Alex Shoumatoff

Alex Shoumatoff was born in Mt. Kisco, New York, on November 4,  1946. After graduating from Harvard College in 1968, he worked on the Washington Post, as a singer-songwriter, and as the resident naturalist at a wildlife  sanctuary in Westchester County. His first book, Florida Ramble, was published in 1974 (Harper and Row, Vintage paperback). In the fall of 1976 he spent nine months in the Amazon researching a Sierra Club book, The Rivers Amazon (Sierra Club 1978, hard and soft),  which has been compared to the classics of Roosevelt and Bates. His next book, Westchester : Portrait of a County (Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1979, Vintage paperback), was excerpted in the New Yorker, for whom Shoumatoff became a staff writer in 1979. There, under  Robert Bingham, the editor of John McPhee and Peter Mathiessen, and later under John Bennet, he wrote long fact pieces that were then developed as books: The Capital of Hope (Coward McCann, and Geoghegan, 1980, Vintage paperback, about the building of Brasilia), Russian Blood (Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1982, Vintage paperback, a chronicle of his own family from the dawn of Russian history through the October Revolution and emigration to the United States ), The Mountain of Names (Simon and Schuster, 1984, Touchstone, Vintage, and Kodansha paperbacks, a profile of the Mormons’ Genealogical Society of Utah that became a history of the human family), In Southern Light (Simon and Schuster, 1986, Touchstone and Vintage paperbacks, about a two-month journey in Zaire and a trip up the remote Amazonian tributary where the Amazon women are supposed to have lived). He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1985.


In 1986 Shoumatoff wrote a profile of Dian Fossey for the newly resurrected Vanity Fair that was inspired the movie, Gorillas in the Mist and was collected in African Madness (Knopf 1988, Vintage paperback, also containing pieces on Emperor Bokassa, the natural history of Madagascar, and AIDS in Africa). He covered ousted dictators for Vanity Fair (Stroessner, Bokassa, Mengistu, Mobutu) and wrote a seminal piece on Tibet and the Dalai Lama.  His 1989 piece about Chico Mendes, the murdered leader of the Amazon’s rubber tappers, was optioned by Robert Redford and expanded into The World is Burning (Little Brown, 1990, Avon paperback, published in ten languages). In 1995 he became a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. Other pieces include Uma Thurman, the Panchen Lama, the Weld-Kerry Senate race, the Great Camps of the Adirondacks, a profile of Bedford, New York, the race to find the winter grounds of the monarch butterfly. His tenth book, Legends of the American Desert, (Knopf, 1997, a 500-page portrait of the American Southwest), was glowingly front-paged by the New York Times Book Review and was both Time Magazine’s and the New York Post’s second-best non-fiction book of the year, and his latest book, The Wasting of Borneo, was reviewed in the Washington Post and prompted an op ed piece in Yale Environment 360 and an interview in

“Agony and Ivory,” (August 2011, about the slaughter of Africa’s elephants and the smuggling of their tusks to China,  and “Positively 44th Street,” (June 2012)  a portrait and memoir of the block between Sixth and Sixth avenues, and Smithsonian pieces on sandhill cranes, the white spirit bear, the Penan hunter-gatherers of Borneo, and the Rothschild’s giraffe are among his latest magazine work.

Lectures and Appearances

Currently Speaking On

Writing for the World: Literary Journalism in the Service of the Planet

Alex Shoumatoff is one of America’s prominent literary journalists, the author of eleven books, and more than a hundred long pieces for the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Smithsonian and other magazines. He specializes in documenting, celebrating, and raising awareness about the world’s fast- disappearing biocultural diversity. His dispatches from the far-flung corners of the world have changed policy and started movements, like his 2012 Vanity Fair piece, “Agony and Ivory,” credited with igniting the ongoing global campaign to stop the slaughter of Africa’s elephants. Thousands of pages of his reportage, going back forty years, are posted on the Website he founded in 2001,

So far in 2017, Smithsonian Magazine ran on the cover of its March issue his piece on the under-protected, under-studied giraffes, whose  numbers have fallen from 140,000 to 90,000 in the last fifteen due to habitat loss and poaching,  and in April Beacon Press published The Wasting of Borneo: Dispatches From a Vanishing World, which is tells how the world’s most ancient and species-rich forest, home to orangutans, hunter-gatherers who still use blowguns, and a riotous diversity of other living things, is being devastated by logging and conversion to oil-palm plantations, which we are all implicated in, as consumers of hundreds of products containing palm oil.

