . . The love story is epic and truly felt. In Kendall, Golden has created a fascinating, complex, and flawed heroine.” (Kirkus Reviews) “Each setting is re-created with a socially conscious eye, from the horrifying racism of the Jim Crow South to the Greenwich Village art scene to postwar Paris, whose residents’ emotional suffering hasn’t dimmed their appreciation for beauty. Julian and Kendall are independent, courageous people who grow over time, and their story feels undeniably romantic.” (Booklist)
Golden is currently working on a novel about the Holocaust and the Cold War.
Peter Golden Background
Peter Golden was born in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in the suburbs of South Orange and Maplewood, New Jersey, where he graduated from Columbia High School. He attended Ohio University for two years then transferred to SUNY Albany, graduating with a BA in Philosophy. He lives in Guilderland, New York, with his wife, a communication professor at University at Albany.