I am the author of The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf: 2009), winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction, and Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War (Knopf, 2002), winner of the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship. Both books were New York Times Notable Books. I am a current (2011-12) Guggenheim Fellow, and previously held the first Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. I also teach traditional Japanese Shotokan karate-do, which I have practiced since 1980, and have a 5th dan from the Japan Karate Association. A native of rural Minnesota, I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for 20 years, and have been a resident of the Bay Area since mid-2006. I live in the Presidio of San Francisco with my wife Jessica, son Dillon, and daughter Sasha.
I have practiced Shotokan karate-do with the Japan Karate Association since I was 16. I founded a club at Columbia University in 1986, where I taught for twenty years, and hold the rank of 5th dan. And I love to cook.
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