- 760 ratings
- January 10th 2006
(first published April 1st 2005)
Fergus M. Bordewich
- Born: in New York , The United States.
- Description: FERGUS M. BORDEWICH is the author of eight non-fiction books: "Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America"; "The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government" (awarded the Hardeman Prize in American History, in 2019); "America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas and the Compromise that Preserved the Union" (winner of the Los Angeles Times award for best history book, in 2013); "Washington: The Making of the American Capital" (named by the Washington Post as one f the best books of 2008); "Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America (named by the American Booksellers' Association as one of the ten best books of 2005)"; "My Mother’s Ghost," a memoir; "Killing the White Man’s Indian: Reinventing Native Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century"; and "Cathay: A Journey in Search of Old China." He has also published an illustrated children’s book, "Peach Blossom Spring" and has written the script for a PBS documentary about Thomas Jefferson, "Mr. Jefferson’s University." He also edited an photo-illustrated book of eyewitness accounts of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, "Children of the Dragon." He regularly reviews books for the Wall Street Journal. His articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, TIME Magazine, American Heritage, Smithsonian Magazine, the Civil War Monitor, and many other publications. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Jean Parvin Bordewich.
BORDEWICH WAS BORN in New York City in 1947, and grew up in Yonkers, New York. While growing up, he often traveled to Indian reservations around the United States with his mother, LaVerne Madigan Bordewich, the executive director of the Association on American Indian Affairs, then the only independent advocacy organization for Native Americans. This early experience helped to shape his lifelong preoccupation with American history, the settlement of the continent, and issues of race, poverty, and political power. He holds degrees from the City College of New York and Columbia University. In the late 1960s, he did voter registration for the NAACP in the still-segregated South; he also worked as a roustabout in Alaska’s Arctic oil fields, a taxi driver in New York City, and a deckhand on a Norwegian freighter.
He has been an independent writer and historian since the early 1970s. As a journalist, he traveled extensively in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, writing on politics, economic issues, culture, and history, on subjects including Islamic fundamentalism, the plight of the Kurds in northern Iraq, civil war in Burma, religious repression in China, Kenya’s population crisis, German Reunification, the peace settlement in Ireland, and other issues. He also served for brief periods as an editor and writer for the Tehran Journal in Iran, in 1972-1973, a press officer for the United Nations, and an advisor to the New China News Agency in Beijing, in 1982-1983, when that agency was embarking on its effort to move from a propaganda model toward a western-style journalistic one.