Marcus Rediker

I was born in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1951 to Buford and Faye Rediker, the first of their two sons.  I come from a working-class family, with roots in the mines and factories of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia; I grew up in Nashville and Richmond.  I attended Vanderbilt University, dropped out of school and worked in a factory for three years, then graduated with a B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1976.  I went to the University of Pennsylvania for graduate study, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in history.

I taught at Georgetown University from 1982 to 1994, lived in Moscow for a year (1984-5), and am currently Professor and Chair in the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh.

I have, over the years, been active in a variety of social justice and peace movements, most recently in the worldwide campaign to abolish the death penalty.

I am, by ancestry, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, and Cherokee; I am, by upbringing, a Southerner; I am, by generation, of the New Left; I am, by choice, a citizen of the world.

I have written (or co-written) five books: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), Who Built America? (1989), volume one; The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), Villains of All Nations (2004), and The Slave Ship: A Human History (2007).  It has been my good fortune to lecture throughout the United States and abroad in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Milan, Moscow, Sydney, and Tokyo; to have my writings translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish; and to hold fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Andrew P. Mellon Foundation. It has been my much greater good fortune to be married to Wendy Z. Goldman, a professor of Russian/Soviet history at Carnegie Mellon University. We have two children, Zeke and Eva, and a bulldog, Jellybean.