Peter Matthiessen (b. 1927)

American novelist, nonfiction writer, and environmentalist. Matthiessen was born in New York City, earned degrees at Yale University and the University of Paris, and went on to a life of adventure travel, environmental activism, and tremendous literary productivity. In 1957, while working for the CIA in France, he helped found the Paris Review, a legendary literary magazine. Wildlife in America (1959) detailed the human-caused extinction of various animal species and was one of the first books to discuss the effects of global warming. Matthiessen’s trek through the Himalayas provided the basis for The Snow Leopard (1978), winner of the National Book Award. His best-known novels include At Play in the Fields of the Lord (1965), depicting American missionaries in South America, and Shadow Country (2008), chronicling the life and death of the legendary Florida figure Edgar Watson, which won him his second National Book Award. See also albany.edu.