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I've been a freelance journalist for 40 years. My current project is for Mariner Books (HarperCollins) about Joseph C. Grew, United States ambassador to Japan from 1932 to 1942. In 2019 the National Endowment for the Humanities gave me a grant through its Public Scholar Program to support the research and writing.


My most recent book, A Splendid Savage: the Restless Life of Frederick Russell Burnham (W. W. Norton, 2016), is the biography of a man once world-famous as "the American scout."

My previous book, A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles Through Islamic Africa (W. W. Norton, 2012), is about Heinrich Barth, one of Africa's greatest explorers yet nearly forgotten today. The book is a nonfiction historical adventure that recreates Barth’s incredible five-year, 10,000 mile journey in the 1850s. The Boston Globe named Labyrinth one of the best nonfiction books of 2012.

My first book, Code Name Ginger: the Story Behind Segway and Dean Kamen's Quest to Invent a New World (Harvard Business School Press, 2003), was selected by Barnes & Noble for its Discover Great New Writers award. Harper published the paperback under the title Reinventing the Wheel: a Story of Genius, Innovation, and Grand Ambition.


Other credits: Smithsonian, National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Wall Street Journal, Yankee, National Wildlife, The Ecologist, Plenty, BBC Wildlife, and many other magazines and newspapers.

I have been an adjunct professor at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and also taught writing and journalism at Fairfield University.

I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. After graduating from the University of Detroit, I taught literature and writing at the University of Connecticut while earning a Ph.D. I've received several awards for my work, as well as a grant from the W. Alton Jones Foundation for an environmental investigation in Bolivia.

I live in West Hartford, Connecticut, with my wife Judith Kaufman, a studio goldsmith.