Peter Stark was born in Wisconsin to an adventurous and outdoorsy family and began traveling when young in canoes, on skis, and also by more conventional means. He received a bachelor’s degree in English and anthropology from Dartmouth College and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. After a brief stint in newspapers, and based in Missoula, Montana, he went on to work as a full-time freelance writer specializing in subjects on the outdoors and adventure, exploration history, wilderness and indigenous peoples, and the physiology of the human body under extreme stress.
His articles have appeared in Outside (where he is a long-time correspondent), Smithsonian, The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Men’s Journal and many other publications. His books include Driving to Greenland (essays about the Arctic, 1994); Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance (Ballantine Books, 2001); At the Mercy of the River: An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness (Ballantine, 2005); and The Last Empty Places: A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map (Ballantine, 2010).
His most recent book, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire; a Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival, tells the harrowing tale of the quest to settle a Jamestown-like colony on the Pacific Coast and will be published in March 2014 by Ecco/HarperCollins. More about Peter Stark’s books, articles and contact information can be found at peterstarkauthor.com.
The Cold, Hard Facts of Freezing to Death