Peter Stark

Peter Stark

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, Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America's Founding Father (Ecco/Harpercollins, 2018) presents a new, brash, and unexpected view of our first president two decades before he led America to independence. His previous book, Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire; a Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2014) was a New York Times bestseller and PEN USA literary award finalist. More about Peter Stark’s books, articles, and contact information can be found at


Last Time Around

The author's father traveled the world, shipped out on the last commercial sailing voyage around Cape Horn, and handed down a legacy of adventure. But his risk-taking spirit had a dark side—and...

Peter Stark
Oct 1, 2003

A Trip is Born

The dream is a brand-new river route through a vast, primordial, wildlife-rich wonderland on the verge of environmental salvation. The reality is what happens when a small band of marginally...

Peter Stark
Mar 1, 2003

The Sting of the Assassin

In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance, Peter Stark combines true life science with chilling scenarios of fatal hazards in the...

Peter Stark
Jan 10, 2001

Tough Trips Guide

It's time you became the hero of your own high-adventure story. Time you put your courage to the test and proved you've got what it takes to frolic in the world's most fearsome places. We'll provide...

Tim Neville, William T. Vollmann, Eric Hansen, Peter Stark, Marc Peruzzi, Holly Morris, Mark Jenkins, Christopher Keyes, and Denis Johnson
Jun 1, 2000