Born January 8, 1935, in San Francisco, California; educated at the Hotchkiss School, Yale University (B.A., 1956) and Cambridge University; newspaper reporter for The San Francisco Examiner (1957-1959) and for The New York Herald Tribune (1960-1962); managing editor of Harper's Magazine (1971-1975); editor of Harper's Magazine (1976-1981 and 1983-present). Syndicated newspaper columnist (1981-1987).
Mr. Lapham is the author of several books of essays (Fortune's Child, Money and Class in America, Imperial Masquerade, Hotel America, Waiting for the Barbarians and Theater of War) which have prompted the New York Times to liken him to H. L. Mencken, Vanity Fair to suggest a strong resemblance to Mark Twain, and Tom Wolfe to compare him to Montaigne. His most recent book, Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy, was published by The Penguin Press in 2004.
Lapham writes a monthly essay for Harper's Magazine called "Notebook." He won a 1995 National Magazine Award for three of those essays, in which the judges discovered "an exhilarating point of view in an age of conformity." He has also written for Life, Commentary, National Review, The Yale Literary Magazine, Elle, Fortune, Forbes, The American Spectator, Vanity Fair, Travel and Leisure Golf, Golf Digest, Parade, Channels, Maclean's, The London Observer, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Lapham has lectured at many of the nation's leading universities, among them Yale, Princeton, Stanford and the Universities of Michigan, Virginia and Oregon. He is a frequent guest on television and radio talk shows both in the United States and in England, France, Canada, Germany and Australia. He was the host and author of the six-part documentary series "America's Century," broadcast on public television in the United States and in England on Channel Four in the autumn of 1989. Between 1989 and 1991 he was the host and Executive Editor of "Bookmark," a weekly public television series seen on over 150 stations nationwide. Lapham is a member of The Council on Foreign Relations, The Century Club, the Advisory Council to the New School University and Chair of the Board for The Americans for Libraries Council. He lives in New York City.