HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Les Standiford

Best-Selling Author and Historian


  • Bringing Adam Walsh Home: Solving the Abduction that Changed America
  • The Man Who Invented Christmas: The Real Story Behind A Christmas Carol
  • Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Amazing Railroad that Crossed an Ocean
  • Best-Sellers 101: Five Steps to Success for All Writers
  • What I Stole from Hollywood: How the Movies Can Make You a Better Writer
  • To Hell With Sales and Marketing, Get Me Rewrite: How the Secrets of Best-Selling Writers Can Empower Your Organization



Les Standiford is the best-selling author of 20 books, including the novels Bone Key and Havana Run, and the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean; Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits (a New York Times Editors' Choice book); and most recently, Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America (Ecco). His sought-after keynote lectures at organizations from universities to historical clubs focus on subjects ranging from his research into famous historical figures to advice on how to become a best-selling author.

The abduction that changed America forever, the 1981 kidnapping and murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh -- son of John Walsh, host of the Fox TV series America's Most Wanted -- in Hollywood, Florida, was a crime that went unsolved for a quarter of a century. Standiford offers, in Bringing Adam Home and in his presentations, a harrowing account of the terrible crime and its dramatic consequences, the emotional story of a father and mother's efforts to seek justice and resolve the loss of their child, and a compelling portrait of Miami Beach Homicide Detective Joe Matthews, whose unwavering dedication brought the Adam Walsh case to its resolution.

Standiford has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A native Ohioan, he is a graduate of Muskingum College and holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He is Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami, where he lives with his wife and their two children.

Praise for Bringing Adam Home:

"Les Standiford's account of the decades-long attempt to solve the murder of Adam Walsh is chilling, heartbreaking, hopeful, and as relentlessly suspenseful as anything I've ever read. A triumph in every way."
-- Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River

"The most significant missing child case since the Lindbergh' s... A taut, compelling and often touching book about a long march to justice."
-- Scott Turow, author of Presumed Innocent

"I didn't live far from the mall where Adam Walsh was kidnapped. I remember that story as if it were yesterday. It terrified me as a kid. But it's the details that Les Standiford has found that terrify me as an adult. Insightful, horrifying, and just beautifully written."
-- Brad Meltzer, author of The Book of Fate

"Bringing Adam Home is a maddening, terrifying and ultimately triumphant book. Les Standiford explores the injustice and finally justice surrounding the murder of Adam Walsh. You will cry and rage but you will not be able to put this book down until you finish it. My God! What a book!"
-- Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle

Praise for Washington Burning:

"A sprightly account of the city's founding and its sacking by the British in 1814 by an accomplished armchair historian ... Standiford does a fine job bringing the urgency of these events alive."
-- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Man Who Invented Christmas:

"Standiford deftly traces the many influences in Dickens's life that led to and followed that momentous event, weaving an entertaining tale that will delight Dickens and Christmas lovers alike."
-- Library Journal