Calonius, Erik

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Calonius, Erik

PERSONAL:

Education: Columbia University, master's degree.

ADDRESSES:

E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, journalist, and editor. Served as London-based foreign correspondent for the Wall St. Journal; a staff writer for Fortune magazine; and Miami bureau chief for Newsweek.

WRITINGS:

The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Journalist Erik Calonius got the idea for his book The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails when he saw a photograph of the ship and a brief explanation of its historical importance at a small museum on Jekyll Island off the coast of Georgia. Intrigued by the fact that the ship had imported slaves from Africa to the Island in 1858, fifty years after the U.S. Congress had prohibited the importation of slaves, Calonius set out to investigate the story further. In his book, the author recounts how an illegal slave trade continued well after slave trading was outlawed in 1808. He then details how the pleasure yacht The Wanderer was used to smuggle 400 slaves from Africa and how those responsible for illegal slave trading were arrested and eventually brought to court in a trial that gained nationwide headlines. As for The Wanderer, it became a Union gunboat during the Civil War. Writing in Booklist, Vernon Ford noted that the author "brings to life this extraordinary story from the luxurious yacht-club salons to Southern courtrooms and the Congo. "Other reviewers also praised the book. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote: "This is fast-paced narrative history, and Calonius has a terrific eye for atmospheric details." In the Washington Times, Kimberly Palmer called The Wanderer "a compelling and heartrending record of a journey that helped push the nation to the brink of the Civil War."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Vernon Ford, review of The Wanderer: The Last American Slave Ship and the Conspiracy That Set Its Sails, p. 30.

Library Journal, September 15, 2006, Dan Forrest, review of The Wanderer, p. 71.

Publishers Weekly, July 10, 2006, review of The Wanderer, p. 67.

Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2006, review of The Wanderer.

School Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Matthew L. Moffett, review of The Wanderer, p. 165.

Washington Times, September 24, 2006, Kimberly Palmer, review of The Wanderer.

ONLINE

Mayborn Institute Literary Nonfiction Writers Conference of the Southwest Web site,http://mayborninstitute.unt.edu/conference/speakers.htm (May 14, 2007), brief profile of author.

The Wanderer Web site,http://www.uswanderer.com (May 14, 2007).