My Writing

Along with blogging on longitudes I’ve broadcast myself in three books. I recently completed my first fiction book, a detective novel/murder mystery taking place in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. and the Appalachian Trail. The title is Black Jackknife: A Nick Montaigne Mystery, published by my own Longitudes Press. “It played like a film in my head. Nick Montaigne could become a habit,” says independent filmmaker Dean Wray (Down Here). Click the button below to order, and see if you agree!

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In August 2018, I completed a memoir called Evergreen Dreaming: Trail Tales of an Aging Hiker, also published by Longitudes Press. It deals with my mountain backpacking exploits on both the Appalachian Trail and Continental Divide Trail, which were influenced by a childhood friend, “Kip,” who became a folksinger and moved to Montana, before dying at a young age. I talk a lot about environment, culture, and memory…and Kip, of course. This book has garnered great reviews, including a “thumbs up” from Publishers Weekly magazine.



And 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. This academic-inclined book concerns an unusual vessel that served as a merchant ship, whaler, and Civil War storage hulk. My “blubber book” also received favorable reviews and has been added to the stacks of several significant historical and maritime museums and libraries.



Here’s a link to an article describing why I wrote the book, the research/writing, and the publication process:


I’ve also published articles with magazines like Film International, History Magazine, and assorted music publications.

I hope you’ll check out one, two, or all three 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!

21 thoughts on “My Writing

  1. Hi Peter, I am a huge history fan; especially whaling and the Civil War so your book is ‘the perfect storm.’ The Badger seems to be just like Herman Melville who started out on a merchant, then a whaler and finally a naval frigate!

  2. Hi Scott, thanks for your comment! How did you hear about the book? Sounds like we have much in common, as I’m obsessed with Melville too – his books and his life. I mention “Redburn,” “White Jacket,” and of course “MD” in my modest nonfiction attempt. I’m a field mouse compared to the mighty Melville, but I hope you enjoy the book anyway!

  3. Peter, hi
    A note to say that I have just bought your book Bluejackets etc, and loved it! I am a retired journalist in Sydney who grew up in Busselton (on Geographe Bay) and am three quarters the way through what I hope will be a book on US whalers operating off the WA coast between say 1830 and 1870.
    Your book and its references on the Majestic gives me another insight to develop. I shall be chasing a copy of the Bonney journal and logbook from Mystic, in the hope that I can work some of it into my stuff, without looking too close to yours!
    Again, congratulations!
    Tim Blue

  4. Tim, thanks so much for your kind words. I’m really glad you liked the “blubber book.” It’s nice to hear from someone from the great continent of Australia! I wish you all the best on your own book, and I look forward to reading it. You’ll enjoy the library at Mystic Seaport… it’s very “homey,” and the staff is both friendly and knowledgable.


  5. Peter, I enjoyed reading your article on the Jacob Stamler ship in the Gotham History. My 3rd great grandfather was Jacob Stamler, so I guess we are related! I would like to connect and share some notes on our family history.
    Regards, Craig Hamilton

    • Wow, thanks for connecting, Craig! Would love to share notes. I have you in my ancestry database, courtesy of our cousin Annette Jones, whom I think you might know. I just sent a Facebook friend request (hopefully to the right Craig Hamilton!). Thanks again!

  6. OK, I made it through your takes. Enjoyed them. Lots of reminders, food for thought, leads and just some good reading. I seen your book when i first checked out your site. I will be picking it up for a few reasons, one being I like the topic. Another, I like to support people that are doing it for the love. I’m in a similar boat. Your last post on the pipeline hit on the subject I’m working on. Pete if your interested I will contact you via email and share a couple things that I’ve done. You might find it interesting. In the meantime I guess i’m going on a sea cruise with William Badger. CB

    • I’ve enjoyed our “conversations,” CB. I hope you like the book. A little dry in places – especially for a book about the sea (sorry about the pun) – but maybe you’ll be entertained a little.

      Yes, the Dakota Access pipeline. First Keystone, now this. The battle never ends. But the bastards don’t always win, so maybe we’ll prevail again. Thanks much!

    • Thanks, Phil. I checked it out. Lots of good ideas about marketing, despite the unsavoriness of Regnery’s editorial focus, and the fact that its authors are in a different (blitzkrieg) league. Right now I’m honing in on some book review sites, and maybe a couple book fairs. Will let you know what transpires. Thanks again.

  7. Hi Peter: I just wrote a review on Bluejackets. A great read! Here it is, as submitted on Amazon. “Peter Kurtz’ work on the story of the William Badger is engaging and enjoyably readable. Motivated by a quest to learn about his ancestor who once worked on the ship, the author combed through 120 source documents to tell the story of a proud ship, its builder and owners, and most important, its several crews. He has researched the ship from its first day to its last, from its whaling days to its end in the civil war. The wonder of this telling is Kurtz’s ability to create a compelling narrative that moves the reader on, page after page. If you are a nautical historian, a writer, or a lover of good books, get this one, for sure! “

    • Hi Phil. I’m honored by the laudatory review. You’ve got a way with words, and not necessarily because it’s a positive critique. Glad you enjoyed reading this product of my blood and sweat (fortunately, no tears). If you ever get to Cincinnati, I’d love to buy you a grog.

      • I’ll plan on it, thanks! The research on this book is quite impressive. You made 454 annotations throughout the story, but the frequent sprinkling of numerals did not distract me, the reader. They did however give credibility to the whole work. In all, Chernow-level effort!

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