Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Nina Burleigh  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Nina Burleigh on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Burleigh was born in Chicago. She has a Master's degree in English Literature from the University of Chicago, and a Master's in Public Affairs Reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Biographical and Professional Information

Nina Burleigh is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of six books. Her journalism career began by covering the Illinois Statehouse in Springfield, Illinois for the Associated Press. Today, she writes ''The Bombshell'' column at ''The New York Observer'' and has written for numerous publications including ''Rolling Stone'', ''Businessweek'', ''The New Yorker'', ''Time'', ''New York'' and ''The New York Times''. Burleigh currently resides in New York and is a an adjunct professor at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has lectured around the United States, in Italy, and in Mexico.

Published Works

  • A Very Private Woman: The Life and Unsolved Murder of Presidential Mistress Mary Meyer, Bantam Doubleday, 1998
  • The Stranger and the Statesman: James Smithson, John Quincy Adams, and the Making of America's Greatest Museum: The Smithsonian, William Morrow, 2003
  • Mirage: Napoleon's Scientists and the Unveiling of Egypt, Harper Collins, 2007
  • Mirage, Harper Collins, 2008
  • Unholy Business: A True Tale of Faith, Greed and Forgery in the Holy Land, Harper Collins, 2008
  • The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Trials of Amanda Knox, Broadway Books, 2012

Selected Titles At Your Library

A very private woman :
ISBN: 0553380516. OCLC Number:

Bantam Books,. New York :. 1999.

As the wife of a top CIA official and mistress to President John F. Kennedy, Mary Meyer "knew things." Was that why she was murdered? Journalist Nina Burleigh attempts to answer this question as she explores Meyer's links to such notables as spymaster James Angleton and LSD guru Timothy Leary in this fascinating account of the life and death of a very private woman.--From publisher description.

The stranger and the statesman :
ISBN: 0060002417. OCLC Number:

Morrow,. New York :. ©2003.

"In 1829, a wealthy English naturalist named James Smithson left his library, mineral collection, and entire fortune to the "United States of America, to found ... an establishment for the increase & diffusion of Knowledge among men"--Even though he had never visited the United States or known any Americans. In this book, Burleigh pieces together the reclusive benefactor's life, beginning with his origins in the splendidly dissipated eighteenth-century aristocracy as the Paris-born bastard son of the first Duke of Northumberland and a wild adventuress who preserved for her son a fortune through gall and determination." "After Smithson's death, nineteenth-century American politicans were given the task of securing his half-million dollars - the equivalent today of fifty million - and then trying to determine how to increase and diffuse knowledge from the muddy, brawling new city of Washington. Burleigh discloses how Smithson's bequest was nearly lost due to fierce battles among many clashing Americans - Southern slavers, state's rights advocates, nation-builders, corrupt frontiersmen, and Anglophobes who argued over whether a gift from an Englishman should even be accepted. She also reveals the efforts of the unsung heroes, mainly former president John Quincy Adams, whose tireless efforts finally saw Smithson's curious notion realized in 1846, with a castle housing the United States' first and greatest cultural and scientific establishment."--Jacket.

Mirage :
ISBN: 0060597682. OCLC Number:

Harper,. New York :. ©2007.

Two centuries ago, only the most reckless Europeans dared traverse the Middle East. Its history and peoples were the subject of myth and speculation--and no region aroused greater interest than Egypt. It was not until 1798, when an unlikely band of scientific explorers traveled from Paris to the Nile Valley, that Westerners received their first real glimpse of what lay beyond the Mediterranean. Under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, a small corps of Paris's brightest left the safety of their laboratories, studios, and classrooms to embark into the unknown--some never to see French shores again. Over 150 astronomers, mathematicians, naturalists, physicists, doctors, chemists, engineers, botanists, artists--even a poet and a musicologist--accompanied Napoleon's troops into Egypt. They approached the land not as colonizers, but as experts in their fields of scholarship, meticulously categorizing and collecting their finds, and secured their place in history as the world's earliest-known archaeologists.--From publisher description.

Unholy business :
ISBN: 0061458457. OCLC Number:

Smithsonian Books/Collins,. New York :. ©2008.

In 2002, an ancient limestone box called the James Ossuary was trumpeted on front pages as the first material evidence of the existence of Jesus Christ. Today it is exhibit A in a forgery trial involving millions of dollars worth of high-end Biblical-era relics, which could lead to the incarceration of some very wealthy men and embarrass major international institutions, including the British Museum and Sotheby's. Set in Israel, with its 30,000 archaeological digs crammed with biblical-era artifacts, and full of colorful characters--scholars, evangelicals, detectives, and millionaire collectors--this book tells the story of what Israeli authorities have called "the fraud of the century." It takes readers into the murky world of Holy Land relic dealing, from the back alleys of Jerusalem's Old City to New York's Fifth Avenue, and reveals biblical archaeology as it is pulled apart by religious believers on one side and scientists on the other.--From publisher description.

The fatal gift of beauty :
ISBN: 0307588599. OCLC Number:

Broadway Paperbacks ;. New York :. 2012.


In 2008,


was selected as

The New York Times

as an editors' choice and won the Society of Women Educators' Award.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

Random House contact is Rachel Rokicki - 212 782 8455