The S.S. United States was an ocean liner that was first launched for transatlantic travel in 1952; it was the fastest passenger ship ever built - it still holds the world record for an Atlantic crossing: 3 days, 10 hours and 42 minutes averaging 35.59 knots (65.48 km/hr or 40.96 mph). The ship was used for passenger service for 17 years; in 1966, my father, mother, brother and I used it to travel from New York to Bremerhaven, Germany, for the start of my Dad's military service. The ship was retired in 1969, but amazingly, it still survives, in a Philadelphia dry dock.
In September, 2005, I took a 1,000 mile bike tour in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, across the Taklamakan desert, which Marco Polo described as the most brutal and forbidding section of the Silk Road. This photo is the first I took; it links to a Flickr gallery of the whole trip (my story on the trip will be published in the April, 2006 issue of Men's Journal.)
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I've been a writer and journalist for over twenty years, publishing stories on nature, sports, the outdoors, and technology in national magazines. I'm a contributing editor at National Geographic Adventure, and am featured regularly in Popular Science, Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Backpacker, and Popular Mechanics magazines. I've written for the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Outside, Elle, Martha Stewart Living, and Audubon magazines, as well.
My most recent book is "To See Every Bird on Earth," which was published in 2005 by Hudson Street Press. Penguin UK published it in 2006, and the Plume paperback edition was also published in 2006. The book is about my father's quest to see each of the 9,000+ species of bird on the planet, and how that effort affected his life and the lives of those he loved.
Simon Winchester, author of "The Professor and the Madman" and "Krakatoa", described "To See Every Bird on Earth" this way: âMarvelous. I loved just about everything about this book.â The Independent (London) described it as â[A] tender, beautifully written account by an outstanding nature writer. . .â
My new book, "Banana," is about the troubled fate of the most important fruit in the world. Millions of people depend on bananas, not just as lunchbox treats, but for their basic nutritional needs. But now, disease is ravaging this ubiquitous - but strangely vulnerable - crop. "Banana" chronicles this history of the fruit, explaining why it has been so important, why the business of bananas has been so checkered (and sometimes even deadly), and most importantly, what makes the fruit weak - and what might make it strong again. "Banana" will be published on December 27, 2007, by Hudson Street Press.
I've also written for television and film, including an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" called "Inheritance." My favorite non-writing activity is mountain biking; I was inducted to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2003. I am also a referee for the Los Angeles Derby Dolls roller derby league. No kidding. I am a graduate of Hampshire College.
To reach me, convert this into a standard email address: info at bananabook dot org