In June, he traveled to Cameroon to spend a fortnight with the Baka “Pygmies,” to record their polyphonic yodeling, which has been described as “the Uhr music” and “karaoke with the sounds of the forest,” and to investigate reports of their abuse in national parks and private hunting concessions where they have lived for millenia, and to examine the place in wildlife conservation of trophy hunting and the shoot-to-kill policy of local indigenous people.

This hour-long talk focuses on the ecocide and ethnocide on Borneo and on the plight of the giraffes and the Baka. Using examples from his work, it explains the literary and narrative techniques he learned first at St. Paul’s School, then at Harvard as a student of English and Greek literature and of the poet Robert Lowell, a feature writer for the Washington Post, a “long fact” writer on the staff of the New Yorker, and an investigative and environmental journalist for Vanity Fair, and developed on the job, reporting and observing nature and people in the remote corners and last Edens on the planet, moving fluidly among social classes and races and ecological realms. It reveals tricks of the trade, prosodic and story-telling devices that can be employed to engage readers and move to become involved in far-away environmental, wildlife-conservation, and cultural-survival struggles. It is illustrated with powerpoint maps, videos, and recordings of birds and indigenous forest people imitating them. Shoumatoff is available for weekend workshopswith literary and environmental journalism students and others who want advice on how to make their writing sing. It advocates for the English major and a rigorous liberal arts education, both of which, along with magazines and long-form journalism, are themselves endangered. He has lectured at the American and Cleveland museums of natural history, the Explorers’ Club, the Jaipur Literature Festival, been on the Today show and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “On Point,” among many public appearances. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Humane Society of America’s best print media award for 2011, and the Rocky Mountain and Plains Booksellers best non-fiction award (for his l997 Legends of the American Desert: Sojourns in the Greater Southwest, raved on the front page of the New York Times Book Review and Time Magazine’s second-best non-fiction book of the year).

“Shoumatoff is a genuine citizen of the world, at home with people everywhere, and his example serves as an inspiration to all who cherish the ties that unite humankind… In my opinion, he ranks among the very best nature writers of our or any other time.” –Science writer Timothy Ferris

“One of the great prose stylists of this or any century” –Michael Hogan, Vanity Fair

Alex Shoumatoff is a pure gonzo naturalist, the love child of Bruce Chatwin and Hunter Thompson.The Wasting of Borneo is an important book about human greed, climate change, and animism (among many other serious matters), and a head- spinning trip to the furthest reaches of the known world.” -Russell Banks

As often in his long and valuable career, Alex Shoumatoff has made visible a part of the world that too few of us pay attention too. This is a vital landscape and culture, imperiled by consumer demand for hundreds of products; the story should not be ignored. –Bill McKibben, author Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“… probably the most important travel writer and anthropological commentator in North America… Shoumatoff attempts to write from the fourth dimension with the three dimensions that the continuum of words aspires to transcend. –Kevin McEneany, The Millbrook Independent


  • 2017: Lectures at The Explorers Club, the Harvard Club of New York, and Rippowam-Cisqua School

  • 2016: The Jaipur Literature Festival, sessions on environmental writing, the literature of travel, and long-form journalism

  • 2014: Lecturer/workshop giver at Abroad Writers’ Conference, Lake Como, Italy

  • 2013: “The Great Estates of Northern Westchester and Their Contribution to Conservation,” third annual Leon Levy Environmental Symposium, South Salem, New York

  • 2012: Lecturer/workshop giver at Abroad Writers’ Conference, Hever Castle, Kent, England

  • 2011: Graduation speech, Kells Academy

  • 2011: “Bedford, Westchester, and the Education of a conservationist,” annual Leon Levy Environmental symposium, Bedford, New York

  • 2007: Participant in four round-tables at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival

  • 2004: Judge for the Quebec Writers’ Association’s Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction

  • November 2000: Speaks on the state of  the four World Heritage Site national parks of civil-war-torn eastern Congo to the United Nations Foundation, which commissioned his site report

  • Winter 2000: Workshop at Genocide Studies Institute of Concordia College, Montreal

  • Spring 1999: Guest lecturer, University of Vermont Department of English

  • February, 1998: Barnes Speaker and two days of seminars, Avon Old Farms School

  • August, 1997: Lake Placid Institute

  • July, 1996: Sightings

  • June, 1996 : Graduation address, National Sports Academy, Lake Placid, N.Y.

