• blue·stock·ing noun \-ˌstä-kiŋ\
    : an educated woman who is interested in books and ideas

  • we started a magazine

    When a pandemic upended life as we know it, Susan Zakin founded Journal of the Plague Year. The magazine, an inspired mashup of analytical journalism and creative writing, attracted talented writers (Steve Erickson, Mikal Gilmore, Blanche McCrary Boyd, J.C. Hallman, Luisita López Torregrosa) and an enthusiastic following.

     

    And, hey, it helps to have a captive audience. Read more here.

  • recent essays

    After ten years living part-time in Africa, I came back to the United States with a new but not particularly optimistic perspective. I saw the country--my country--engaging in a dangerous flirtation with becoming a failed state. These stories examine facets of America's version of what's now been recognized as a global phenomenon.

  • 2020

    America's Death Tango with State Failure

    2018

    WHY AMERICA’S BEST POLITICAL NOVELIST IS REQUIRED READING:

    On the Prescience of Ward Just

    2018

    The Pro-Environment Republican Trying to Take Down Liz Cheney

    2017

    Hurricane Harvey and the End of the Administrative State

  • Archives

    September 6, 2017 · Archive,desert,California,Off-road vehicles,Environment
    “We’re the bad people who are ruining the earth.” I smile. He smiles. He looks like Sam Peckinpah, road-worn and grizzled. His friend is younger, a Brad Pitt lookalike stalled out east of Hollywood. The Southern California desert always reminds me of Charlie Manson and I am alone with two...
    Read more...
    October 9, 2013 · Archive,immigration,US-Mexico border,Mexico,global trade
    “Don’t touch it!” Don Barnett shouted. The former Cochise County, Arizona sheriff’s deputy was acting as if I’d reached for the stuffed polar bear in his living room. For a second, I wondered if my arm might have moved without my conscious command. I’d been writing for hunting and fishing...
    Read more...
    December 26, 2012 · Archive,Christmas,Inequality,Movies,Wall Street
    During the December holidays I usually feel the urge to watch old black and white movies, preferably those starring Jimmy Stewart. This year, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is too painful, a reminder of what we used to be but aren’t anymore. I gravitated, instead, to “The Philadelphia Story” with its...
    Read more...
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  • Coyotes and Town Dogs: Earth First! and the Environmental Movement

    The Cult Classic, Updated and Revised

    When Dave Foreman and his environmentalist friends decided to bring a novel about eco sabotage in the Southwest to life, they never thought they'd attracted thousands of followers. Earth First! was America's radical movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Inspired by the work of conservation biologists, the hippie cowboys (and cowgirls) of Earth First! sounded the alarm on the extinction crisis -- and galvanized a generation with their vision of an Edenic continent where buffalo darkened the Great Plains and passenger pigeons crowded the sky. With their take-no-prisoners approach to activism, it was inevitable that they would attract the notice of the FBI, but history has shown that, more often than not, the guerrilla theater radicals were right about the severity of the threat to the world's natural systems. This new edition is significantly updated, with a new afterword by the author.

    Noteworthy and Almost New

    Waiting for Charlie: Mercenary Soldiers, Failed States and the Love That Means More Than Money

    Ebook available on Amazon and Kobo

    Trade paperback is out! Amazon and Barnes and Noble

    "...in the tone and style of the best work of the great travel writers, Bruce Chatwin, Paul Theroux and Eric Newby's "A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush," only the focus is Africa, which it captures with brilliant insight."

     

    William Thatcher Dowell, Africa correspondent, Time magazine, NBC News

    Hurricane Season: What Katrina Means for America

    Available as a Kindle Single Amazon $3.99

    "Hurricane Season is such a good read about New Orleans and Louisiana, capturing its decadence, its history and pathos. But it also tells the lessons of Katrina that are so badly needed today as Houston and the Gulf Coast climb out of the floodwaters and into a future of change and uncertainty."

     

    Rocky Barker, author, Scorched Earth: How the Yellowstone Fires Changed America

    Susan is a world-class reporter, writer and editor whom I was privileged to edit during my tenure as deputy editor of the LA Weekly. Susan is the epitome of a journalist -- a seeker of truth who cuts no corners and tells stories an engaging, creative, lively fashion that makes readers want to follow where she is taking us.

     

    Joe Donnelly, LA Weekly, Slake, Mission and State

    As editor of the anthology, Naked, Zakin worked with a variety of talent, including T. C. Boyle to Carl Hiaasen. Zakin was impressive in her ability to walk the author through a series of line edits that would improve the story and do so without causing the writer to run screaming from the building in despair.

     

    Jack Hitt, contributor to This American Life, author of Bunch of Amateurs, former editor Harper's

  • Anthologies and essays

          Naked: Writers Uncover the

    Way We Live on Earth

     

     

    Through fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, this edgy anthology could have been titled "The New Environmental Writing" as Tom Wolfe once dubbed an anthology "New Journalism." Accomplished writers selected include Zakin herself, who deals with the desert, divorce and more in "Tierra Incognita"; Edward Abbey, whose unpublished letters are annotated by Zakin; and Elizabeth Royte, who spent part of a pregnancy in the wilds of Panama.


    —Publisher's Weekly

    In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster

    Jordan's poetic images are accompanied by clarion essays by environmental writers Bill McKibben and Susan Zakin, making this an execeptionally artistic and thought-provoking response to a never-to-be-forgotten calamity. 

    Booklist
     

    In "A Fallen Corner of the World" Zakin shuffles together a psychological anatomy lesson on New Orleans and an elegy for it —a clever, intuitive meditation that should be required reading on these subjects.

    The Simon

  • Contact

    In Sierra Leone researching The Afterlife of Victor Kamara.

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