Biography of Nat B. Read
Nat Read is a public relations practitioner, author, songwriter and stand-up comic.
Through his public relations consultancy, Read Communications, he provides counsel on government relations and crisis management.
He is the author of Don Benito Wilson: From Mountain Man to Mayor, Los Angeles 1841 to 1878; The Jonathan Club Story; and Poet Cop.
He wrote the lyrics to Shadows Among Us, a tribute to veterans.
He grew up in Dallas, graduating from Highland Park High School. While in high school he was cast in a rock ‘n roll movie and appeared as a super in the New York Metropolitan Opera. He earned a history degree from Austin College. While in college he was selected as one of 72 American students for the US-USSR Student Cultural Exchange Program and spent the summer of 1960 in the Soviet Union.
He served as a line officer in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1965, on two ships, USS Regulus (AF-57) and USS Tulare (AKA-112). In the Naval Reserve following active duty he was a public affairs officer, and retired as a Captain. On active duty he was in the Tonkin Gulf during the Tonkin Gulf Incident, the trigger event for the escalation of the conflict into its larger American involvement. On reserve duty he was recalled to active duty during the Six Day War in the Mideast in 1967, was part of the first Inaugural of President Richard Nixon and toured the Antarctic, including the South Pole, to write about the Navy’s involvement there.
He drove a Chicago taxi after college waiting for his call-up to Officer Candidate School. After the Navy he made his living as a free lance cartoonist, then as an advertising copywriter for Standard Rate & Data Service. He was a public relations executive with Sears, Roebuck and Co. for 17 years, serving as National PR Director for Men’s Fashions, National PR Director for Home Furnishings and Regional Director for Public Relations for California, Nevada and Hawaii.
In 1983 he left Sears to become an officer and Vice President – Public Relations for American High Speed Rail Corporation, which was planning a “Bullet Train” between Los Angeles and San Diego. After that company folded, he opened his own public relations agency, Read Communications, in Pasadena, in 1985.
He was a line reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department where he worked patrol in Northeast Division, gang suppression in South Los Angeles, a foot beat in Downtown Los Angeles and undercover vice in Hollywood.
His writing has appeared in dozens of national and regional publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping, Boy’s Life, Reader’s Digest, Leatherneck, Denver Post, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine and many others.
As a stand-up comic he has appeared on the stages of such clubs as the Comedy Store, Improv and Ice House and has traveled throughout the Western United States and Canada performing for conventions and large corporate gatherings. He is a frequent emcee for non-profit events.
He is married to Linda Read and has a daughter, Debbie West, M.D., and son, Kevin Sobel-Read, an attorney.