William Langewiesche (pronounced:long-gah-vee-shuh) (born June 12, 1955) is an American author and journalist who was also a professional airplane pilot for many years. Since 2006 he has been the international correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine and in 2019 was named a writer-at-large for the New York Times Magazine.
William Langewiesche is currently the international correspondent for the magazine Vanity Fair, a position he has held since 2006. Prior to that, he was the national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly magazine where he was nominated for eight consecutive National Magazine Awards. He has written articles covering a wide range of topics from shipbreaking, wine critics, the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, modern ocean piracy, nuclear proliferation, and the World Trade Center cleanup.
Langewiesche grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, and attended college in California, where he received a degree in cultural anthropology from Stanford University. He spent much of his time on various jobs flying airplanes, a skill he had acquired because of his family background.
After college Langewiesche moved to New York City and went to work as a writer for Flying, a large-circulation publication for general aviation pilots. While there he wrote technical reports on the flight characteristics of various airplanes, and profiles of people. In his mid-twenties, he quit the job in order to write books—one non-fiction, and two novels—none of which were published.
He continued to travel and write, supporting himself by flying airplanes. The travels eventually took Langewiesche to the most remote parts of the Sahara desert and sub-Saharan West Africa. This became the subject of a cover story for The Atlantic Monthly, in 1991, and later of a book titled Sahara Unveiled. The Atlantic sent Langewiesche to many parts of the world and increasingly into conflict zones. In 2006, while living in Baghdad to cover the Iraq war, Langewiesche left The Atlantic and went to work for Vanity Fair.
After the attacks of 9/11, Langewiesche was the only journalist given full unrestricted access to the World Trade Center site. He stayed there for nearly six months and produced "American Ground", a serialized report in The Atlantic Monthly. "American Ground" became a New York Times national bestselling book.
Langewiesche's 2007 article "Jungle Law" involved him in the controversy surrounding Chevron Corporation and Steven R. Donziger.
Langewiesche is the son of Wolfgang Langewiesche, author of Stick and Rudder. He lives in New York and France.
- 2007 National Magazine Award for Public Interest for Rules of Engagement
- 2002 National Magazine Award for Reporting for The Crash of EgyptAir 990
- 2008 National Magazine Award for Reporting for City of Fear
- 2007 Michael Kelly Award.
- 2006 National Magazine Award for Reporting for The Wrath of Khan
- 2005 Lettre Ulysses Award for The Outlaw Sea
- 2005 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for A Sea Story
- 2004 National Magazine Award for Reporting for Columbia's Last Flight
- 2004 Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage for American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center
- 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center
- 2002 National Book Critic's Circle Award for American Ground: Unbuilding The World Trade Center
- 2001 National Magazine Award for Profiles for The Million-Dollar Nose
- 2000 National Magazine Award for Profiles for Eden: A Gated Community
- 1999 National Magazine Award for Reporting for The Lessons of ValuJet 592
- 1992 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing for The World in Its Extreme