Born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, went to Princeton and Columbia for undergraduate and advanced degrees, worked for aviation pioneer Sherman Fairchild as his personal historian. When he died in 1972 became a free-lance writer. First book, REALITY POLICE, was a muckraking look at the mental health system. Subsequently went into magazine journalism, wrote for ESQUIRE, AMERICAN HERITAGE, THE ATLANTIC, CONNOISSEUR, PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, GQ, MEN'S JOURNAL, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE, and many other magazines. Was the essays editor of the Pushcart Prize for eighteen years. In 2002 served as a non-fiction judge for the National Book Awards. Edited the Adventure Classics series for National Geographic Books, which included an edition of the JOURNALS OF LEWIS AND CLARK and 24 other books, including THOMAS JEFFERSON TRAVELS, a selection of Jefferson's writings while he was U. S. minister to France. THE MAN WHO ATE HIS BOOTS is his first book for Knopf.