Adam LeBor

View Reviews of books by Adam Lebor

Countdown with ...

Adam Lebor

Adam LeBor is a British author, journalist and veteran former foreign correspondent. He grew up in London in the 1970s and studied at Leeds University, where he also edited the student newspaper.

A peripatetic career followed, working on a number of Fleet Street newspapers where his assignments ranged from investigating Nazi war criminals who had found sanctuary in Britain to finding London’s best dry martini.

He worked for many years as a foreign correspondent, mainly based in Budapest, reporting from more than 30 countries and having some hair-raising adventures along the way. He has been arrested in a war zone as a suspected spy, been shot at and tear-gassed, has seen countries die, new ones born, and hitched a ride in a prime minister’s airplane.

He is the author of eight non-fiction books and seven novels. His books have been published in 14 languages including Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew and Hungarian.

Interviewed 20 August 2022

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Delivery-boy, burger-flipper, tractor driver, waiter, editor, journalist, historian, critic, thriller-writer

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

1. My grandfather’s tankard
2. Photograph of my parents and I in Budapest after I moved there in summer 1991 looking very happy
3. First edition of Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin
4. Sculpture of standing lady by my mother
5. Nefertiti head that my daughter bought me
6. Art deco lamp from Prague antique shop
7. Mug I made at Camden Arts centre several decades ago
8. Old blue soda siphon from Budapest flea market
9. Pile of new thrillers for review in the Financial Times.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Cheese and mushroom omelette, crusty French bread and tomato salad. Glass of red wine if it’s supper.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

1. Len Deighton
2. Scheherazade, narrator of the One Thousand and One Nights
3. John Reed, author of Ten Days That Shook the World
4. Charles McCarry
5. Boudicca
6. David Ben-Gurion
7. Winston Churchill

Six things you can't live without ...

1. My family
2. Darjeeling tea
3. London
4. Budapest
5. Walter Presents on Channel 4
6. Dark chocolate

Five favourite words ...

1. Zongora (Hungarian for piano)
2. Ashurbanipal (King of Assyria)
3. Yes
4. Luminescent
5. Indubitably

Four places you'd run away to ...

1. Budapest (I already did once)
2. Jaffa
3. Far, far north of Scotland
4. The Cote d’Azur

Three books you've bought recently ...

1. God Stand Up for Bastards by David Leitch
2. Escape from Hell: The True Story of the Auschwitz Protocol by Alfred Wetzler
3. The Mandelbaum Gate by Muriel Spark

Two things that make you rant ...

1. The amount of crime writers who start their books with gruesome murders of young women. Must Try Harder.
2. People who are rude to waiters, porters, secretaries, service staff

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

It’s all going to work out just fine