  • January, 1996: Evocation of life and work of Alexandra Tolstoy, Tolstoy Foundation dinner at Metropolitan Club, New York City

  • January, 1996: Interviewed about The Mountain of Names on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” 

  • May, 1996: Lecture on magazine writing at Bennington College

  • November, 1995: Interviewed about Uma Thurman, Entertainment Tonight

  • August, 1995: Interviewed about OJ Simpson the Golfer, Extra and American Journal

  • April, 1992 : Earth Day address, University of New Mexico

  • March, 1991: Keynote address, Critical Issues Symposium on “Lifeboat Earth,” Hope College

  • October, 1990: Keynote address at conference on Environment and Development in Africa and Latin America, Michigan State University.

  • 1988: NPR’s “All Things Considered,” interviewed on African Madness

  • 1978: Today Show on the Amazon, lectures on the Amazon delivered at scores of venues, including American Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Harvard Club, Princeton Club, Explorer’s Club, New York Botanical Garden

More Information and Past History


The Wasting of Borneo: Dispatches From a Vanishing World, Beacon Press,  2017

Suitcase on the Loose, autobiography, 600 pages written and only up to the age of 29

What If It Had Not Happened?: The Saga of the Karambisi Family of Rwanda, in the works

To Each His Karmapa: Confessions of a Sometime Buddhist, in the works

Legends of the American Desert : Sojourns in the Greater Southwest,  Knopf, 1997 (cover New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle book reviews, New York Times notable book of 1997,  Time Magazine and New York Post’s top ten books of 1997,  Mountain and Plains Booksellers’ Association best non-fiction book of 1997)

The World is Burning, Little Brown, 1990; Avon paperback; published in ten languages

African Madness, Knopf, 1988; Vintage paperback

In Southern Light, Simon and Schuster, 1986; Vintage paperback

The Mountain of Names, Simon and Schuster, 1984; Vintage paperback; Kodansha paperback (1995)

Russian Blood, Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1982; Vintage paperback

The Capital of Hope, Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1980; Vintage  paperback

Westchester: Portrait of a County, Coward, McCann, and Geoghegan, 1979; Vintage paperback

The Rivers Amazon, Sierra Club Books, 1978; Sierra Club paperback

Florida Ramble, Harper and Row, 1974; Vintage paperback; Last Look Books paperback with original title, Postcards From Florida, restored

Magazine Work
  • 2007-2015; 1995-2001: contributing editor, Vanity Fair; contributor since 1986

  • 2008-12, contributing editor, Travel + Leisure, 1999-present : contributor

  • 2004-present: contributing editor, OnEarth magazine

  • 1978-present: contributor, The New Yorker; staff writer, 1980-1990

  • 1992-4: contributing editor, golf columnist, Esquire

  • 1988-92: contributing editor, Conde Nast Traveler

  • 1995-present: contributor, Golf Digest

  • 1995-present: contributor, Adirondack Life

  • 1978-present: contributor, Outside Magazine; contributing editor, 1979-81

  • 1989-present: contributor, The New York Times Magazine

  • 2014: contributor, Smithsonian Magazine

Movie Work

Rights to “Murder in the Rain Forest” (Vanity Fair) acquired, and author hired as consultant, by Twentieth Century Fox for movie with Robert Redford producing and starring, 1989

Rights to the “The Fatal Obsession of Dian Fossey” (Vanity Fair) acquired, and  author hired as consultant, by Universal Pictures for movie, “Gorillas in the Mist,” 1986

Rights to The Mountain of Names acquired by Alan Berliner for documentary film, “Nobody’s Business”

Newspaper Work

1968-69 reporter, Washington Post

1967 intern reporter, The New York Daily News

articles, book reviews, and editorials in the New York Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Village Voice, Book World, Newsday, Patent Trader, etc.

Environmental Work

2001-, founder, editor and roving correspondent,

1972-4 : Middle School Science Teacher, Rippowam-Cisqua School, Bedford, New York (focus on the local flora and fauna and land-use history of Westchester County)

1972-80 : Resident Naturalist and Executive Director, Marsh Memorial Sanctuary, Mount Kisco,New York

1972-80 : editor, Bedford Audubon Bulletin

Music Work

2007 :  “Suitcase on the Loose,” twelve songs, produced by Kate McGarrigle

1971 : rights to twenty young-Dylanesque songs acquired by Manny Greenhill (manager of Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Reverend Gary Davis, et al.)

