Marcus, David L.

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MARCUS, David L.

PERSONAL: Children: two. Education: Graduated from Brown University (with honors); attended University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

ADDRESSES: Agent—Jodi Solomon, Jodi Solomon Speakers Bureau, 325 Huntington Ave., Ste. 112, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer. Miami Herald, Miami, FL, reporter, 1982–2000; Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX, South America bureau chief; Boston Globe, Boston, MA, diplomatic correspondent; U.S. News and World Report, education writer, 1999–; Deerfield Academy, Wilson fellow, 2003–04; Ithaca College Park School of Communications, visiting scholar, 2005.

AWARDS, HONORS: Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, 1994; Nieman fellow, Harvard University, 1994–95.


What It Takes to Pull Me Through: Why Teenagers Get in Trouble—And How Four of Them Got Out, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Vanity Fair, Gentleman's Quarterly, New York Times, and other publications.

SIDELIGHTS: David L. Marcus has been a working journalist for more than two decades, during which time he has traveled extensively and contributed work on wars, trade, and education to numerous publications. Marcus started his career at age seventeen when he wrote his first freelance piece, an essay on applying to college for the New York Times. He went on to work at the Miami Herald, where he covered education and social services, then for the Dallas Morning News, where he was based in Latin America. At the Dallas paper, Marcus first took over the El Paso bureau, then served as a foreign correspondent based out of Mexico City, Bogota, and Rio de Janeiro for eight years. In 1991, when U.S. troops invaded Panama, Marcus managed an exclusive story about General Manuel Noriega's final days in hiding. He also was responsible, in 1994, for revealing that the president-elect of Colombia had accepted money from drug traffickers. Marcus shared the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1994.

Returning to the United States, Marcus became a diplomatic correspondent for the Boston Globe, where his articles covered such varying topics as the unrest in the Middle East and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He resumed writing about education in 1999 when he went to work for U.S. News and World Report. As a father, he had a vested interest in the educational system and he began to delve deeper into what motivates children and teenagers. For research purposes, he moved his family to Massachusetts, where he visited the Academy at Swift River, a private school that helps troubled and problem teenagers. Marcus began spending extended periods of time interviewing and observing these teens, attending therapy sessions with them, traveling with them, and doing community service with them. The result was his book, What It Takes to Pull Me Through: Why Teenagers Get in Trouble—And How Four of Them Got Out.

What It Takes to Pull Me Through examines the problems some teenagers face and the symptoms of those problems: sex with multiple partners, drug use, self-mutilation. It also takes an in-depth look regarding the specific causes of these problems for a small number of teens. In an interview with Stephanie Izarek for Publishers Weekly, Marcus explained: "I think there is a crisis for kids and parents today. While the vast majority of teenagers are doing great, there are groups in both poor and wealthy neighborhoods who are lost—they are struggling. My hope is that this book will inspire candid conversations between parents and their kids."

Booklist contributor Vanessa Bush called What It Takes to Pull Me Through "a revealing and engrossing look at the recovery process for troubled teens." Linda Beck, in Library Journal, observed that Marcus's "reporting is detailed and gripping, the analysis thoughtful, the conclusions chilling."

Marcus found the experience of researching the book different from his previous investigative reporting, telling Izarek: "I never had this kind of immersion. Getting to know what people's lives are really like, how complex they are, and how they learn from their errors is an incredible privilege that most journalists never have."



Booklist, December 1, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of What It Takes to Pull Me Through: Why Teenagers Get into Trouble—And How Four of Them Got Out, p. 622.

Library Journal, January 1, 2005, Linda Beck, review of What It Takes to Pull Me Through, p. 132.

Publishers Weekly, December 6, 2004, review of What It Takes to Pull Me Through, p. 53; December 6, 2004, Stephanie Izarek, "Teens in Trouble" (interview), p. 55.


David Marcus Home Page, (May 3, 2005).