Don Winslow was born on October 31, 1953, in New York City, the son of U.S. Navy noncommissioned officer Don Winslow, Sr., and librarian Ottis Schevrmann Winslow. Because of his father’s occupation, Winslow moved frequently when he was a child. He grew up primarily in Warwick, near Providence, and in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. As a youngster, he performed in theater and voiced radio commercials.
In the early 1970’s, Winslow attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring first in journalism and later in African history, and directed a theater company. During his junior year in college, he worked as a researcher at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and freelanced as a newspaper reporter. Winslow also surreptitiously brought in funds for TEACH—an educational organization in Soweto banned by the apartheid government—an action that led to his arrest and deportation. He afterward traveled around southern Africa for a time before returning home to complete his bachelor’s degree.
Following graduation, Winslow directed a theater company for two years, then moved to rural Idaho, where he herded cattle. Winslow relocated to New York City, where he managed movie theaters for three years then worked at a detective agency as an undercover operative investigating theft at a chain of theaters. For the same agency, he was also engaged in operations in London and Amsterdam. The work led to employment with the Institute for...
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