Writer and diplomat Conor Cruise O'Brien was born in Dublin, Ireland on November 3, 1917. He studied history at Trinity College and found a job in the civil service. While working as a civil servant, he wrote two books Maria Cross (1952) and Parnell and His Party (1957). As a diplomat, he focused on creating an independent position for Ireland in the United Nations and played a critical role in the United Nations intervention in Congo in 1961. In 1969, he won a seat in Ireland's Parliament. He also was editor in chief of The Observer and was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, and The Irish Independent. He wrote numerous books throughout his lifetime including To Katanga and Back, The Great Melody, Memoir: My Life and Themes, and The Long Affair. He died on December 18, 2008 at the age of 91.