Documentary Film Work

2014 : see, docuseries in development

Grants and Consultancies

2017, Leon Levy Foundation, for a critical examination of the role of trophy hunting and the shoot-to-kill policy in wildlife conservation

2015, The Woodward Foundation, for the Dispatch on, “The Great Ethiopian Cataract Intervention”

2005-6, The Wildlife Conservation Society, for a baseline ethnography of the vanishing mountain culture of the Adirondacks.

The J.M. Kaplan Fund,  2001-2, for reports on the philanthropic possibilities of  Cuba, particularly restoring the Cuba Moderne Architecture in Havana and protecting  the island’s biodiversity; on the Ukrainian prairie churches of Manitoba and Saskatchewan; on the creation of marine protected reserves in the Gulf of Maine; and on the world’s largest extant prairie dog town, in Chihuahua, New Mexico.

The J.M. Kaplan Family Foundation, January 2001, recommendations on worthy candidates for grants

The United Nations Foundation, summer 2000, site report on 4 World Heritage Site national parks in eastern Congo


B.A., magna cum laude in English and ancient Greek literature, Harvard College, 1968; senior thesis, “The Heroic Language of Chapman’s Homer,” summa cum laude

High school diploma, magna cum laude, with honors in English, French, Latin and Greek, St.Paul’s School, Concord, New Hampshire, l964

Elementary education at Bedford Rippowam School. 1956-60, and Bedford Elementary School, 1951-56

  • 2012 : Outstanding Print Media Award from the Humane Society of America for “Agony and Ivory,” Vanity Fair, August, 2011
  • 2005 : “Blues Traveler,” in the December, 2004 Travel + Leisure, wins the Silver Medal in the Cultural Tourism category of the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition.
  • 2004 : “The Tennessee Tree Massacre” wins the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Phillip D. Reed Memorial Award for Outstanding Writing on the Southern Environment in the journalism category
  • 1997 : “Legend of the American Desert” wins the Mountains and Plains Booksellers’ Association’s award for the best non-fiction book of l997
  • 1996 : “Sun Without Moon” nominated for SAIS-Novartis prize for excellence in international journalism
  • 1995 : “Golf in Seven Courses,” silver medal, International Regional Magazine Association
  • 1995 : “The Warlord Speaks” nominated for Overseas Press Club Award
  • 1988 : “AIDS in Africa” nominated for National Magazine Award
  • 1987 : “Bokassa” nominated for National Magazine Award
  • 1985 : John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, for book on cultural ecology in the tropics
  • 1968 : Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, for graduate study in English literature
  • 1964 : highest college board score for Homeric Greek in nation
  • 1963 : highest college board score for Attic Greek in nation
Academic Appointments

visiting scholar, Department of Communications. University of New Mexico, 1991-2

instructor in French and director of  language lab, New England College, 1970-71


English, French, Portuguese, Homeric and Attic Greek– fluent

Spanish, Russian– nearly fluent

German, Italian, modern Greek, Kiswahili– serviceable

Kinyawranda, Kirundi, Ruganda, Cayapo– rudimentary

Military Service

United State Marines Corps Intelligence Reserves, trained at Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California, 1969; honorably discharged as a minister (4-D, the D standing for divinity), 1971

Sports and Hobbies

Captain of Squash Team, St. Paul’s School, 1963-4; Harvard Varsity Squash Team, 1965-8 (national champions junior and senior year); squash champion of Zaire, 1981

mountaineering : youngest person (ae. 11) to climb Mönch, Switzerland, 1958; young person (ae. 12) to climb Exum Ridge of Grand Teton, Wyoming, 1959. hiking, trekking, canoing, whitewater rafting in Adirondacks, Amazon, Zaire, Rwanda, Uganda, Nepal, Manitoba, Quebec

guitar : bossa nova, samba, rumba Zairois, Malian, sufi, jazz, swing, southern country blues, ragtime, gospel (student of Reverend Gary Davis), and other styles

golf : handicap 12, special fondness for former colonial and developing-world courses.

