McKay Jenkins has been writing about people and the natural world for 30 years. He the author of ContamiNation (Avery, 2016, previously published by Random House as What’s Gotten Into Us), which chronicles his investigation into the myriad synthetic chemicals we encounter in our daily lives, and the growing body of evidence about the harm these chemicals do to our bodies and the environment.
His book, Poison Spring (Bloomsbury, 2014), co-written with E.G. Vallianatos, has been called “a jaw-dropping expose´ of the catastrophic collusion between the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] and the chemical industry.” (Booklist, starred review)
His other books include Bloody Falls of the Coppermine: Madness and Murder in the Arctic Barren Lands (Random House, 2005), the true tale of a pair of French Catholic missionaries who were murdered in the Arctic by a pair of Inuit hunters, and the trial and troubling cultural consequencs of this strange and fascinating event.
His book The Last Ridge: The Epic Story of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and the Assault on Hitler’s Europe (Random House, 2003) tells the story of America’s most famous mountain soldiers. It recounts the division’s exploits training at high altitudes in Colorado and its heroic missions in the mountains of Italy during World War Two.
The White Death: Tragedy and Heroism in an Avalanche Zone (Random House, 2000) is the true story of five young mountaineers who, after setting out to make the first winter ascent of the highest peak in Montana’s Glacier National Park, were killed in a massive avalanche that led to one of the country’s largest search and rescue missions.
The South in Black and White: Race, Sex, and Literature in the 1940s (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1999) explores the influence of racial history and sexual mores on the literature of the American South in the decades immediately preceding the Civil Rights Movement.
Jenkins is also the editor of The Peter Matthiessen Reader (Vintage, 2000), an anthology of the American nature writer’s finest and most enduring nonfiction work.
Jenkins holds degrees from Amherst, Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, and Princeton, where he received a PhD in English. A former staff writer for the Atlanta Constitution, he has also written for Outside, Orion, The New Republic, and many other publications. Jenkins is currently the Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, Journalism and Environmental Humanities at the University of Delaware, where he has won the Excellence in Teaching Award. He lives in Baltimore with his family.