Lourie, Peter (King) 1952-
LOURIE, Peter (King) 1952-
PERSONAL: Born February 3, 1952, in Ann Arbor, MI; son of Donold King (a lawyer and writer) and Nancy Groves (maiden name, Clement; present surname, Stout) Lourie; married Melissa Stern (an actress and producer), May 2, 1988; children: Suzanna, Walker. Education: New York University, B.A., 1975; University of Maine—Orono, M.A., 1978; attended Cuernavaca Language School, 1978; Columbia University, M.F.A., 1989.
CAREER: Educator, lecturer, and author of nonfiction. Nairobi National Museum, Nairobi, Kenya, assistant to Margaret Leakey at Centre for Prehistory, 1971; American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, guide in Hall of the American Indian, 1971; British Museum, London, England, assistant to curator of Greek coins, 1974; Colegio Americano, Quito, Ecuador, instructor in English as a second language, 1979-80; Dutchess Community College, Poughkeepsie, NY, adjunct lecturer in English composition and literature, 1984-89; Masters School, Dobbs Ferry, CT, writing teacher and director of Dobbs Writers Conference, 1989-91; University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, instructor in travel writing, 1992, director of summer writing program, 1994-95.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Authors League of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
AWARDS, HONORS: Magazine Merit Award, Honor Certificate for nonfiction, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, 1990; Best Books for the Teen Age selection, New York Public Library, 1993, for Yukon River: An Adventure to the Gold Fields of the Klondike; John Burroughs Nature Book for Young Readers selection, John Burroughs Association, 1994, for Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass; Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, Children's Book Council/National Council for the Social Studies, 1995, for Everglades, and 2002, for Rio Grande: From the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.
Amazon: A Young Reader's Look at the Last Frontier, illustrated by Marcos Santilli, Caroline House (Honesdale, PA), 1991.
(And illustrator) Hudson River: An Adventure from theMountains to the Sea, Caroline House (Honesdale, PA), 1992.
(And illustrator) Yukon River: An Adventure to theGold Fields of the Klondike, Caroline House (Honesdale, PA), 1992.
Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1994.
Erie Canal: Canoeing America's Great Waterway, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1994.
The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd (novel), illustrated by Michael Chandler, Shawangunk Press (Wappingers Falls, NY), 1996.
In the Path of Lewis and Clark: Traveling the Missouri, Silver Burdett Press (Parsippany, NJ), 1997.
Lost Treasure of the Inca, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 1999.
Mississippi River: A Journey down the Father of Waters, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2000.
The Mystery of the Maya: Uncovering the Lost City ofPalenque, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2001.
On the Trail of Sacagawea, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2001.
On the Trail of Lewis and Clark: A Journey up theMissouri River, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2002.
Tierra del Fuego: A Journey to the End of the World, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2002.
The Lost World of the Anasazi: Exploring the Mysteries of Chaco Canyon, Boyds Mills Press (Honesdale, PA), 2003.
Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: A Chronicle of an Incan Treasure (for adults), Atheneum (New York, NY), 1991.
River of Mountains: A Canoe Journey down the Hudson (for adults), Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1995.
Contributor of articles to magazines, including Highlights for Children, Parenting, Diversion, Treasure, South American Explorer, and American Photographer. Contributor of weekly column to Putnam County News and Recorder, 1985-87.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter Lourie's nonfiction books, based on his fascination with waterways, his many travels, and his training as an anthropologist, frequently highlight his concern for the environment, his love of nature, and his fascination with the history of exploration. Several of his books for young readers, including In the Path of Lewis and Clark: Traveling the Missouri and On the Trail of Sacagawea, present Lourie's personal experiences while following the trail of the eighteenth-century explorers who first ventured into the northwestern United States. Interested readers can also explore the history and panorama of the Hudson, Mississippi, and Rio Grande rivers as they join the canoeist-author along these major North American waterways. In a another work taken from the perspective of someone at water level, Erie Canal: Canoeing America's Great Waterway focuses on the results of early nineteenth-century efforts to engineer an artificial river connecting Lake Erie with the Hudson River.
