Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Paul Hendrickson  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1944 in Fresno,California

-- Website --
-- Paul Hendrickson on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Hendrickson was raised in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Paul Hendrickson was born in California but grew up in the Midwest and in a Catholic seminary in the Deep South, where he studied seven years for the missionary priesthood. This became the subject of his first book, published in 1983, ''Seminary: A Search''. Since 1998 he has been on the faculty of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania. For two decades before that he was a staff writer at The Washington Post. He has been the recipient of writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lyndhurst Foundation, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation. In 2009 he was a joint visiting professor of documentary practice at Duke University and of American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.Hendrickson has presented at the National Book Festival in Washington DC. A link to his webcast is below: *[ 2012 Book Festival Webcast]He currently resides outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Looking For The Light: The Hidden Life and Art of Marion Post Wolcott
ISBN: 0394577299

Knopf. 1992

A celebration of the life and work of the twentieth-century photographer discusses her studies in Europe, her free-lance career in the United States, her depiction of a Depression-ravaged America, and her decision to abandon her career to raise a family.

The Living and the Dead: Robert McNamara and Five Lives of a Lost War
ISBN: 067978117X

Vintage. 1997

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

Finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism

"Meticulous in detail, epic in scope, psychologically sophisticated and spiritually rich, it ranks with The Best and the Brightest and All the President's Men."
--San Francisco Chronicle

More than the two presidents he served or the 58,000 soldiers who died for his policies, Robert McNamara was the official face of Vietnam, the technocrat with steel-rimmed glasses and an ironclad faith in numbers who kept insisting that the war was winnable long after he had ceased to believe it was. This brilliantly insightful, morally devastating book tells us why he believed, how he lost faith, and what his deceptions cost five of the war's witnesses and McNamara himself.

In The Living and the Dead, Paul Hendrickson juxtaposes McNamara's story with those of a wounded Marine, an Army nurse, a Vietnamese refugee, a Quaker who burned himself to death to protest the war, and an enraged artist who tried to kill the man he saw as the war's architect. The result is a book whose exhaustive research and imaginative power turn history into an act of reckoning, damning and profoundly sympathetic, impossible to put down and impossible to forget.

"A masterpiece. . . . [Hendrickson] has a gift with language that most writers can only dream about. "
--Philadelphia Inquirer

"Approaches Shakespearian tragedy."
--The New York Times Book Review

Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy
ISBN: 0375704256

Vintage. 2004

They stand as unselfconscious as if the photograph were being taken at a church picnic and not during one of the pitched battles of the civil rights struggle. None of them knows that the image will appear in Life magazine or that it will become an icon of its era. The year is 1962, and these seven white Mississippi lawmen have gathered to stop James Meredith from integrating the University of Mississippi. One of them is swinging a billy club.

More than thirty years later, award-winning journalist and author Paul Hendrickson sets out to discover who these men were, what happened to them after the photograph was taken, and how racist attitudes shaped the way they lived their lives. But his ultimate focus is on their children and grandchildren, and how the prejudice bequeathed by the fathers was transformed, or remained untouched, in the sons. Sons of Mississippi is a scalding yet redemptive work of social history, a book of eloquence and subtlely that tracks the movement of racism across three generations and bears witness to its ravages among both black and white Americans.

Bound for Glory: America in Color 1939-43
ISBN: 0810943484

Harry N. Abrams. 2004

An array of 180 full-color photographs from the Library of Congress's Farm Security Administration collection, taken by FSA photographers from 1939 to 1943, creates a vivid portrait of America as it began to emerge from the Great Depression and prepared to fight World War II.

Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost
ISBN: 1400075351

Vintage. 2012

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

A brilliantly conceived and illuminating reconsideration of a key period in the life of Ernest Hemingway that will forever change the way he is perceived
and understood.

Focusing on the years 1934 to 1961—from Hemingway’s pinnacle as the reigning monarch of American letters until his suicide—Paul Hendrickson traces the writer's exultations and despair around the one constant in his life during this time: his beloved boat, Pilar.

Drawing on previously unpublished material, including interviews with Hemingway's sons, Hendrickson shows that for all the writer's boorishness, depression and alcoholism, and despite his choleric anger, he was capable of remarkable generosity—to struggling writers, to lost souls, to the dying son of a friend. Hemingway's Boat is both stunningly original and deeply gripping, an invaluable contribution to our understanding of this great American writer, published fifty years after his death.


Looking for the Light

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)