Arthur Allen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1981 and began doing journalism as a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press. He covered the war in El Salvador for three years and was based in Germany in the early 1990s. Since 1995 he has been writing articles and books, mostly about science and medicine, for publications such as The Washington Post, Science, Smithsonian, Landscape Architecture, The New Republic and Slate.com. His 2007 book Vaccine was the first major U.S. work to examine the anti-vaccine movement, and he has written many articles about the science and anthropology of vaccines. In 2010 he published Ripe, a foray into the world of tomato breeding, genetics, culture and food snobbism, which allowed him to spend time in southern Italy, Mexico and western China. Allen's life and work have taught him to distrust absolutisms, despite their appeal. He found great inspiration in the life and philosophy of Ludwik Fleck, one of two central characters in his latest book. Allen lives in Washington, DC, with his wife, Margaret Talbot, son Ike and daughter Lucy.