about

Who am I, and what have I done?

Well, I wrote Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig (Basic Books, 2015) and Edison & the Electric Chair (Walker & Co., 2003). I’ve contributed to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Atlas Obscura, and Gravy, the magazine of the Southern Foodways Alliance (an organization that holds excellent conferences and commissions good work; you should join). I spent an unhealthy number of years in school (U.Va., Cornell) before fleeing with a doctorate in history. I’ve worked at burger joints, bookstores, coffee shops, and daily newspapers. Because writing history books is a lousy way to make a living, I now spend many of my working hours ghost-writing and editing books and technical reports about science, medicine, and farming. I’ve even developed a speciality in what’s called climate-smart agriculture, a fascinating and terrifying and hopeful field. I grew up in St. Louis and now live in Asheville, North Carolina, a small city with nice hiking trails and an affordable housing problem.

You can e-mail me by clicking here.
You can also find me on Twitter: @mark_essig

Here I am with Gucci, my favorite boar at the Warren Wilson College farm:

photo by John Fletcher