Montaigne, Fen 1952–
Montaigne, Fen 1952–
Born July 9, 1952, in NC; son of Gerald and Anne Montaigne; married Laurie Hays (an editor for the Wall Street Journal), April 17, 1982; children: Claire, Nuni. Education: Attended the University of Virginia.
Office—Pelham, NY. E-mail—[email protected]
Journalist. Former Moscow Bureau Chief for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing, 1995.
(With Oleg Kalugin) The First Directorate: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage against the West, St. Martin's Press/Dunne (New York, NY), 1994.
Hooked: Fly-fishing through Russia, Weidenfeld & Nicholson (London, England), 1998.
(With Stanley Williams) Surviving Galeras, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.
Medicine by Design: The Practice and Promise of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including National Geographic and Audubon.
Fen Montaigne, former Moscow Bureau Chief for the Philadelphia Inquirer, is responsible for two very different books with Russian themes. The First Directorate: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage against the West, published in 1994, was coauthored with former KGB agent Oleg Kalugin. Kalugin attended Columbia School of Journalism as a Fulbright scholar and had recruited his first spy before he graduated from college. The book contains many anecdotes by Kalugin, including his role in handling John Walker, the notorious U.S. counterspy, his involvement with the poison-pellet-in-the-umbrella assassination of Georgi Markov in London, and the fact that the KGB controlled the Russian Orthodox Church by controlling homosexual priests within its ranks. As related in the book, Kalugin eventually became disillusioned with the Soviet system and joined the reform movement. A Publishers Weekly critic called The First Directorate a "credible and compelling memoir." Gilbert Taylor, Booklist contributor, wrote that the book "will haul in all spy buffs."
In Hooked: Fly-fishing through Russia, published in 1998, Montaigne relates a three-month fly-fishing trip he took to post-Soviet Russia. The expedition covered seven thousand miles and ten time zones. In addition to fishing, Montaigne also recounts his experiences with the Russian people he meets and the adventures he endures, including being held up by female robbers on a train, fishing in canals built by fifteenth-century monks, and driving a brakeless truck through the Urals. A Kirkus Reviews critic praised Montaigne for his "journalist's eye for detail" and referred to the book as a "quiet, evocative ramble through the Russian countryside."
In 2001, Montaigne collaborated with scientist Stanley Williams to write Surviving Galeras. Williams was part of a team of researchers studying the Galeras volcano in Colombia in 1993 when it erupted, killing nine people. Williams, who was in charge of the exhibition, was severely injured in the eruption. In the book, the authors focus on the tragedy of that day but also write about the passion that has driven volcanologists to study volcanoes over the centuries. Williams also states that the eruption could not have been predicted, a point that other scientists on the expedition have contested in other publications. Overall, critics and readers responded positively to Surviving Galeras, finding it to be a crisply written and enthralling work about a tragic event. The book is an "enlightening piece of work," wrote Chris Barsanti in a review for Book. Others lauded Montaigne's skilled storytelling. Surviving Galeras is "artfully written," noted one Publishers Weekly contributor.
In 2006, Montaigne changed gears to focus on the world of biomedical engineering in Medicine by Design: The Practice and Promise of Biomedical Engineering. In the book he gives readers an overview of recent biomedical engineering breakthroughs in medicine, both simple and complex. He highlights both well-known experts in the field and new faces who bring with them limitless potential. He also chronicles patients who have benefited from biomedical practices currently being used. Medicine by Design was met with praise overall, with readers citing the author's ability to paint a well-balanced account of these medical advances. Montaigne remains "objective in describing the early failures of some of the devices," observed a critic in the SciTech Book News. Other readers simply found it to be an interesting and well-crafted account. Medicine by Design is a "fascinating story," stated Donna Chavez in a review for Booklist.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, January-February, 2007, Sharlini Sankaran, review of Medicine by Design: The Practice and Promise of Biomedical Engineering, p. 89.
Book, May, 2001, Chris Barsanti, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 74.
Booklist, August, 1994, Gilbert Taylor, review of The First Directorate: My Thirty-two Years in Intelligence and Espionage against the West, p. 2001; February 15, 2001, Donna Seaman, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 1082; April 15, 2006, Donna Chavez, review of Medicine by Design, p. 16.
Choice, October, 2006, M.R. King, review of Medicine by Design, p. 327.
Economist, September 12, 1998, review of Hooked: Fly-fishing through Russia, p. S8.
Foreign Policy, winter, 1996, review of The First Directorate, p. 179.
Geotimes, April, 2001, Wally Johnson, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 40.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1998, review of Hooked, p. 719.
Library Journal, September 1, 1994, Daniel K. Blewett, review of The First Directorate, p. 200; March 15, 2001, Jean E. Crampon, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 103; April 1, 2006, Dick Maxwell, review of Medicine by Design, p. 115.
Nature, May 3, 2001, William I. Rose, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 21.
New York Times Book Review, June 28, 1998, review of Hooked, p. 20; April 15, 2001, Tim Weiner, review of Surviving Galeras.
Publishers Weekly, July 11, 1994, review of The First Directorate, p. 69; May 11, 1998, review of Hooked, p. 61; March 19, 2001, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 88.
Science, April 27, 2001, Haraldur Sigurdsson, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 643.
SciTech Book News, June, 2006, review of Medicine by Design.
Times Higher Education Supplement, June 8, 2001, Clive Oppenheimer, review of Surviving Galeras, p. 25.
Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1998, review of Hooked, p. W12; April 20, 2001, "Sifting through the Ash," p. 12.