Most of us have an urge to broadcast…to “call ourselves into existence against the obliterating silence” that Michael Harris verbalizes in his provocative book, The End of Absence. I don’t tweet or InstaGram, I rarely do Facebook, and I don’t own a smartphone (for reasons best left unsaid). But I like to write, and share my ideas. Longitudes on WordPress is a social medium that lets me do this. Writing is a responsibility, and I take it seriously.
In addition to my blogging on longitudes, I’ve “broadcast” myself in two books. In September 2018, I completed a hiking memoir called Evergreen Dreaming: Trail Tales of an Aging Hiker, published by my own Longitudes Press.
Here’s a book overview, taken from the back cover of Evergreen Dreaming:
A 55-year-old man with a yen for the outdoors feels time running out. One day he decides to dig out his old backpack from the basement and hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. He doesn’t know that this weeklong hike through Georgia and North Carolina will propel him into other mountain adventures, culminating in a mystical trip to the Continental Divide to follow the footsteps of a childhood friend.
In this thoughtful, well-written memoir, Peter Kurtz leads the reader along dirt paths across multiple mountains, meeting eccentric characters, battling blisters and boulders, and sharing one campsite with a disgruntled bear. Along the way, he candidly shares his thoughts on age, environment, culture, and technology. His walking stick, which he names “Kip,” becomes a companion and talisman, helping to trigger potent memories that eventually result in a hike into the “red-orange glow of the West” to get closer to the real Kip.
Evergreen Dreaming is a story about memory, aging, and the pursuit of natural in an increasingly artificial society. It is also a powerful tale of friendship and love.
Back in January 2013, I published a nonfiction history book about a 19th-century sailing ship. The title is Bluejackets in the Blubber Room: A Biography of the “William Badger,” 1828-1865, published by University of Alabama Press.
Below, I have details about my “blubber book.”
From University of Alabama Press:
“Bluejackets in the Blubber Room” explores key events in U.S. maritime history from the 1820s to the end of the Civil War through the biography of the sailing ship WILLIAM BADGER.
The author begins by exploring early American shipbuilding and shipbuilders in the Piscataqua region of Maine and New Hampshire and the kinds of raw materials harvested and used in making the wooden sailing ships of the time. After its construction, the BADGER became part of the key economic trade between New England, the southern U.S., and Europe. She carried raw materials such as timber from New England to New Orleans and subsequently cotton from New Orleans to Spain and Liverpool, England.
Following service as a merchant ship, the BADGER became a whaling ship, carrying its New England-based crew as far as the South Pacific. Using logbooks and sailor journals, the author presents a colorful story of life aboard a whaling ship and in the whaling towns ranging from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Cape Leeuwin, Australia. The third career in the BADGER’s life was service as a supply ship in the Union Navy’s blockade effort. Although not the most dramatic duty a sailor could have, blockade supply nevertheless was critical to the United States’ prosecution of the Civil War and eventual victory. This book delves into the decision-making involved in procuring such ships and their crew, notably escaped slaves known as “contrabands.”
“An interesting, well-researched and well-written book. It is surprising how much original material about the vessel the author was able to uncover…highly recommended.” – Joseph A. Derie, “Civil War News: The Monthly Current Events Newspaper”
“Fascinating story” – David Madden, “Civil War Talk (Forum)”
“Excellent use of primary source materials…Bluejackets in the Blubber Room is a fascinating look at the life of a small ship which reinvented herself as the United States did the same.” – Ryan P. Semmes, H-War on H-Net, “Humanities and Social Sciences Online”
“The book is a dual and diverse history that will be of interest to Civil War historians and those interested in whaling.” – Robert M. Browning, Jr., Chief Historian of the United States Coast Guard and author of From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War
“Kurtz has skillfully placed the story of this vessel in a much broader context, both as a whaler and later as a store ship during the Civil War.” – William N. Still, author of Confederate Shipbuilding
Additional non-Amazon order links:
And a link to an article describing why I wrote the book, the research/writing, and the publication process: http://goo.gl/CTh1Jy
Additionally, I’ve published articles with magazines like Film International, History Magazine, and assorted music publications.
I hope you’ll check out either of my books. If not, that’s OK, I’m glad you’re visiting longitudes, and please return as often as you’d like. Also, feel free to “like,” follow, or comment…I like being liked, but I also like being kept responsible!