A longtime traveler, Lourie began his career as the author of book-length travelogues with 1991's Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: A Chronicle of an Incan Treasure. While a graduate student working in Ecuador during the 1980s, Lourie had become fascinated by local legends about caches of Inca treasure supposedly hidden by persecuted natives from the invading Spanish conquistadors during the 1500s. Intrigued by stories of a cache of gold intended by the Incas to ransom their leader Atahualpa but instead hidden in the Llanganita mountains following Atahualpa's murder at the hands of Francisco Pizarro, Lourie let gold fever get the better of him and began his own hunt for treasure. His account of this failed effort makes for "not only intriguing history, but [also] a great read that both parent and child should enjoy," according to Knight-Ridder/Tribune writer Sue Corbett. John Maxwell Hamilton wrote in the New York Times Book Review that although Lourie "captures the discomfort, dreams, and despair of treasure hunting," his first book is diminished by a prose style Hamilton characterized as "often purple." Other reviewers found much more to praise in Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, with a Publishers Weekly contributor calling the journal "a captivating, if meandering adventure."
After publishing Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, Lourie decided to adapt his adventures in the Andes for younger readers. The resulting volume, Lost Treasure of the Inca, is a "fascinating . . . Indiana Jonesmix of history, lost treasure, and visions of wealth," according to School Library Journal contributor Patricia Manning. Lourie's quest for Atahualpa's gold, made in the company of three guides and marred by swarming mosquitos, red ants, and a map of dubious accuracy, is transformed in this book into what Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Elizabeth Bush called "a ripping good yarn." Praising the author's inclusion of photographs taken on his failed treasure hunt, as well as a copy of the actual map used, a Kirkus Reviews critic added that "so powerful is his narrative style," Lourie will convince readers he will uncover the gold.
Lourie returns to the jungles of South America in Amazon: A Young Reader's Look at the Last Frontier. Traversing the heart of the Amazon basin by canoe, Lourie describes for readers the clash between the traditional hunter-gatherer culture and the interests of those who burn the ancient rain forest in order to farm the land. "The entire book creates an indelible picture of this endangered system," observed Frances E. Millhouser in School Library Journal. Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Roger Sutton praised the "you-are-there immediacy" of Amazon, and Mary Harris Veeder, writing in Chicago's Tribune Books, singled out Lourie's "winningly direct prose." Although a Publishers Weekly contributor claimed the work "lacks immediacy and focus," several critics praised Lourie's efforts to deal with the environmental destruction in that area without lecturing to his audience.
Closer to home, Lourie has explored many of the major rivers of North America by canoe, and he shares his experiences in several books for young armchair travelers. In Hudson River: An Adventure from the Mountains to the Sea, he recounts the history of and the current conditions along the 315-mile-long Hudson River. Though in her School Library Journal critique Kate Hegarty Bouman found the author's photographs of his journey more impressive than his narrative, Karen Hutt wrote in Booklist that Lourie's "straight-forward account will appeal to canoe enthusiasts and to readers with a particular interest" in the history of the Hudson River. Intended for older readers, Lourie's River of Mountains: A Canoe Journey down the Hudsonexpands this account. He remarks upon environmental concerns, the effects of industrialization and development on both the river and its shores, and the Hudson's role as a waterway for Viking explorers, sixteenth-century French fur traders, and pirates such as Captain William Kidd. The role of the river during the American Revolution is also covered, in a book that presents what A. B. Bookman contributor Jeffrey R. Jones described as "a trace history of eastern America."
Lourie's Yukon River: An Adventure to the Gold Fields of the Klondike recounts his nearly 500-mile canoe trip in which he follows the path turn-of-the-twentieth-century gold prospectors took to access the Klondike. A Kirkus Reviews critic called Yukon River "powerful and beautifully presented." Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass finds Lourie in the company of a Miccosukee chief as they glide down the Florida river that was once home to that Native American tribe, while a 1,885-mile trek through lands once home to Pancho Villa and Billy the Kid is recounted in Rio Grande: From the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. Lourie leaves his favored canoe for the more modern riverboat in In the Path of Lewis and Clark: Traveling the Missouri. The 1,700-mile trip along the river in 1804-06 by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark was undertaken in 1995 by Lourie and Native-American novelist William Least Heat-Moon. Noting the author's inclusion of passages from the journals recounting that historic nineteenth-century trip, School Library Journal contributor David A. Lindsey praised Lourie's account for its "easy, relaxed manner" and the author's inclusion of "fascinating historical information." Although Booklist contributor Susan Dove Lempke pointed out that the 128-page In the Path of Lewis and Clark might not be appropriate for "children who snooze through slide shows," Lourie's abridged version of the trip, published in 2002 as On the Trail of Lewis and Clark: A Journey up the Missouri River, is designed for younger readers or those with less-extensive attention spans.
