Michelle Dowd

Jul 26, 2023


Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult--A Memoir

Algonquin Books 2023

Today’s book is: Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult, published by Algonquin Books, and written by Michelle Dowd. Forager is a memoir which showcases Michelle’s life growing up on an isolated mountain in California as part of an apocalyptic cult, and how she found her way out of poverty and illness by drawing on the gifts of the wilderness.

Our guest is: Michelle Dowd, who is a journalism professor and contributor to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The LA Book Review, TIME Magazine, The Alpinist, ORION, LA Parent Mag, Catapult, and other publications. She was 2022 Faculty Lecturer of the Year at Chaffey College, where she founded the award-winning literary journal The Chaffey Review, advises Student Media, and teaches poetry and critical thinking in the California Institutions for Men and Women in Chino. She was a Longreads Top 5 for her article on the relationship between environmentalism and hope in The Alpinist, nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and her Modern Love column in The New York Times inspired a book contract. Michelle was raised on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest where she learned to identify flora and fauna, navigate by the stars, forage for edible plants, and care for the earth. She is the author of Forager: Field Notes on Surviving a Family Cult. Learn more about her at https://www.michelledowd.org/

Our show host and producer is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who holds a PhD in history, which she uses to explore what stories we tell and what happens to those we never tell. She has continuously served as the show host and producer of the Academic Life podcast since she launched it in 2020. Academic Life is proud to be an academic partner of the New Books Network.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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