John Bowe (author)

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John Bowe (born 1964 in Minnesota) is an American author. He is a contributing writer for The New York Times. He has also written for The New Yorker, The American Prospect, GQ, McSweeney's, and This American Life. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Basquiat with Julian Schnabel.

Early life and education[edit]

He graduated from Minneapolis' Blake School in 1982, obtained an honors BA in English from the University of Minnesota in 1987 and earned an MFA in film from the Columbia University School of the Arts in 1996.

Bowe appeared on The Daily Show on September 24, 2007 to talk about his book Nobodies, which examines slavery in modern America.

Americans Talk About Love[edit]

Us: Americans Talk About Making Love is a selection of oral histories about sex.[citation needed] John Bowe collaborated with a team of interviewers and co-editors to record and collect the love stories of a diverse range of U.S citizens.[citation needed]


Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy is an examination of modern slavery in the United States, focusing particularly upon the widening gap between rich and poor, both in the US and globally, and what this means for notions of freedom in an era of “free trade”.[citation needed]

"Nobodies" first started as an article by John Bowe published in 2003 for both The New Yorker [1] and The Wall Street Journal.[2] Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor And the Dark Side of the New Global Economy was turned into a book and published in September 2007.[citation needed]

This book follows Bowe's journey and dangerous research, exclusive interviews, and eyewitness accounts; Nobodies takes readers inside three illegal workplaces where foreign employees are enslaved.[citation needed] This book exposes the subcontract, corporate duplicity, immigration fraud, and sleights of hand that allow forced labor to continue in the United States.[citation needed]

Bowe starts by telling the tale of those living in the fields of Immokalee, Florida where underpaid or unpaid these illegal workers pick the produce from companies such as Pepsi Company and Tropicana. Secondly, Bowe travels to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the John Pickle Company reaped profits for years making pressure tanks used by oil refineries and power plants. Lastly, in Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth for three years, 90 percent of their female population work sixty-hour weeks for $3.05 an hour and spend weekends trying to trade sex for green cards.[citation needed]

Nobodies has been named one of the best twenty books of 2007 by Village Voice.[citation needed]


Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs is an oral history based on Studs Terkel’s Working,[citation needed] offering a collection of 126 interviews from rich to poor, giving voice to the American labor force.[citation needed]


John Bowe is a recipient of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award[3] the Sydney Hillman Award for journalists, writers, and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy for the common good,[citation needed] the Richard J. Margolis Award, dedicated to journalism that combines social concern and humor,[citation needed] and the Harry Chapin Media Award[4] for reportage of hunger- and poverty-related issues.


External links[edit]