Married Judith Gelman (a writer); children: two sons.
Home—Needham, MA. E-mail—[email protected]
Lawyer, freelance journalist, and public speaker.
Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride, Citadel (New York, NY), 2007.
(With Thomas Graboys) Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia, Union Square Press (New York, NY), 2008.
Author of the Peter Z blog; contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New England Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, Public Radio International, Bicycling, AARP magazine, and Boston Globe.
Peter Zheutlin is a freelance journalist and public speaker. He is the author of a personal Web log and contributes widely to a number of periodicals, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, New England Quarterly, Christian Science Monitor, Public Radio International, Bicycling, AARP magazine, and the Boston Globe.
Zheutlin published his first book, Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride, in 2007. Written about his great-grand aunt, the account shows how Annie Cohen Kopchovsky went virtually overnight from being a Victorian-era homemaker to being an international celebrity, athlete of sorts, and an early feminist. Having learned to ride a bicycle just weeks prior, she set out to ride her bike around the world, reportedly as a result of a bet by two businessmen who claimed that a woman was not capable of conducting the same feat that a man had accomplished nearly ten years earlier. She began the first leg of her trip from Boston to Manhattan and then continued westward. In Chicago she reversed course, rode back to New York, sailed to France, and reportedly stopped in a number of ports around the world, bringing her bicycle with her. She adopted the nickname Annie Londonderry from her first corporate sponsor, the Londonderry Lithia Springs Water Company of New Hampshire. The new name hid her Jewish origins and ultimately increased her fame, something she was most concerned about.
Peter Schworm, writing in the Boston Globe, relayed that after having spent "over three years of culling newspaper clippings after learning from an amateur researcher … that he was related to Kopchovsky, Zheutlin also developed a strong admiration for his forebear." "The story of a woman who had the courage to cast off her normal life and seek extraordinary adventure deserves to be told," Zheutlin told Schworm. "It's the great mystery of her life…. What allows one woman out of millions to seize the moment and break out?" Booklist contributor Danise Hoover called the account "well researched," adding that "this reclaimed true story illuminates family life, journalism, advertising, and recreation of that transitional era." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews commented that what Around the World on Two Wheels "lacks in personal insight, … it compensates for with discussions of public reaction to a female adventurer." The same critic described the account as "a pleasant, affectionate portrait of a free spirit who pedaled her way out of Victorian" gender restrictions.
With Thomas Graboys, Zheutlin published Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia the following year. The memoir tells the story of Thomas Graboys, a Boston-based cardiologist in his early sixties who slowly lost his practice and much of his previous life due to dementia and Parkinson's disease. Progressively, Graboys acquired the tremors, excessive sweating, and involuntary movement of his hands and arms associated with the disease that prevented him from being able to carry on with his profession in a safe capacity. He reduced the number of patients he saw as his condition became worse and cognitive dysfunction set in. In the book Graboys and Zheutlin detail how the disease has altered the way he interacts with his family, friends, and the world at large. Graboys shares his anger at not being able to function in the same way he used to. Family members and friends of his also contribute small parts to the account, interspersed with his own recallings.
Booklist contributor Donna Chavez described the memoir as "an unforgettable doctor-as-patient account," adding that it is both "stirring and chilling." Dana Ladd, writing in Library Journal, mentioned that Life in the Balance "will give readers, patients, and their caretakers an honest account of life with the disease," appending that it is "well-written."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, September 1, 2007, Danise Hoover, review of Around the World on Two Wheels: Annie Londonderry's Extraordinary Ride, p. 44; April 15, 2008, Donna Chavez, review of Life in the Balance: A Physician's Memoir of Life, Love, and Loss with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia, p. 15.
Boston Globe, August 10, 2006, Peter Schworm, review of Around the World on Two Wheels.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Around the World on Two Wheels.
Library Journal, March 1, 2008, Dana Ladd, review of Life in the Balance, p. 100.
Roundup, December 1, 2007, Dennis McCown, review of Around the World on Two Wheels, p. 28.
Peter Zheutlin Home Page,http://www.annielondonderry.com (July 4, 2008).