Mr. Bordewich has been an independent writer, historian, and journalist since the early 1970s. In 2015, he served as chairman of the awards committee for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize given by the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, resistance, and Abolition, at Yale University. He is a frequent public speaker at universities and other forums, as well as on radio and television. His articles have appeared in many national magazines and newspapers. His book reviews appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal. As a journalist, he traveled extensively in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa, writing on politics, economic issues, culture, and history. He also wrote the script for a PBS documentary about Thomas Jefferson and the founding of the University of Virginia: Mr. Jefferson's University. Mr. Bordewich is currently working on a book about the federal government’s struggle to defeat the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1870s. It will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in 2023. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Jean Parvin Bordewich, a playwright.
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 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2020); The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government (Simon & Schuster, 2016. Winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize); America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise that Preserved the Union (Simon&Schuster, 2012. Winner of the 2012 Los Angeles Times History Prize); Washington: The Making of the American Capital (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2008); Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad and the War for the Soul of America (Amistad/HarperCollins, 2005. Named one of the New York Public Library’s ten best books of 2005); My Mother's Ghost: A Memoir (Doubleday, 2001); Killing the White Man's Indian: Reinventing Native Americans at the End of the Twentieth Century (Doubleday, 1996); and Cathay: A Journey in Search of Old China (Prentice Hall Press, 1991).