Clubs and Organizations

(all memberships lapsed)

  • Golf Writers’ Association of America
  • Advisory Board, Lake Placid Institute
  • Montreal Badminton and Squash Club
  • Keene Valley Country Club
  • Benefit Committee, Tibet House Carnegie Hall Concert
  • Harvard Club of New York
  • The Century Association
  • Keene Volunteer Fire Department
  • Katonah Volunteer Fire Department
  • Pen
  • The Writers’ Guild
  • Crime Writers of America
Magazine Pieces

“To Save Giraffes, We May Need To Stick Our Necks Out,” Smithsonian, March 2017

“In Borneo’s Ruined Forests, Nomads Have Nowhere to Go,” Smithsonian, February 2016

“Chasing the Spirit Bear,” Smithsonian, September 2015

“The Devil and the Art Dealer,” Vanity Fair, April 2014

“A Seige of Cranes,” Smithsonian, March 2014

“The Last of Eden,” Vanity Fair, December 2013

“Positively 44th Street,” Vanity Fair, June, 2012

“Agony and Ivory,” Vanity Fair, August 2011

“Bohemian Legacy,” Vanity Fair, British edition, June, 2010

“Bohemian Tragedy,” Vanity Fair, May, 2009

“The Thistle and the Bee,” Vanity Fair, May, 2008

“The Scramble for the Arctic, Vanity Fair, May, 2008

“The Mystery Suicides of Bridgend County,”, February, 2009

“Waiting For the Plague,” Vanity Fair, December, 2007

“Traveling Light,” Travel + Leisure, November, 2007

“The Lazarus Effect,” Vanity Fair, July, 2007

“A Russian Tragedy,” Walrus, June, 2007

“The Gagging Forest,” Vanity Fair, May, 2007

“An Eco-system of One’s Own,” Vanity Fair, May, 2007

“Pilgrimage to Russia,” Travel + Leisure, January 2007

“Brotherhood of the Mountain,” Vanity Fair, British edition, October, 2006

“The Samba of Golf,” Travel + Leisure Golf, October, 2006

“Peru: Last Resort,” Audubon, July-August 2006

“A Private School Affair,” Vanity Fair, January, 2006

“Madame Butterfly,” Audubon, September-October 2005

“Mystic River,” Travel + Leisure, July 2005

“Impressions of Mizoram,” Chapchar Kut 2005 Souvenir

“Who Owns This River ?” Onearth, spring 2005

“Blues Traveler,” Travel & Leisure, December, 2004

“The Tennessee Tree Massacre,” Onearth, Winter 2004

“The Greatest Show on Earth,” Audubon, September-October 2004

“I’m a Suitcase,” Maisonneuve, July, 2004

“The Alcoholic Monkeys of St. Kitts,” Maissonneuve, Fall 2003

“Driving: Touring the Endangered Ukrainian Churches of Saskatchewan,” Travel & Leisure, August 2003

“Inside Brazil’s Wild Wetland,” Travel & Leisure, March 2003

“Artbeat: The Continent Finally Wakes Up to the Splendor of African Art,” Travel & Leisure, May 2002

Review of Isabel Hilton’s “The Search for the Panchen Lama,” Tricycle, fall 2000

“The Years of Golfing Dangerously,” Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine, May-June 2000

“The Story of Eau,” Travel and Leisure, May 2000

“Flight of the Monarchs,” Vanity Fair, November 1999

“One Happy Island,” Travel & Leisure Family, fall/winter 1999

“Montreal’s World Beat,” Travel & Leisure, July, 1999

“And So to Bedford,” Vanity Fair, February, 1999

“The Navajo Way,” Men’s Journal, November, 1998

“Hall of Fame: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,” Vanity Fair, October, 1998

“The Final Round of Golf,” Adirondack Life, July-August 1998

“From Russia with Love,” Polo, May/June 1998

“The Search for Bill Murray,” Golf Digest, February 1998

“Golf in Sacred Lands,” Golf Digest, November 1997

“Among the Cowboys,” American Heritage, September, 1997

“Mobutu’s Final Days,” Vanity Fair, August 1997

“Links in the Chain,” Adirondack Life, August, 1997

“The Real Adirondacks,” Snow Country, Summer 1997

“Camp Life,” Vanity Fair, May, 1997

“The Gods Break Through in Uganda,” Lapis, Issue Four, spring, 1997

“Battle of the Bluebloods,” Vanity Fair, October, 1996

“Nathan Farb : Behind the Scenes,” Adirondack Life, September/October, 1996

“Robogolf,” Golf Digest, September, 1996

“Par Excellence,” Adirondack Life, August 1996

“Sun Without a Moon,” Vanity Fair, August, 1996

“Bomb City,” USA, Outside, April, 1996

“My Father’s Butterfly,” Natural History, March, 1996

“Numero Uma,” Vanity Fair, January, 1996

“Skeletons On Ice,” (with son Andre), Snow Country, December, 1995

“Clinging to Life,” Destination Discovery, November, 1995

“The Golf Verdict on O.J.,” Golf Digest, August, 1995

“Golf: the Second Round,” Adirondack Life, August, 1995

“Trouble in the Land of Muy Verde,” Outside, March, 1995 (excerpted in Utne Reader)

