Colin Woodard

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Colin Woodard (born December 3, 1968[1]) is an American journalist and writer, known for his books American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America (2011), The Republic of Pirates (2007), and The Lobster Coast (2004), a cultural and environmental history of coastal Maine.


Woodard graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. and completed his M.A. in international relations at the University of Chicago. In 1999 he was a Pew Fellow in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. In 2021 he was named a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University. He lives outside Portland, Maine.[2]


Woodard is the author of six works of non-fiction. His first book, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas, appeared in 2000. His most recent, Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood was published in the spring of 2020 and named a Christian Science Monitor Book of the Year.[3]

He is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the "Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy" at Salve Regina University[4] and State & National Affairs Writer at the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram. He received a 2012 George Polk Award for an investigative project he did for those papers[5] and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting for a series on climate change and the Gulf of Maine.[6] He received a 2004 Jane Bagley Lehman Award for Public Advocacy (for his global environmental reporting), the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-Fiction (for American Nations), the 2016 Maine Literary Award for Non-Fiction (for American Character) and a Pew Fellowship in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Woodard was also a finalist for the 2016 Chautauqua Prize (for American Character) and for a Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism in both 2013 and 2014.[7][8] In 2014, The Washington Post named him one of the "Best State Capitol Reporters in America"[9] and the Maine Press Association chose him as Journalist of the Year.[10]

His third book, The New York Times bestseller[11] The Republic of Pirates, was the basis of the 2014 NBC drama Crossbones, written by Neil Cross and starring John Malkovich.[12] Woodard was also a historical consultant for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which was also set in the time period covered in Republic of Pirates.[13]

He was a long-time foreign correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, and has reported from more than fifty foreign countries and seven continents, from postings in Budapest, Hungary; Zagreb, Croatia; Washington, D.C.; and the US–Mexico border. His work has appeared in dozens of publications including The Economist, The New York Times, Smithsonian, The Washington Post, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Bloomberg View, The Guardian, Washington Monthly, and Down East, where he was a contributing editor. He is currently a contributing editor at Politico.

His book Union was released in 2020. Iowa Public Radio said "At a time of extreme political polarization, Colin Woodard's latest book seems more pertinent than ever."[14] Loyola's Commonweal Magazine reviewed the book and called it "a fast-paced, character-centered narrative" but questioned its lack of women's voices.[15] The Washington Post called the book "an unusual but engaging collective biography."[16]

Selected works[edit]

  • Ocean's End: Travel through Endangered Seas, Basic Books, 2000, ISBN 978-0465015719 ; Chinese edition: Yiwen, 2002, ISBN 978-7532728022
  • The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier, Viking, 2004, ISBN 978-0143035343
  • The Republic of Pirates: Being The True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, Harcourt, 2007, ISBN 978-0156034623; UK edition: Pan MacMillan, 2014, ISBN 978-1447243939 ; Spanish edition: Critica, 2008, ISBN 978-8484321323 ; Danish edition: Borgens Forlag, 2008, ISBN 978-8721031985; Polish edition: SQN, 2014, ISBN 978-83-79242337; Portuguese edition: Novo Seculo, 2014, ISBN 978-8542802771; Hungarian edition: Könyvmolyképző Kiadó, 2014, ISBN 978-9633739808; Simplified Chinese edition: Social Sciences Academic Press, 2016, ISBN 978-7509794227; Complex Chinese edition: Cite/Business Weekly, 2015, ISBN 978-9866032769; Lithuanian edition: Leidykla Briedis, 2021, ISBN 978-9955268345; Japanese edition: Panorolling, 2021, ISBN 978-4775942512
  • American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, Viking, 2011, ISBN 978-0143122029 ; Korean edition, Geulhangari Publishers, 2017, ISBN 978-8967354329; Japanese edition, Iwanami Shoten, 2017, ISBN 978-4000220972
  • American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good, Viking, 2016, ISBN 978-0525427896
  • Union: The Struggle to Forge the Story of United States Nationhood, Viking, 2020, ISBN 978-0525560159

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Woodard, Colin 1968– In: Contemporary Authors, Gale, 2008 (online copy HighBeam Research)
  2. ^ "Woodard, Colin — International Reporting Project". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  3. ^ "The best nonfiction books of 2020 offer wisdom and insight". Christian Science Monitor. 9 December 2020.
  4. ^ "Colin Woodard Named Visiting Senior Fellow at Salve Regina University's Pell Center". Pell Center, 14 December 2021.
  5. ^ "'Extraordinarily reported': Congratulations to Colin Woodard, 2012 Polk Award winner" The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram
  6. ^ "Finalist: Colin Woodard of Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram". The Pulitzer Prizes. 2016.
  7. ^ Colin Woodard
  8. ^ "2013 Gerald Loeb Award Finalists Announced by UCLA Anderson School of Management"The Wall Street Journal Archived December 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "The best state capitol reporters in America". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Edward D. Murphy (October 18, 2014). "Press Herald/Telegram sweeps Maine journalism awards". Portland Press-Herald.
  11. ^ "Best Sellers - the New York Times". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2014-11-24.
  12. ^ John Malkovich to Play Blackbeard in NBC Pirate Drama Series 'Crossbones' – Hollywood Reporter
  13. ^ Miller, Mark, "The True History of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag", Game Informer, 22 March 2013.
  14. ^ "Colin Woodard's "Union" Questions Myths Of National Unity". Iowa Public Radio. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  15. ^ "The History Wars | Commonweal Magazine". Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  16. ^ "Review | 'Union' tells the origin story of the United States through 19th-century voices". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-03-21.

External links[edit]