Robert Stone was born in Brooklyn in 1937. His father abandoned his mother soon after his birth. His mother, a teacher, suffered from schizophrenia and was hospitalised when Stone was six. He stayed on at the boarding school he had been attending, though he was later expelled for trying to convert a fellow student to atheism. He joined the Navy and, after the Navy, became a journalist. He and his wife moved to New Orleans, where he worked various jobs and started writing his first novel. On the strength of the first thirty pages of the novel, he was given a fellowship to the Stanford creative writing program. While there, he met Ken Kesey and was involved in Kesey's early LSD experiments. Back in New York, where his wife was studying psychology, he finished his first novel, A Hall of Mirrors, which won an award and was made into a film. He went as a journalist to Vietnam, and used the material as a basis for his novel, Dog Soldiers. This and subsequent novels have focused a great deal on violence in society and taken a left-wing stance.