Historical Nonfiction
12:11 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Peter Stark Revives Tales of Lost Pacific Empire

ASTORIA: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire

Peter Stark talks about and reads from ASTORIA: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival.

About the Book:

In 1810, John Jacob Astor sent out two advance parties to settle the wild, unclaimed western coast of North America. More than half of his men died violent deaths. The others survived starvation, madness, and greed to shape the destiny of a continent.

At a time when the edge of American settlement barely reached beyond the Appalachian Mountains, two visionaries, President Thomas Jefferson and millionaire John Jacob Astor, foresaw that one day the Pacific would dominate world trade as much as the Atlantic did in their day. Just two years after the Lewis and Clark expedition concluded in 1806, Jefferson and Astor turned their sights westward once again. Thus began one of history's dramatic but largely forgotten turning points in the conquest of the North American continent.

Peter Stark talks about and reads from ASTORIA: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival.

The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.

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Peter Stark, author

Peter Stark is an adventure and exploration writer. Born in Wisconsin, he studied English and anthropology at Dartmouth College, took a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, and headed off to the remote spots of the world writing magazine articles and books. His home base is Missoula, Montana, although he and his family periodically live abroad for a year, most recently during 2010-11 in a small town in Northeast Brazil.

A long-time correspondent for Outside magazine, Stark’s articles and essays have also appeared in Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Men’s Journal, and many others. His best-known book, Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance, was translated into seven languages and named Amazon.com’s No. 1 Sports/Outdoor Book of 2001.