Koch, Peter O. 1953-

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Koch, Peter O. 1953-


Born October 7, 1953, in Anchorage, AK; son of Otto A. (a police officer) and Alice M. Jones; married Abelene B. Lugay; children: Eric, Alexander, Sara. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Attended high school.


Home—6200 Everglades Dr., Alexandria, VA 22312.


Writer. First American Bank, Arlington, VA, assistant branch manager, 1977-86; worked as branch manager of banks in Washington, DC, 1986-90; Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, Tysons Corner, warehouse worker, 1990-2000; Harris Tecter, Falls Church, VA, store accountant, 2000—.


To the Ends of the Earth: The Age of the European Explorers, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2003.

The Aztecs, the Conquistadors, and the Making of Mexican Culture, McFarland (Jefferson, NC), 2005.


Peter O. Koch told CA: "My first book, To the Ends of the Earth: The Age of the European Explorers, was motivated by a desire to dispel many of the old myths and modern prejudices that have succeeded in distorting the truth about the European explorers who dared to go where others feared to tread. While there have certainly been many excellent biographies published about the individual explorers of this era, there are few books that tell the collective story of the numerous explorers who ventured forth during this epic period. Most of these explorers were born to the same generation, and a great many sailed together on voyages of discovery. Therein lies the story within the story, for it was these joint ventures and shared experiences that ultimately led to the discovery of new lands and unknown civilizations. Beginning with the worldly vision of Prince Henry the Navigator and concluding with the epic quest of Ferdinand Magellan, this book tells of the daring exploits, the great triumphs, and the terrible tragedies that befell the many bold explorers who sought to discover a route to the splendid treasures of the Far East. This work also examines the political, social, and economic factors that ushered in the age of exploration and that had such an impact upon the explorers' lives.

"The Aztecs, the Conquistadors, and the Making of Mexican Culture benefited greatly from a trip to Mexico, where I had an opportunity to tour the ancient ruins of Tulum, Chichen Itza, Cholula, Teotihuacan, and Tenochtitlan, the latter of which is still buried beneath Mexico City. These studies also led me to the National Museum of Anthropology at Mexico City, one of the truly great museums of the world, where I had an opportunity to observe many of the Mesoamerican artifacts mentioned in this story and obtain a number of unique books on Aztec history and mythology.

"While there are a number of historians, both past and present, whose works I have admired, I must confess a particular fondness for William H. Prescott. It was his classic works on the conquests of Mexico and Peru that aroused my interest in the pre-Columbian cultures of the Americas."