Charles Bowden

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Charles Bowden
Charles Bowden.png
Born(1945-07-20)July 20, 1945
DiedAugust 30, 2014(2014-08-30) (aged 69)
OccupationWriter, journalist
AwardsLannan Literary Award for Nonfiction

Charles Clyde Bowden (July 20, 1945 – August 30, 2014) was an American non-fiction author, journalist and essayist based in Las Cruces, New Mexico.[1]


He attended the University of Arizona and then the University of Wisconsin, where he obtained his master's degree in American intellectual history; while there he walked out as he was defending his dissertation for his doctorate, annoyed by the questions asked him by the review committee.[2] He was a writer for the Tucson Citizen and often wrote about the American Southwest. He was a contributing editor of GQ and Mother Jones magazine,[3] and wrote for other periodicals including Harper's Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, High Country News, and Aperture.

Bowden was the winner of the 1996 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction,[1] and a 2010 award from United States Artists.[4][5] He grew up in Chicago but lived most of his life in Tucson, Arizona.[6] He was known for his writings on the situation at the US–Mexico border and wrote often about the effects of the War on Drugs on the lives of the people in that region.[2]

He died in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on August 30, 2014, after a brief illness. He was survived by his son and two siblings.[2]

Selected works[edit]

  • The Impact of Energy Development on Water Resources in Arid Lands: Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography (Tucson: University of Arizona, Office of Arid Lands Studies, 1975)
  • Killing the Hidden Waters (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1977)
  • Street Signs Chicago: Neighborhood and Other Illusions of Big City Life / by Charles Bowden and Lew Kreinberg; photographs by Richard Younker; foreword by William Appleman Williams (Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 1981)
  • Blue Desert (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1986)
  • Frog Mountain Blues photographs by Jack W. Dykinga. (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1987)
  • Trust Me: Charles Keating and the Missing Billions (1988) with Michael Binstein
  • Mezcal (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1988)
  • Red Line (New York: Norton, 1989)
  • Desierto: Memories of the Future (1991)
  • The Sonoran Desert / photographs by Jack W. Dykinga; text by Charles Bowden. (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1992)
  • The Secret Forest / text by Charles Bowden; photographs by Jack W. Dykinga; introduction by Paul S. Martin (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1993)
  • Seasons of the Coyote: the Legend and Lore of an American Icon / essays by Charles Bowden et al. (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins West, 1994)
  • Frog Mountain Blues ; photographs by Jack W. Dykinga; with a new afterword by the author (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1994)
  • Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America (1995)
  • Chihuahua: Pictures From the Edge / photographs by Virgil Hancock; essay by Charles Bowden (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996)
  • Stone Canyons of the Colorado Plateau / photographs by Jack W. Dykinga; text by Charles Bowden (New York: Abrams, 1996)
  • The Sierra Pinacate / Julian D. Hayden; photographs by Jack Dykinga; with essays by Charles Bowden & Bernard L. Fontana (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1998)
  • Juárez: The Laboratory of our Future, preface by Noam Chomsky; afterword by Eduardo Galeano (1998)
  • Torch Song (essay) 1999
  • Paul Dickerson, 1961-1997 (essay by Charles Bowden; New York: American Fine Art Co., 2000)
  • Eugene Richards (New York, NY: Phaidon, 2001)
  • Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family (2002)
  • Blues for Cannibals (2002)
  • Killing the Hidden Waters [with a new introduction by the author] (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2003)
  • A Shadow in the City : Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior (2005)
  • Inferno (photographs by Michael P. Berman; Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2006)(winner of the Border Regional Library Association's Southwest Book Award)
  • Introduction. Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey, Penguin Books, 2006, pp. xiii-xix.
  • Exodus/Éxodo (text by Charles Bowden, photographs by Julián Cardona) (2008)
  • Kill the Messenger: How the CIA's Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb by Nick Schou; preface by Charles Bowden (2006)
  • Some of the Dead are Still Breathing: Living in the Future (2009)
  • Murder City: Ciudad Juárez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields (2010)
  • Dreamland: The Way Out of Juárez (2010); with illustrations by Alice Leora Briggs
  • El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin (2011) by Molly Molloy (Editor), Charles Bowden (Editor)
  • Dead When I Got Here: Asylum from the madness (2014); Executive Producer of Documentary in collaboration with Director/Producer Mark Aitken - deadwhenigothere.org


  1. ^ a b Diaz, Alex. "Charles Bowden - Lannan Foundation". www.lannan.org. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  2. ^ a b c Yardley, William (2014-09-03). "Charles Bowden, Author With Unblinking Eye on Southwest, Dies at 69". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  3. ^ "Charles Bowden". motherjones. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  4. ^ United States Artists Official Website Archived November 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Charles Bowden dies at 69; author known for writing on border issues". latimes.com. Retrieved 2016-04-08.
  6. ^ Grant, Richard. "A Sense of Chuck". Aeon (digital magazine). Retrieved 6 April 2015.

Archival sources[edit]

  • The Charles Bowden Papers 1947-2007 (50 linear feet) are housed at the Wittliff Collections, Texas State University in San Marcos.

External links[edit]