DeYoung, Karen 1949- (Karen Jean DeYoung)

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DeYoung, Karen 1949- (Karen Jean DeYoung)


Born January 4, 1949, in Chicago, IL; daughter of Edward Leonard and Jeannette K. DeYoung. Education: University of Florida, B.S. (cum laude), 1971.


Home—Washington, DC. Office—Washington Post, 1150 15th St., Washington, DC 20071.


Journalist. St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, FL, features writer, 1972-74; freelance reporter in Western Africa, 1974-75; Washington Post, Washington, DC, deputy foreign editor, 1980-81, foreign editor, 1981-85, London bureau chief, 1985-89, national editor, 1989-91, assistant managing editor for national news, 1991, became associate editor.


Distinguished Service Awards, Sigma Delta Chi, in foreign reporting, 1979, and in investigative reporting; foreign correspondent award, Inter-American Press Association, 1979; Maria Moors Cabot Award, Columbia University, 1981; Pulitzer Prize, 2002, for work on reporting the war on terrorism; Edward Weintal Award for Diplomatic Reporting, 2003.


Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell, Knopf (New York, NY), 2006.


Karen DeYoung brings her years of experience as a foreign affairs correspondent to her book Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell. The subject of her biography is a former high-ranking commander in the U.S. Armed Forces who went on to hold key posts in government, including that of National Security Advisor and Secretary of State. Powell was born to parents who had immigrated to the United States from Jamaica. He entered military service, and rose rapidly through the ranks, overcoming many racial barriers over the course of his career. When faced with a growing pressure from the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush to support the case for war in Iraq, Powell resisted, feeling that such a war would be highly ill-advised. When it was clear that his objections were not going to be considered, however, he felt it was his duty as a loyal soldier to support the president, despite his personal beliefs. He was asked to testify about the need for war before the United Nations Security Council, and cited intelligence about weapons of mass destruction that was later proven to be false. Powell later resigned his post.

Reviewing Soldier for the New York Times Book Review, Michael Lewis found it honest, but sympathetic to its subject. Lewis wrote: "She's written a portrait of Powell that is as revealing as it can be and remain flattering, and as flattering as it can be and remain revealing. And she's written it very well." DeYoung's work in putting together Powell's biography was praised by contributor Robert Finn, who commented that the author "examines Powell's life in fascinating detail in this book. She does her best to get inside his head and explain some of the puzzling aspects of his personality. When you turn her final page, you know an awful lot about Colin Powell as a person and about his career path, but whether you truly understand what makes the man tick is hard to say. In important respects he remains an enormously respected enigma."



Biography, winter, 2007, Joseph Lelyveld, review of Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell, p. 150.

Booklist, November 1, 2006, Vanessa Bush, review of Soldier, p. 4.

Entertainment Weekly, October 20, 2006, Gilbert Cruz, review of Soldier, p. 89.

Esquire, October, 2006, review of Soldier, p. 183.

Internet Bookwatch, April 12, 2007, review of Soldier.

Library Journal, October 15, 2006, Karl Helicher, review of Soldier, p. 69.

New York Times, October 1, 2006, John M. Broder, review of Soldier, p. A20.

New York Times Book Review, November 26, 2006, Michael Lewis, review of Soldier, p. 16.

Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2006, review of Soldier, p. 195.

ONLINE, (May 17, 2007), review of Soldier.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, (May 17, 2007), biographical information on Karen DeYoung.

Third World Traveler, (May 17, 2007), Gary Kamiya, review of Soldier.