“The Secret Life of Stewart’s,” Adirondack Life, October, 1994

“Gallic Mischief,” Comment, The New Yorker, July 18, 1994

“To the Mountains, mit Four Teen-age Boys,” Outside, August, 1994

“Golf on Seven Courses,” Adirondack Life, August, 1994

“Annals of Civil War: Flight from Death,” The New Yorker, June 20, 1994

“The ‘Warlord’ Speaks,” The Nation, April 4, 1994

“The Coronation of King Ronnie,” The New York Times Magazine, October 17, 1993

“The Silenced Love Song of Pvt. Clayton Lonetree,” Esquire,  November, 1993

“Big Linkmanship in Clintonville,” Esquire, February, 1993

“Rwanda’s Aristocratic Guerillas,” The New York Times Magazine, December 13, 1992

“Only in the North Country,” Adirondack Life, August 1992

“Lhasa Notebook,” Tricycle, Spring 1992

“Uganda Rising,” Cond‚ Nast Traveler, April 1992

“Mengistu: The Fall of Ethiopia’s Black Stalin,” Vanity Fair,  November, 1991

“Nepal: The Mountain is Rising,” Conde Nast Traveler, August, 1991

“Letter From Lhasa : the Silent Killing of Tibet,” Vanity Fair, May  1991

“Foxholes,” The New Yorker, November 12, 1990

“The Rainforest : A Close-up Look,” [Boston] Museum of Science  Magazine,” October, 1990

“Letter From the Amazon,” Vanity Fair, August, 1990

“The Little Drummer Bird: A Writer Survives the Torments of  Spring,” Adirondack Life, May/June 1990

“Forever Wild [the Adirondacks],” Conde Nast Traveler, September, 1989

“The End of the Tyrannosaur [Paraguay’s Stroessner],” Vanity Fair, September, 1989

“One More Ski,” Adirondack Life, May/June, 1989

“Murder in the Rain Forest,” Vanity Fair, April 1989

“Rio: Is the Carnival Over ?” New York Times Magazine, March 10, 1989

“P.S. : A Leap to the Lost Continent [Madagascar],” Conde Nast  Traveler, November, 1988

“A Critic At Large (Henry Walter Bates),” The New Yorker, August 22, 1988

“AIDS in Africa: The Search for the Source,” Vanity Fair, July 1988

“Our Far-flung Correspondants (Madagascar),” The New Yorker, March 7, 1988

“Bokassa: The Fall of a Savage Emperor,” Vanity Fair, June 1987

“A Reporter At Large (Colorado Butterflies),” The New Yorker,  December 1, 1986

“The Fatal Obsession of Dian Fossey,” Vanity Fair, September 1986

“Youth,” The New Yorker, April 14, 1986

“A Reporter At Large (The Amazons),” The New Yorker, March 24,  1986

“The Museum of Money,” The New Yorker, February 10, 1986

“Turtle,” The New Yorker, December 30, 1985

“A Reporter At Large (Genealogy),” The New Yorker, May 13, 1985

“A Reporter At Large (Zaire),” The New Yorker, February 6, l984

“Personal History (The Shoumatoff Family),” The New Yorker, April  26 and May 3, 1982

“Profiles (Brasilia),” The New Yorker, November 3, 1980

“First Snow,” New York Times editorial, December 23, 1979

“To the Stone Age and Back : Adventure in the Amazon,” Reader’s  Digest, April 1979

“Inside Jamaica,” Outside, April/May 1979

“Science takes up the medieval sport of falconry to reintroduce rare peregrine to a natural habitat,” Smithsonian, December,  1978