In addition to nonfiction titles, Lourie has also penned a novel for middle-grade readers that draws on his fascination with history and missing gold. In The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd, Manhattan-native Alex moves with his parents to the Hudson River valley, where he finds a new best friend in Gillian. Gillian inspires Alex with his dreams of finding a hoard of gold doubloons that, legend holds, were buried by buccaneer Captain Kidd in the 1600s. Stealing a map to the pirate treasure from the mentally unbalanced Cruger, Gillian puts both boys in danger in his desire for gold. Called "an intriguing look at the effect of greed upon friendship" by Booklist contributor Frances Bradburn, The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd was cited by Elaine E. Knight in her School Library Journal review as a work "with regional appeal for readers who like lots of historical detail."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
A. B. Bookman Weekly, July 15, 1996, Jeffrey R. Jones, review of River of Mountains: A Canoe Journey down the Hudson, pp. 208-209.
Appraisal, spring, 1999, Karin Proskey and Nick Gawel, review of Amazon: A Young Reader's Look at the Last Frontier, Hudson River: An Adventure from the Mountains to the Sea, and Everglades: Buffalo Tiger and the River of Grass, pp. 51-52.
Booklist, April 1, 1992, Karen Hutt, review of HudsonRiver, p. 1442: February 15, 1996, Frances Bradburn, review of The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd, p. 1021; February 15, 1997, Susan Dove Lempke, review of In the Path of Lewis and Clark: Traveling the Missouri, p. 1013; July, 1997, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Erie Canal: Canoeing America's Great Waterway, p. 1815; February 15, 1999, John Peters, review of Rio Grande: From the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, p. 1065; October 15, 1999, Randy Meyer, review of Lost Treasure of the Inca, p. 438; October 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of Mississippi: A Journey down the Father of Waters, p. 334; May 1, 2001, Helen Rosenberg, review of On the Trail of Sacagawea, p. 1677; September 15, 2001, Randy Meyer, review of The Mystery of the Maya: Uncovering the Lost City of Palenque, p. 220; April 1, 2002, Carolyn Phelan, review of On the Trail of Lewis and Clark, p. 1322; October 15, 2002, Kay Weisman, review of Tierra del Fuego: A Journey to the End of the Earth, p. 403.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 1991, Roger Sutton, review of Amazon, pp. 68-69; November, 1999, Elizabeth Bush, review of Lost Treasure of the Inca, p. 98.
Catholic Library World, September, 1998, Mary Luke Mulraney, review of Hudson River, p. 90.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 1991, review of Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon: A Chronicle of an Incan Treasure, p. 157; August 1, 1992, review of Yukon River, p. 997; December 15, 1995, review of The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd, p. 1722; February 1, 1999, review of Rio Grande, p. 224; October 15, 1999, review of Lost Treasure of the Inca, p. 1646; September 1, 2001, review of The Mystery of the Maya, p. 1295.
Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 15, 2000, Sue Corbett, "Two Tales of the Inca: One on Lost Gold, the Other on a Lost Life," p. K362.
Library Journal, July, 1995, Nancy Moeckel, review of River of Mountains, p. 109.
New York Times Book Review, June 9, 1991, John Maxwell Hamilton, review of Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, p. 48; June 11, 1995, Ted Conover, review of River of Mountains, p. 9.
Publishers Weekly, February 1, 1991, review of Sweat of the Sun, Tears of the Moon, p. 75; August 30, 1991, review of Amazon, p. 86.
School Library Journal, January, 1992, Frances E. Millhouser, review of Amazon, p. 130; June, 1992, Kate Hegarty Bouman, review of Hudson River, pp. 109-110; June, 1996, Elaine E. Knight, review of The Lost Treasure of Captain Kidd, p. 122; April, 1997, David A. Lindsay, review of In the Path of Lewis and Clark, pp. 151-152; September, 1997, Joan Soulliere, review of Erie Canal, p. 204; November, 1999, Patricia Manning, review of Lost Treasure of the Inca, pp. 172-173; October, 2000, Kathleen Simonetta, review of Mississippi River, p. 188; April, 2001, Nancy Collins-Warner, review of On the Trail of Sacagawea, p. 164; November, 2001, Daryl Grabarek, review of The Mystery of the Maya, p. 180; June, 2002, Nancy Collins-Warner, review of On the Trail of Lewis and Clark, p. 164; September, 2002, Eva Elizabeth Von-Ancken, review of Tierra del Fuego, p. 249.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), October 13, 1991, Mary Harris Veeder, review of Amazon, p. 6.
Peter Lourie Web site,http://www.peterlourie.com/ (June 7, 2003).*