Hogeland’s first job after his morning paper route in South Brooklyn was playing five-string banjo in a steakhouse in Long Island, a position he held for three nights before being fired and starting work as a midtown-Manhattan foot messenger. Later employment included teaching literature, drywall and painting contracting, digital content strategy, and freelance writing for hire: ad copy, tech manuals, video scripts, telephone customer-service scripts (it’s true), bestselling ghostwritten books, thousands of liner notes for music reissues, and much, much more.
More importantly, to him: Hogeland writes his own books and essays, gives talks, and pursues other projects for print, stage, screen, and audio. He is best known as the author of the narrative-history trilogy Wild Early Republic — The Whiskey Rebellion (Simon and Schuster), Declaration (Simon and Schuster), and Autumn of the Black Snake (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) — as well as the expository work Founding Finance (University of Texas Press) and a collection of essays, Inventing American History (Boston Review Books/MIT Press). Yet he began his artistic career as a playwright and performer, with one-man shows at such venues as the Kitchen and Franklin Furnace and full-length plays staged-read and produced at the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Harold Clurman Theater, and elsewhere.
His first nonfiction work was the memoir Come All You Blackface Freaks and Hillwilliams, exploring the folk revival’s origins in the 19th-century minstrel stage and the racism in white immersion in roots music. Screen rights to his first novel, The Surrender of Washington Hansen, were optioned by Warner Brothers for a script by Joe Carnahan. Hogeland’s 1980’s play “Last Blue Yodel for the New New Man,” or, “Nineteen Eighty Five,” is available in a recently revised version, with a new preface that also serves as a kind of memoir. He is now working on “The Revenge of Queen Margaret,” a radical adaptation of a group of Shakespeare’s early history plays.
Born in Virginia and raised in Brooklyn, Hogeland was educated at Saint Ann’s and Oberlin. His work in founding American history reflects his interest in blending character-driven drama with a sharp dissent from the mode sometimes called “founder chic.” His books unearth stories of founding conflicts that are little discussed precisely because they’re elemental, sometimes to uncomfortable degrees. Written in an accessible style for general readers, even while challenging commonly held views of the founding period, the Wild Early Republic trilogy has been embraced by scholars of the period. Richard Beeman of the University of Pennsylvania calls Hogeland’s work “superb.” John Ferling of the University of West Virginia has called Hogeland “one of the best historians of early America” and described the trilogy as “pulsating and thought-provoking.” Gary Nash of the University of California described the first book in the trilogy as “the most compelling and dramatic rendering of the Whiskey Rebellion ever written” and a “must read”; the late Jesse Lemisch of John Jay College praised the portrait of John Adams in Declaration as “new. . . complex and nuanced”; and Kathleen Duval of the University of North Carolina calls Autumn of the Black Snake both “a rich and important book.”
Hogeland has published essays on history, music, and politics in The Atlantic Monthly, AlterNet, Salon, The New York Times, Boston Review, The Huffington Post, Lapham’s Quarterly, and elsewhere. In 2009, his essay “American Dreamers,” first published in Boston Review, was selected by Greil Marcus for the tenth anniversary edition of Da Capo’s Best Music Writing. Hogeland contributed the chapter on insurrections to A Blackwell Companion to American Military History and the chapter on Ron Chernow to Historians on Hamilton (Rutgers University Press). His next book, on the hardball moves Alexander Hamilton made in pursuit of his national finance plan is under contract to Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
A busy speaker on founding history — from the startling realities of Alexander Hamilton’s national plan of public finance to the unnamed first war the United States ever fought to the overlooked backroom politics that brought about the Declaration of Independence — Hogeland has given talks for many institutions and groups, including the National Archives, the Museum of American Finance History, Citrin Cooperman Accountants and Advisors, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (morning keynote, Aspen), Historic Philadelphia, the John Adams National Historic Park, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Kansas City Public Library, Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, the World Affairs Council of Dallas, the Society for American Music Annual Conference, the American Historical Association Annual Conference, CUNY’s Gotham Center, the Bostonian Society, and Kings County Distilling. He has served as a history consultant for “The Daily Show” and appeared on PBS TV “History Detectives,” CBS TV “Good Morning, America,” C-SPAN “Book TV,” PCN “PA Books,” “Salon’s Facebook Live,” Minnesota Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio, Texas Public Radio, Fox News Radio, and many other broadcast, cable, and online shows and channels.
Books and selected articles: https://williamhogeland.wordpress.com/work-published-elsewhere/
Copywriting, branding, content strategy, ghostwriting: https://www.linkedin.com/in/billhogeland/
Self-publishing venture: http://www.hogelandpublishing.com.
Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/William-Hogeland/108281879206433
Representation: Eric Lupfer, Fletcher & Company (firstname.lastname@example.org)