Thomas Kohnstamm

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Thomas Kohnstamm
Born November 24, 1975
Seattle, Washington, United States
Occupation Writer
Genre Gonzo, Travel, Non-fiction
Notable works Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?

Thomas Kohnstamm is an American author, and travel writer who worked previously for Lonely Planet.[1][2][3] His book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, a gonzo style memoir was published by Random House/Three Rivers Press in April 2008. The author drew criticism, and according to the author, death threats,[4] after he said in publicizing the book that he had performed a "desk update" of a guidebook - before later clarifying that he had only been commissioned to write the book's History chapter.[5][6] He also called into question both the accuracy and the practices of his fellow travelguide writers.[7]

Lonely Planet's publisher Piers Pickard defended their rate of pay, and the accuracy of their work.[6][8] Other guidebook writers defended some of Kohnstamm's claims, contrasting with those of Pickard who had first claimed "no freebies — period", before then admitting freebies could be taken under some circumstances.

The book received positive reviews. One reviewer observed "were I his editor, I’d want his blood",[2] but also admitted "As a reader...I could not get enough of the most depraved travel book of the year". Another review praised Kohnstamm's "spirited prose".[9]


  1. ^ Carlin Romano (April 27, 2008). "You'll never look at a travel book the same again". Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  2. ^ a b Richard Woodward (May 4, 2008). "Armchair Traveler". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  3. ^ Joshua Bernstein (September 16, 2008). "Are these the dumbest travel trends?". Forbes Traveler. 
  4. ^ KC Summers and Thomas Kohstamm (April 29, 2008). "Can You Trust your Travel Guidebook?". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ Frank Bures (April 14, 2008). "Thomas Kohnstamm’s Lonely Planet: The Firestorm Around ‘Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?’". World Hum. 
  6. ^ a b Peter Munro (May 4, 2008). "A guide delusion makes it Lonely at the top". The Age. 
  7. ^ Tim Shipman (April 14, 2008). "A travel writer on a not so lonely planet". The Daily Telegraph. 
  8. ^ Lonely Planet. "Thomas Kohnstamm and our guidebooks". Lonely Planet. 
  9. ^ Kirkus Reviews (February 1, 2008). "Starred Review - Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?". Kirkus Reviews. 

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