New Book by Stewart Slavin “With or Without the Camel”

Stewart Slavin was yell leader, and Lany Tyler,  who was featured in the book, “What Ever Happened to the Class of ‘65?”

Stewart Slavin, perhaps one of the gutsiest people to graduate from Palisades High School, made news even as he reported on it from the far corners of the globe.

Slavin was the third editor-in-chief of the PaliHi student newspaper The Tideline in 1963-1964 before embarking on a career as a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for United Press International.

He was asked how growing up in the idyllic Palisades had prepared him.

In a May 20 email to CTN, he said “growing up in the insulated environment of Rustic Canyon and Palisades left me ill-prepared to face the challenges ahead — the Vietnam War, civil rights, drugs …

“Reporters and foreign correspondents are supposed to report the news, not wind up in the headlines themselves,” Slavin said. “But that’s exactly what happened to me during a 21-year-career with the UPI.”

Slavin released his book on Amazon on May 10, With or Without Camel: Reporting from India, Atlantis, the Santa Barbara Jail. The Kindle version will be available May 23.

After Pali, Slavin went to UCLA where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature in 1969. Upon graduation, he immediately went to work for UPI’s Los Angeles bureau, covering local stories.

“I was thrown in jail in Santa Barbara covering a bank-burning student riot in 1970,” he said, noting that Governor Ronald Reagan said Slavin was “lucky he was captured by the good guys” when he was arrested and jailed in Isla Vista.

Slavin also covered the 1970 disappearance of Howard Hughes from Las Vegas, the Charles Manson trial, the 1971 Los Angeles/Sylmar Earthquake and the shootout between police and captors of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.

“I was surprised to learn I had discovered traces of the lost continent of Atlantis, as was reported in an announcement from Cadiz, Spain, in 1973, and then was chased out of that country by Generalisimo Franco’s Navy,” Slavin said.

In 1978, he was appointed bureau manager in San Diego. Four years later he was posted to the Asia-Pacific region.

“I was kicked out of a country for reporting on the outbreak of civil war in Sri Lanka in 1983,” Slavin said, noting that his story sparked an outcry from neighboring India.

Six years later, the 41-year-old was appointed manager of UPI’s Tokyo bureau and chief correspondent for North Asia, and later UPI Vice President for Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong.

By September of the same year, Slavin was named New Delhi bureau manager and chief correspondent for South Asia.

He was in India, during one of the most turbulent periods in that country’s history that included the October 31, 1984, assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by Sikh extremists.

Slavin also reported on the chemical leak from a Union Carbide plant at Bhopal, India, in December 1984 that killed more than 2,000 people.

And at the Khyber Pass overlooking Afghanistan, where Alexander the Great once strode, Slavin had a verbal sparring match with former President Nixon click here.

“Yes, life would have been much easer with cell phones and internet in my early days as a reporter and foreign correspondent,” Slavin said, and added “when I went into Afghanistan in disguise with the mujahadeen in 1985 during the Soviet occupation, and was later arrested and held by Pakistani authorities for several days on my way out, I was incommunicado for a week with my employers at UPI who had no idea where I was.”

If Slavin wasn’t in the headlines, his pet tarantula, Crazy Legs, and baby camel Kim, were.

“Kim got an invitation from the Dalai Lama to visit him at his home in exile in the foothills of the Himalayas,” Slavin said.

Stewart Slavin’s camel Kim received an invitation from the Dalai Lama.

About his book, “I welcome you on a journey through a bygone era of journalism when reporters banged out stories on typewriters and foreign correspondents occasionally wore trench coats.”

Given his experiences, he was asked, “How were you so gutsy?”

“I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy,” Slavin said, “but, when a big story comes along like interviewing the Dalai Lama, I view it as I have a job to do, and I’m credentialed to do it.

Stewart Slavin with the Dalai Lama.

“I take on a different persona – I just don’t have the cape and tights,” Slavin said, but added “At the 50th Pali reunion of the class of ’64 in 2019, I was one of the organizers and played the role of Clark Kent, complete with a fedora and trench coat.”

Slavin, who has relocated to North Carolina, will release a second book in June, Memory-Go-Round — Ride of a Lifetime. In that picture-filled volume Slavin relives his memories of growing up in Pacific Palisades and the Westside.

That book also features mini histories and personality profiles of Hollywood stars, restaurants, music and events that will especially resonate with baby boomers. Readers will find stories on the Hot Dog Show, the House of Lee and the town’s celebrity mayors among many others.

Most Palisadians will agree with resident Wendy Anderson who said, “I can’t wait to read that one!”

Stewart Slavin rides atop a bi-plane at an air show in San Diego.

This entry was posted in Books. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to New Book by Stewart Slavin “With or Without the Camel”

  1. K.C. Soll says:

    ’64 was quite a class…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *