Born in Washington, DC. Education: Attended Dartmouth College.
Home—Mount Gretna, PA.
Writer. Outside magazine, correspondent, 1990—.
Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.
Contributor to periodicals, including Rolling Stone, Bicycling, Men's Health, Washington Post, Men's Journal, and Slate.
Outdoors writer Bill Gifford has been a longtime correspondent for Outside magazine. In his first book, Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer, Gifford writes about an explorer, John Led- yard, who is little known today but was greatly admired in his time by such men as U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called Ledyard "an enthusiastic account," adding that "Gifford clearly relishes the chance to retrace his idol's steps." The author recounts Ledyard's wide range of adventures, from sailing with Captain Cook on his last voyage of exploration to getting arrested by Catherine the Great's men and expelled from Russia and its seas. By the 1820s, Ledyard was a renowned explorer considered among the pantheon of American personalities of the day. Among his most famous expeditions described in the book are treks across North America and into the unexplored regions of Africa. Along with Ledyard's story, the author also recounts through journal excerpts his own adventures while researching the book. Candice Millard, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted that the biography "makes an important contribution to the existing literature through its personal approach to Ledyard's life." Booklist contributor George Cohen wrote that "this rich and immensely detailed biography brings this obscure explorer to life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2006, George Cohen, review of Ledyard: In Search of the First American Explorer, p. 18.
Internet Bookwatch, March, 2007, review of Ledyard.
Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2006, review of Ledyard, p. 1160.
Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Ingrid Levin, review of Ledyard, p. 118.
New York Tiimes Book Review, February 18, 2007, Candice Millard, "Hard Traveler," review of Ledyard.
Publishers Weekly, October 16, 2006, review of Ledyard, p. 42.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2007, review of Ledyard.
Armchair Interviews,http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/ (October 9, 2007), Sharron Stockhausen, review of Ledyard.
Bill Gifford Home Page,http://www.billgifford.com (October 7, 2007).
Outside,http://outside.away.com/ (October 7, 2007), brief profile of author.