“Profiles (Westchester),” The New Yorker, November 13. 1978

“Thirty Days at the Dawn of Time: Amazonia,” Outside,   July/August, 1978

“The Carville Hansenarium,” Saturday Review, October 28, 1972

“An Incredibly Brown Cow: Wheeler’s Ranch Commune,” Village Voice, June 1, 1972

“The Black Prince of Fingerpickers,” Rolling Stone, January 20, 1972

“The Reverend Gary Davis,” Rolling Stone, December 23, 1971

“How Was Your Vacation ?,” Rolling Stone, October 28, 1971


“To My Father,” Maisonneuve, February-March 2005


Song From the Forest, by Louis Sarno, Trinity University Press, San Antonio, 2015

Keepers Tale : The Kim Esteve Collection and a Narrative History of Chacara Flora, by Edward Leffingwell

Travelers’ Tales Brazil, ed. Annette Haddad and Scott Doggett, Travelers Tales, San Francisco, 1997

Running the Amazon, Joe Kane, the Adventure Library, 1995

The Naturalist on the River Amazons, Henry Walter Bates, Penguin, 1988


Global Chorus : 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet, ed. Todd E. Maclean, Rocky Mountain Books, 2015

Dare to be True : A History of the Rippowam Cisqua School, 1995

Anthologies with Magazine Work or Book Excerpts

The Best American Travel Writing of 2014, ed. Paul Theroux, Houghton Mifflin, Boston 2015

Diamir: Konig der Berge Schicksalsberg Nanga Parbat, Reinhold Messner, Geo Frederking & Thaler

Writing the Critical Essay: AIDS, ed. Laurie S. Friedman, Greenhaven, Detroit, 2010

Adaptation and Climate Change, ed. Sarah Flint Erdreich, Greenhaven, Detroit, 2009

The Reader, ed. Judy Sieg, Pearson, Boston, 2008

Encounter Canada, Patricia Healy et al., Oxford Canada, Don Mills, 2007

Travelers’ Tales American Southwest, ed. Sean O’Reilly and James O’Reilly, Travelers Tales,San Francisco, 2001

Travelers’ Tales Brazil, ed. Annette Haddad and Scott Doggett, Travelers Tales, San Francisco, 1997

Florida: Past the Present Visions, ed. Vincent P. Betz, Kendall/Hunt, 1996

Tales from the Jungle: A Rainforest Reader, ed. Daniel R. Katz and Miles Chapin, Crown, 1995

Environmental Crises : Africa and Latin America, Centennial Review, Spring l1991

The Magazine Article, Peter Jacobi, University of Indiana Press, 1991

Paths Less Traveled, ed. Richard Bangs and Christian Kallen, Atheneum, 1988

The Sacred Theory of the Earth, ed. Thomas Frick, North Atlantic Books, 1986

The Adventure Book, Sobek International Explorers’ Society, 1988   


“Shoumatoff is a genuine citizen of the world, at home with people everywhere, and his example serves as an inspiration to all who cherish the ties that unite humankind… In my opinion, he ranks among the very best nature writers of our or any other time” -Timothy Ferris

“consistently the farthest-flung of the New Yorker’s far-flung correspondents” -Edwin McDowell, the New York Times

“admirably protean, encyclopedic, and indefatigable, Shoumatoff has the curiosity of an army of researchers and writes like a house afire” -Edward Hoagland, essayist and nature writer

“the most engaging and accessible of America’s peripatetic explorers” -Los Angeles Times

“Like a Graham Greene character, Alex Shoumatoff seems drawn to hot, bug-ridden places, tropical backwaters of the third world, where the superficial comforts and rules of the West do not apply… his writing combines a naturalist’s precision with a journalist’s chatty command of facts” -Michiko Kakutani, the New York Times

“Shoumatoff is forever drawn to far-off lands and is one of our greatest storytellers” -Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair

“One of the great prose stylists of this or any century” -Michael Hogan, Vanity Fair

“Shoumatoff has great adventures that do good for the world” -Thomas Lovejoy, tropical and conservation biologist

“Shoumatoff the writer has a range not seen since Shakespeare — if then — and a heart without borders” -Simon Finn, singer-songwriter

“Shoumatoff’s life brims with derring-do more familiar to a comic-book hero than a literary journalist.” -Rosie Much, environmentalist

“There is a delightful informality but strength in Shoumatoff’s work that is quite disarming to this reader.” -Henrietta Foster, journalist

“Shoumatoff is probably the most important travel writer and anthropological commentator in North America… he writes from the fourth dimension in the continuum of words that aspire to transcend the third dimension” -Kevin T. McEneaney, The Millbrook Independent

Photos of Alex