Marcus Rediker born in Owensboro, Kentucky, in 1951, to Buford and Faye Rediker, the first of their two sons. He comes from a working-class family, with roots in the mines and factories of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia; he grew up in Nashville and Richmond. He attended Vanderbilt University, dropped out of school and worked in a factory for three years, and graduated with a B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1976. He went to the University of Pennsylvania for graduate study, earning an M.A. and Ph.D. in history. Marcus taught at Georgetown University from 1982 to 1994, lived in Moscow for a year (1984-5), and is currently Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh.
Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh and Senior Research Fellow at the Global South(s) Chair, in the Collège d'études mondiales. He has, over the years, been active in a variety of social justice and peace movements, most recently in the worldwide campaign to abolish the death penalty. He is, by ancestry, Welsh, Scottish, Dutch, and Cherokee; he is, by upbringing, a Southerner; by generation, of the New Left; by choice, a citizen of the world.
His nine books have won numerous prizes and appeared in fourteen languages. His most recent book is Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail (Beacon Press, 2014). He recently completed a book about Benjamin Lay (1682-1759), a Quaker dwarf who became the first revolutionary abolitionist. He is also the producer of an award-winning documentary film, Ghosts of Amistad, directed by Tony Buba, a chronicle of a trip to Sierra Leone in which he interviewed village elders about local memory of the case and searched for the long-lost ruins of Lomboko, the slave trading factory from which the Amistad Africans were loaded aboard slave ships and sent to the New World. Learn more.
- Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700–1750 (1987)
- Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s Economy, Politics, Culture, and Society, Volume 1 (1989)
- avec Peter Linebaugh: The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (2000)
- Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (2004)
- editor with Emma Christopher and Cassandra Pybus: Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World (2007)
- The Slave Ship: A Human History (2007)
- The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (2012)
- Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail (2015)
- Les Forçats de la Mer : Marins, marchands et pirates dans le monde anglo-américain (1700-1750) [« Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the Anglo-American Maritime World, 1700–1750 »], Libertalia, 2010, 451 p. (ISBN 978-2918059011)
- L'hydre aux mille têtes : L'histoire cachée de l'Atlantique révolutionnaire [« The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners, and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic »], Éditions Amsterdam, 2008, 519 p. (ISBN 978-2354800369)
- Pirates de tous les pays [« Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age »], Libertalia, 2011, 278 p. (ISBN 978-2952829274)
- A bord du négrier : Une histoire atlantique de la traite [« The Slave Ship: A Human History »], Seuil, 2013, 548 p. (ISBN 978-2021092905)
- Les Révoltés de l'Amistad : Une odyssée atlantique (1839-1842) [« The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom »], Seuil, 2015, 416 p. (ISBN 978-2021213164)