Wohlforth, Charles P. 1963-

views updated

WOHLFORTH, Charles P. 1963-


Born 1963; married; wife's name, Barbara; children: Robert, Julia, Joseph, Rebecca. Education: Princeton University, B.A. (English; magna cum laude), 1986.


Home—Anchorage, AK. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003.


Author, journalist, and naturalist. Homer News, Homer, AK, reporter, 1986-88; Anchorage Daily News, Anchorage, AK, reporter, 1988-92; Alaska Research Associates, research director, 1992-93; Mayor Mark Begich, Anchorage, consultant and speech writer, 2003—.


American Society of Journalists and Authors, Anchorage Assembly, Cook Inlet Historical Society (board member, 1999-2000), Government Hill Community Council (president, 1992).


Special Award in Creative Writing, Princeton University, 1984; award for best breaking story, non-daily, Alaska Press Club, 1988; C. B. Blethen Award for Distinguished Deadline Reporting, 1989; awards for best reporting on a political subject, and best reporting on science, consumer, and the environment, Alaska Press Club, both 1990; award for best business reporting, U.S. Northwest Region, large dailies, Society of Professional Journalists, 1991; awards for best breaking story, and best comprehensive coverage, Alaska Press Club, both 1991; awards for best general reporting, best breaking story, and best reporting on business and economics, Alaska Press Club, all 1992; award for best coverage of the arts, Alaska Press Club, 1994; award for best reporting on health or science, non-daily, Alaska Press Club, 2001.


Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1999.

Frommer's Alaska 2001, IDG Books Worldwide, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN), 2000.

Alaska 2002, Hungry Minds (New York, NY), 2002.

Crisis in the Commons: The Alaska Solution, Institute for Contemporary Studies (Oakland, CA), 2002.

Alaska for Dummies, Wiley (New York, NY), 2003.

The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, North Point Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Frommer's Alaska 2004, Wiley (New York, NY), 2004.

Also author of text for Spectacular Alaska, Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., 1998. Contributor to periodicals such as Outside, Alaska Review, Alaska Airlines, Columbia Journalism Review, Newsday, Pacific Northwest, World Traveler, and New Republic. Contributor to volumes such as Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations, Frommer's USA, and Season of Dead Water. Work has appeared in Best Newspaper Writing 1990, Poynter Institute (St. Petersburg, FL), 1991. Founder and editor of POL: A Journal of Policy and Politics.


A freelance writer and journalist with a naturalist's inclinations toward spectacular outdoor destinations and environmental issues, Charles P. Wohlforth is the author of a number of travel books and state guidebooks. In Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks, he offers detailed information on sixteen national parks in six U.S. regions. With research and personal experience, he describes each park in detail, offering information on amenities and accommodations for travelers—especially those with children—as well as explorations of the natural history and cultural heritage of the individual parks and their surroundings. Library Journal reviewer Jo-Anne Mary Benson called Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks an "indispensable guide" to parks for vacationers.

Similarly, Wohlforth's Alaska for Dummies offer detailed travel advice and in-depth material on notable destinations, sights, accommodations, activities, can't-miss and should-miss events, and more. His Frommer's Alaska contains detailed reviews and opinions on worthwhile attractions and experiences, guides and reviews covering hotels and restaurants in all price ranges, expert advice on outdoor activities and nature exploration, and up-do-date prices for all services, events, and accommodations. The book focuses on the state of Alaska as the locals experience it, detailing obscure attractions in out-of-the-way destinations where tourists and travelers don't often look. The book also helps travelers avoid "tourist traps" and guides them away from prefabricated attractions while steering them toward more authentic experiences that are representative of the state.

In The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, Wohlforth explores the different ways in which native populations and scientists learn about the environment. He travels with native Inupiat Eskimos, whose keenly developed sense of the natural world and the effects of weather on the environment serve them well during the whale hunts that support their subsistence lifestyle. The Inupiat know that the ice has changed. Fishermen are more often menaced by ice floes that break off and float away from the mainland, stranding humans and animals alike. Increased fog brought about by changing climate imposes greater risks on whaling expeditions, when a wrong turn can send a disoriented whaler and his equipment plunging into the deathly cold Alaskan waters. Wohlforth examines how the Inupiat adapt to the change and incorporate new information about the environment into their already-existing store of "indigenous knowledge." In addition, he accompanies scientists and researchers as they apply modern methods to discovering the causes and effects of global warming on Alaskan environments. "Wohlforth allows us to observe their passion and their way of seeing the world through the lens of science," commented Betty Galbraith in Library Journal. As one group of scientists measures the winter snowpack, other glaciologists, entomologists, climate modelers, biologists, and other scientists scour the countryside for tangible evidence of climate change and global warming.

As part of his exploration of the scientific and native cultures, Wohlforth delineates the contrasts between the knowledge of the scientists and the nature-based hunters. He also discusses how scientists are becoming more aware and appreciative of the natives' indigenous knowledge and are seeking ways to incorporate native observations and ancestral memories into their own data. "Wohlforth's detailed, perceptive work will immediately engage readers interested in environmentalism," remarked Booklist reviewer Gilbert Taylor. "Part adventure story, part science writing accessible to the general reader, this thoroughly engaging volume provides rich insight into ways of dealing with climate change," stated a Publishers Weekly reviewer. A Kirkus Reviews critic concluded that "Wohlforth offers a revealing look at climate change where it counts."



Booklist, March 15, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, p. 1250.

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2004, review of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, p. 126.

Library Journal, March 1, 2004, Jo-Anne Mary Benson, review of Frommer's Family Vacations in the National Parks, p. 44; April 1, 2004, Betty Galbraith, review of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, p. 119.

Publishers Weekly, February 16, 2004, review of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, p. 161.

Science News, June 5, 2004, review of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change, p. 367.


Charles P. Wohlforth Home Page,http://www.wohlforth.net (September 14, 2004).*