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The newest book from the author who coined the phrase ‘baby-boomer’

“As the former head editor of People, Lanny Jones helped chronicle and invent the rise of celebrity culture. In this fun and insightful book, he explores the difference between celebrities and heroes, a distinction that is more important than ever in our age of Kardashians and Trumps.”

—Walter Isaacson, author of Elon Musk

Landon Y. Jones (Lanny)
is an American editor and author

His most recent book is Celebrity Nation: How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers, published in May 2023 by Beacon Press.

He is the former managing editor of People and Money magazines, author of the biography William Clark and the Shaping of the West, and editor of The Essential Lewis and Clark. In 1980, he published Great Expectations: America and the Baby Boom Generation, which was a finalist for the American Book Award in Nonfiction. In 2015, he received the Henry R. Luce Award for Lifetime Achievement from Time Inc.

Landon Jones
Photo by Lynn Donaldson

Celebrity Discussions

Articles about Celebrity Nation

The Face of Fame: Sinéad O’Connor and Prince Harry
by Stuart Mitchner (August 2, 2023)

Feeling Obsessed With Celebrities? Princeton Author Landon Jones Can Explain That
by Richard K. Rein (July 12, 2023)

How celebrity and fans reshape our world
by Sanjay Sipahimalani (July 1, 2023)

Landon Y. Jones’ “Celebrity Nation” 
by Matt R. Lohr (June 29, 2023)

How Do We Know Who We Are? 
by Sheila Kohler (June 26, 2023)

The three rules suitors had to follow if they wanted to dance with Princess Diana
by Rhiannon de Cann (June 26, 2023)

Famous for being famous – a review of Celebrity Nation.
by Edward Tenner (June 23, 2023)

The good, the bad and the ugly of celebrity memoirs.
by Jane Sullivan (June 23, 2023)

Lanny Jones delves deeper into celebrity

Landon Jones helped create a fame-obsessed culture. Now he has regrets
interview with Philip Drost  (July 30, 2023)

‘Beware of celebrity,’ warns former People magazine editor, a St. Louis native
interview with Jane Henderson  (July 7, 2023)

How America evolved into a culture of fans and followers
radio interview with RNZ (June 28, 2023)

Tracing a Path from Hero Worship to ‘Celebrity Nation’ with Landon Jones
interview with Dan Aubrey (June 28, 2023)

Author Landon Y. Jones discusses meeting Princess Diana and the evolution of celebrity
podcast interview with Kinsey Schofield (June 26, 2023)

Tracing the Evolution of Celebrity Memoirs, from Charles Lindbergh to Will Smith
by Landon Jones (May 9, 2023)

‘Celebrity Nation’: New Book Tracks How Celebrity Worship Took Over in the United States
by Landon Jones (May 1, 2023)

Landon Jones picks: The best books about how celebrity culture works and what it is doing to America today
by Landon Jones (April 2023)

Landon Jones at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington D.C.

May 12, 2023, archived in the C-SPAN library

Order Celebrity Nation from these online retailers, or purchase from your favorite local bookstore


“A disquieting, well-researched exploration of the celebrity phenomenon and its consequences for our society.”

Kirkus Reviews

“ Landon Jones is an expert on the rise of celebrity culture in this country and its troubling social costs. His mesmerizing book, revealing in unsettling detail how America’s addiction to celebrity has heightened its political and class divisions and weakened community and family ties, is a must read.”

—Lynne Olson, author of Empress of the Nile


“ The final arbiter of all matters celebrity in America.”

—Frank Rich, former columnist, the New York Times

“An irresistibly readable history and critique of our vertiginous celebrity culture … Witty, illuminating, filled with facts, entertaining but also disturbing, fully living up to its ambitious subtitle: ‘How America Evolved into a Culture of Fans and Followers.’

Whatever the latest curve is, Landon Jones seems to be ahead of it.”

– Joyce Carol Oates, author of Blonde


“ As the editor of People magazine during its early glory days, Landon Jones was present at the creation of the Celebrity Nation. He brings a sharp eye and deep understanding—as well as warmth and humor— to exploring a phenomenon that once seemed like an entertaining diversion but now threatens to consume us all.”

—Evan Thomas, author of First: Sandra Day O’Connor and Being Nixon