Thomas Kohnstamm

Infobox Writer


imagesize =
name =Thomas Kohnstamm
pseudonym =
birthdate =November 24, 1975
birthplace=Seattle, Washington, United States
deathdate =
deathplace=
occupation =Writer
genre = Gonzo, Travel, Non-fiction
movement =
notableworks="Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?"
influences =
influenced =

Thomas Kohnstamm is an American author, and travel writer who worked previously for Lonely Planet. [cite news
author=Carlin Romano
title=You'll never look at a travel book the same again
date=April 27, 2008
work=Philadelphia Inquirer
url=http://www.philly.com/inquirer/entertainment/books/20080427_You_ll_never_look_at_a_travel_book_the_same_again.html
] [cite news
author=Richard Woodward
title=Armchair Traveler
date=May 4, 2008
work=New York Times
url=http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/travel/04armchair.html?scp=1&sq=kohnstamm&st=nyt
accessdate=2008-08-05
] [cite news
author=Joshua Bernstein
title= Are these the dumbest travel trends?
date=September 16, 2008
work=Forbes Traveler
url=http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24353551-5013414,00.html
]

Kohnstamm's travel writing mainly covers Latin America and the Caribbean. [cite news
author=Thomas Kohnstamm
title= Hot Beaches of Central America
date=April 21, 2008
work=Forbes Traveler
url=http://www.forbestraveler.com/islands-beaches/central-americas-hottest-beaches-story.html
] cite news|author=Lonely Planet|title=Thomas Kohnstamm and our guidebooks|date=|work=Lonely Planet|url=http://www.lonelyplanet.com/about/thomas_kohnstamm.cfm] In addition to Lonely Planet, he has worked for various magazines and newspapers. Kohnstamm is a graduate of both Stanford University and Bowdoin College, holds an MA in Latin American Studies and speaks both Spanish and Portuguese. [Thomas Kohnstamm, [http://www.thomaskohnstamm.com/bio.html Thomas Kohnstamm Bio from official website] www.thomaskohnstamm.com] [http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl/9780307394651.html Random House Catalogue for Thomas Kohnstamm] www.randomhouse.com]

Books

Kohnstamm’s book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, a gonzo style memoir was published by Random House/Three Rivers Press in April 2008.

Controversy

Kohnstamm came to general public attention prior to the release of Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?. The author drew criticism, and allegedly death threats [cite news
author=KC Summers and Thomas Kohstamm
title=Can You Trust your Travel Guidebook?
date=April 29, 2008
work=The Washington Post
url= http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/04/25/DI2008042502737_pf.html
] , after Kohnstamm was quoted as admitting to performing a "desk update" for a guidebook to Colombia.cite news|author=Frank Bures|title=Thomas Kohnstamm’s Lonely Planet: The Firestorm Around ‘Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?’|date=April 14, 2008|work=World Hum|url=http://www.worldhum.com/qanda/item/thomas_kohnstamm_the_firestorm_around_do_travel_writers_go_to_hell_20080414/] cite news
author=Peter Munro
title=A guide delusion makes it Lonely at the top
date=May 4, 2008
work=The Age
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/guide-delusion/2008/05/03/1209235234265.html
] He stated in the interview that, "They didn't pay me enough to go (to) Colombia. I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating-an intern in the Colombian Consulate." A quote was also taken out of his book that said "...what I can’t plagiarize, I can always make up," calling into question both the accuracy and the practices of Lonely Planet, and fellow travel writers. [cite news|author=Tim Shipman|title=A travel writer on a not so lonely planet|date=April 14, 2008|work=The Daily Telegraph|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1584987/A-travel-writer-on-a-not-so-lonely-planet.html]

Subsequently Kohnstamm claimed the situation had been "blown way out of proportion."cite news
author=Peter Munro
title=A guide delusion makes it Lonely at the top
date=May 4, 2008
work=The Age
url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/guide-delusion/2008/05/03/1209235234265.html
] and agreed his "regrettable" and "unfortunate choice of words" about Colombia had come off as "flippant", but were part of a larger interview and digression.cite news|author=Frank Bures|title=Thomas Kohnstamm’s Lonely Planet: The Firestorm Around ‘Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?’|date=April 14, 2008|work=World Hum|url=http://www.worldhum.com/qanda/item/thomas_kohnstamm_the_firestorm_around_do_travel_writers_go_to_hell_20080414/] He argued that the "...what I can’t plagiarize, I can always make up," quote lifted from the book had been intended as "to be humorous" when taken in context.

Lonely Planet immediately responded to the furore, with spokesman Piers Pickard defending their rate of pay, and the accuracy of their work.. Other writers defended Kohnstamm's claims in regards to the behaviour of those in the industry, contrasting with those of Pickard who claimed "no freebies — period", before admitting that they could be taken when "obtained through a tourist office", but not in "exchange for positive content". Pickard also admitted to the practice of completing guides from a desk, but only in "cases where writers cannot travel to dangerous areas" or the scope of the project, suggesting "We can't cover the whole of the Australian outback. That's like imagining our authors sleep in every single hotel".. In Kohnstamms case, Lonely Planet stated, "when he was commissioned it was understood that he wouldn't be going to the destination" [cite news|author=Alexi Mostrous|title=Lonely Planet writer, Thomas Kohnstamm, claims he fabricated guidebook|date=April 14, 2008|work=The Times|url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article3742731.ece|accessdate=2008-09-14] something Kohnstamm clarified and "stressed" in later interviews. [cite news
author=David Appell
title= Fluff, Loathing, and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in Travel Journalism
date=April 25, 2008
work=Huffington Post
url=http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-appell/fluff-loathing-and-dont-a_b_98658.html
] Lonely Planet, through editor Christopher Ward, re-assured their readers that there were "only the kind of minor inaccuracies we would normally expect of guidebook text that was coming up to its review date".

Whilst criticism of the author was prevalent with one observing "were I his editor, I’d want his blood" [cite news
author=Richard Woodward
title=Armchair Traveler
date=May 4, 2008
work=New York Times
url=http://travel.nytimes.com/2008/05/04/travel/04armchair.html?scp=1&sq=kohnstamm&st=nyt
accessdate=2008-08-05
] , reviews of the actual book were often supportive, with the same reviewer stating "As a reader...I could not get enough of the most depraved travel book of the year". Others praised Kohnstamm's "spirited prose". [cite news
author=Kirkus Reviews
title=Starred Review - Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?
date=February 1, 2008
work=Kirkus Reviews
url=http://www.kirkusreports.com/kirkusreviews/headlines/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003702280
]

Notes

External links

* [http://www.dotravelwritersgotohell.com Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? OFFICIAL SITE]
*
* [http://www.myspace.com/43567144 Thomas Kohnstamm on Myspace]
* cite book
title=Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism
date=2008-04-22
publisher=Three Rivers Press
isbn=0307394654
url=http://www.amazon.com/dp/0307394654

* cite news
title=A Job With Travel but No Vacation
date=July 9, 2006
work=New York Times
url=http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/07/09/fashion/sundaystyles/09TRAVEL.html?adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1161157167-xnvb9ois0x7FAjG1oAIAaQ
accessdate=2008-08-05

* [http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/authors.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=10134198673223050&bmUID=1174814739236 Thomas Kohnstamm on Lonelyplanet.com]
* [http://www.mediabistro.com/courses/cache/instr100.asp Thomas Kohnstamm on Mediabistro.com]


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