McKay JenkinsMcKay Jenkins has been writing and teaching about the environment and social justice for 30 years. His new book, co-edited with Sue Barton, is The Delaware Naturalist Handbook, published in 2020 by University of Delaware Press. The book, written for a general audience, has chapters on everything from environmental justice and watershed ecology to entomology, climate science and nature photography. It also serves as the curriculum and primary text for Delaware’s statewide Master Naturalist Certification Program, which Jenkins helped design, currently training hundreds of ecological restoration volunteers every year.

He is also the author of Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet (Avery, an imprint of PenguinRandomHouse, 2017), which examines the ways our local and industrial food systems continue to be impacted by technology and the interface between corporations and government policy.

Jenkins is also the author of ContamiNation  (Avery, 2016, previously published in hardcover 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.

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 gender politics 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 University’s Excellence in Teaching Award and both the Excellence in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Baltimore with his family.

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  1. […] morning. Yesterday I began my Intro to Journalism course at the University of Delaware taught by McKay Jenkins. Within the first ten minutes of class time I knew that I’m going to take a lot away from this […]

  2. […] McKay Jenkins: writer, author of “Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet”* […]

  3. […] would not surprise McKay Jenkins, whose book, Poison Spring  (Bloomsbury, 2014), co-written with E.G. Vallianatos, has been […]

  4. […] Victor Bennett (center) and University of Delaware Professor, writer and local environmentalist, McKay Jenkins […]

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