Journalist and historian Marc Leepson is the author of nine books.
They include: Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Army Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler (2017); What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life (2014); Lafayette: Lessons in Leadership from the Idealist General (2011); Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Know Civil War Battle Saved Washington, D.C., and Changed American History (2007), Flag: An American Biography (2005), and Saving Monticello: The Levy Family’s Epic Quest to Rescue the House that Jefferson Built (2001). He edited the Webster’s New World Dictionary of the Vietnam War (1998).
A former staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, he has been a full-time free-lance writer since 1986. He has written for many publications, including the Washington Post, New York Times, New York Times Book Review, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Smithsonian, Military History, Civil War Times, and Preservation Magazines, the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Encyclopedia Americana, and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography.
He is senior writer, arts editor, and columnist for The VVA Veteran, the magazine published by Vietnam Veterans of America.
He has been a guest on many television and radio news programs, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, On the Media, Talk of the Nation, CBS This Morning, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, The History Detectives (PBS), The History Channel, CBC (Canada), The BBC NewsHour, RTV-1 (Russian television) and Irish Radio.
He has given talks at many colleges and universities, including the University of Maryland, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Miami, Mary Washington University, Sweet Brian College, Longwood University, Appalachian State University, the College of Southern Maryland and Georgetown University.
After graduating from George Washington University in 1967, he was then drafted into the U.S. Army and served for two years, including a year in the Vietnam War. After his military service, he earned an MA in history from GWU in 1971.
He taught U.S. history at Lord Fairfax Community College in Warrenton, Virginia from 2008-2015, and lives in Middleburg, Virginia.
Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler
The rough-and-tumble life of Special Forces vet and Sixties pop star Barry Sadler
The top Billboard Hot 100 single of 1966 wasn’t The Rolling Stones' “Paint It Black” or the Beatles' “Yellow Submarine.” It was “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” a hyper-patriotic tribute to the men of the Special Forces by Vietnam veteran, U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler. But Sadler’s clean-cut, all-American image hid a darker side, a Hunter Thompson-esque life of booze, girls, and guns. Unable to score another hit song, he wrote a string of popular pulp fiction paperbacks that made “Rambo look like a stroll through Disneyland.” He killed a lover’s ex-boyfriend in Tennessee. Settling in Central America, Sadler ran guns, allegedly trained guerrillas, provided medical care to residents, and caroused at his villa. In 1988 he was shot in the head in Guatemala and died a year later. This life-and-times biography of an American pop culture phenomenon recounts the sensational details of Sadler’s life vividly but soberly, setting his meteoric rise and tragic fall against the big picture of American society and culture during and after the Vietnam War.
What So Proudly We Hailed: Francis Scott Key, A Life2014
Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Known Civil War Battle Saved Washington, D.C., and Changed American History2007
Flag: An American Biography2005
Saving Monticello: The Levy Family's Epic Quest to Rescue the House that Jefferson Built2001 (hardcover), 2003 (paperback)
Awards and Recognition
- Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, 2011