He started writing for The New York Times while still an undergraduate at Columbia College. He spent five years there as a reporter on the Metro staff, covering City Hall, the environment, and State Supreme Court, among other beats. He then became the press critic at Newsweek for two years. After a brief stint writing about media and publishing for The Wall Street Journal , he wrote his first book, 1968 In America , which was published in 1988. The Gay Metropolis was first published in 1997. Both of them are available from Grove Press. The Cost of Courage, about one French family in the Resistance in Paris during World War II, was published by Other Press in 2015, when it won the Grand Prize of the Paris Book Festival. An American paperback and a French edition from Seuil will appear in the spring of 2017.