Michael Hastings was born in Burlington, Vermont on January 28, 1980. He graduated from New York University in 2002. At the age of 25, Newsweek assigned him to cover the war in Iraq. While there, he lost his girlfriend, Andi Parhamovich, who died in an ambush by Sunni extremists. Shortly after returning home, he turned his Iraq experiences and Parhamovich's death into a draft of the book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad. He later became a reporter for Rolling Stone and the website BuzzFeed. During his career, he wrote an expose of American drone attacks, interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and looked at the Army's use of "psychological operations" to influence sitting senators. His 2010 Rolling Stone profile of General Stanley McChrystal, The Runaway General, exposed the general and his staff's disdain for their superiors, ranging from National Security Advisor James L. Jones to Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama. He won the George Polk Award for magazine reporting and later wrote a book about McChrystal and his time in the war zone entitled The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan. He also reported on the presidential campaigns of 2008 and 2012. He died in a car crash on June 18, 2013 at the age of 33.