February 12, 2023

Scam or Not a Scam?

The land I write about (and now own a piece of) was sold in the 1970s by mail. It was so cheap that people usually bought it sight unseen, from newspaper ads: $30 down and $30 a month for 12 years was a common deal. The federal government said it was a fraud, and this TV investigation from the time seems to agree. (Click READ MORE to go to YouTube.)

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February 13, 2016

In a lecture (Los Angeles)

  “Ted has a way of talking about big topics such as prisons, immigration, and infrastructure with engaging stories that captivate everyone in the room.”— James Walsh, student, Boston College […]

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September 16, 2015

Creatures Great & Small

When I became a USDA meat inspector, I was puzzled that my supervisors were veterinarians. People didn’t head to vet school to oversee slaughter, did they? I started talking to […]

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January 17, 2015

Defining Indefinite

Last January, at the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, the admiral in charge tapped his chair and told me that “Twelve years ago, none of us thought that anybody would […]

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November 21, 2014

Amazing Guy, Gone But Remembered

Matthew Power was a wonderful writer and a friend of mine. A Vermonter who graduated from Middlebury College, he got assigned to my nonfiction writing workshop at the Bread Loaf […]

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June 18, 2014

This Is How We Roll

Before I had kids, I used to wonder what would happen when they read my books. What kind of example was I setting with some of the chances I was […]

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March 28, 2014

Have We Met?

Some years ago, when I was living in Denver, I was invited to take part in a summer writers’ conference in Aspen, Colorado. It sounded like fun and indeed it […]

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June 4, 2013

Of Meat and Art

There’s a fair amount of fine art around meat and slaughter. Most famous might be the paintings of Francis Bacon – several friends guessed that the image Harper’s magazine used […]

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April 13, 2013

“The Way of All Flesh”

A couple of years ago, I applied for a job as a USDA meat inspector. Most inspectors work inside slaughterhouses; I thought it would be a good way to take […]

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March 19, 2013

Meeting a moose

I was skiing at Winter Park, Colorado, yesterday—a place I have skied for more than 40 years without seeing a moose—when I saw a moose. It was in the middle […]

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January 21, 2013

Everything E

This month my books Coyotes and Whiteout came out in eBook editions, which means that now all of my books are available in digital editions. With snazzy new cover designs. […]

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January 1, 2013

Every Blasted Hour

For the New Year, my wife gave me a new daypack. It was time. The old one, by North Face, served me during the research for The Routes of Man […]

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November 10, 2012

Rolling Nowhere goes ebook

Rolling Nowhere, my account of riding the rails as a young man, was recently released as an ebook. It’s pretty cheap to download it to your screen-thingy from the Kindle […]

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June 29, 2012

A Snitch’s Dilemma

This weekend the New York Times Magazine publishes my story about Alex White, a police informant in Atlanta who helped bring his handlers to justice after they tried to use […]

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May 22, 2012


Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing is still considered contraband in New York state prisons — at least until the seven pages deemed a threat to security back in 2000 have been […]

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April 16, 2012

CSI: Our Kitchen

I take sugar in my coffee, and make daily use of the diner-style dispenser in our kitchen. I like how the sugar comes out of there in a hurry. Apparently […]

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January 28, 2012

Yo, CO! Vinny Retires

I was lucky, when I entered corrections some years ago, that my training instructor was Vinny Nigro. He was a man of exacting standards who had a great sense of […]

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November 21, 2011

Warm/Cold Turkey Breast

On Thanksgiving, I will be among the millions of Americans who have the somewhat unpleasant experience of handling a raw turkey, recently out of the refrigerator, relieved of its plastic […]

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September 27, 2011

The Fair Ophelia

Some of my subjects, I admit, are a bit dark. But this one is the opposite. I first came upon Ophelia Dahl in Tracy Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest […]

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