Download the Skolay app
Skolay / 1:1 Audio Conversations / 
Brian Castner
Brian Castner
Bestselling author of four nonfiction books, including Stampede and The Long Walk.
History
Travel
Adventure
War
Where else you can find me
Personal website
Substack
Book a 1:1 with Brian
Hi!

one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty, twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty, thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty,

forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty, fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty, sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy, seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty,

eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety, ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred

Talk soon,
Sam

Thanks for dropping in,

On my mind

I'm a former military bomb technician turned author, and this experience shapes my work and my search for stories. Whether I'm writing about war and its aftermath, the exploration of the Arctic, or Ebola in Liberia, I continued to be moved by stories of overcoming incredible obstacles. I love talking about the craft of writing, the process of journalism and adventure travel, and how people survive in extremes.

Why I'm excited to talk with readers

My goal is to write books that you can't put down. If you had that experience reading one of my books, I'm honored! I'd love to hear what resonated with you. Also always happy to talk to new writers who want to learn more about the process and business of being an author today.

Cheers,

Brian

Let's talk! Open to...👇
Questions about my writing
Writing in general
Getting to know you
 Upcoming
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...Book a 1:1 with BrianBook a 1:1 with Brian
🔔 Don't see a time that works?
Notify me when this writer has new availability.
Thank you! You'll be the first to know when this writer has new availability! 
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
📚 Bring me to your Book Club!
I love talking with book clubs, and would be delighted to meet with yours! Once you submit your request, Skolay will reach back out to you to confirm the details.
Cancel RequestStart Request
Book Club Request 
Specify a date & time
Propose up to 3 options
:
Add option
Option 2
:
Remove
Remove
Add option
Option 3
Option 2
:
Remove
Remove
Add option
Enter contact info
Send a note
Please share any details about your group that would be helpful: e.g., what you're reading, how many members, etc.
Thank you! Your submission has been received. We'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
My latest
My Substack
 by 
Brian Castner
Where I've written

Stampede

Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike

In 1897, the United States was mired in the worst economic depression that the country had yet endured. So when all the newspapers announced gold was to be found in wildly enriching quantities at the Klondike River region of the Yukon, a mob of economically desperate Americans swarmed north. Within weeks tens of thousands of them were embarking from western ports to throw themselves at some of the harshest terrain on the planet—in winter yet—woefully unprepared, with no experience at all in mining or mountaineering. It was a mass delusion that quickly proved deadly: avalanches, shipwrecks, starvation, murder.

Upon this stage, author Brian Castner tells a relentlessly driving story of the gold rush through the individual experiences of the iconic characters who endured it. A young Jack London, who would make his fortune but not in gold. Colonel Samuel Steele, who tried to save the stampeders from themselves. The notorious gangster Soapy Smith, goodtime girls and desperate miners, Skookum Jim, and the hotel entrepreneur Belinda Mulrooney. The unvarnished tale of this mass migration is always striking, revealing the amazing truth of what people will do for a chance to be rich.

“Brian Castner’s Stampede is a masterful narrative history—deeply researched, beautifully written, and utterly compelling. Novelistic in the best sense, with vivid characters and carefully reconstructed scenes of life among the prospectors, this book is an endlessly fascinating joy to read.”

Phil Klay, Author of Missionaries and winner of the National Book Award

See more
See less

Disappointment River

Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage

Disappointment River is a historical narrative and travel memoir that at once transports readers back to the heroic age of North American exploration and places them in a still rugged but increasingly fragile Arctic wilderness in the process of profound change. Fourteen years before Lewis and Clark, Mackenzie set off to cross the continent of North America with a team of voyageurs and Chipewyan guides in an attempt to find a trade route to the riches of the East. What he found was a river that he named “Disappointment.” Mackenzie died thinking he had failed. He was wrong.

In this book, Brian Castner not only retells the story of Mackenzie's epic voyages in vivid prose, he personally retraces his travels, battling exhaustion, exposure, mosquitoes, white-water rapids and the threat of bears. He transports readers to a world rarely glimpsed in the media, of tar sands, thawing permafrost, remote indigenous villages and, at the end, a wide-open Arctic Ocean that could become a far-northern Mississippi of barges and pipelines and oil money. What he reveals is a world that Alexander Mackenzie dreamed of but could never have fully imagined.

“Vivid. . . . Castner has the Conradian ability to make you see and feel.”

— The Washington Post

See more
See less

All the Ways We Kill and Die

A Portrait of Modern War

The EOD explosive ordnance disposal community is tight-knit, and when one of their own is hurt, an alarm goes out. When Brian Castner, an Iraq War vet, learns that his friend and EOD brother Matt has been killed by an IED in Afghanistan, he goes to console Matt's widow, but he also begins a personal investigation. Is the bomb maker who killed Matt the same man American forces have been hunting since Iraq, known as the Engineer?

In this nonfiction thriller Castner takes us inside the manhunt for this elusive figure, meeting maimed survivors, interviewing the forensics teams who gather post-blast evidence, the wonks who collect intelligence, the drone pilots and contractors tasked to kill. His investigation reveals how warfare has changed since Iraq, becoming individualized even as it has become hi-tech, with our drones, bomb disposal robots, and CSI-like techniques. As we use technology to identify, locate, and take out the planners and bomb makers, the chilling lesson is that the hunters are also being hunted, and the other side from Al-Qaeda to ISIS has been selecting its own high-value targets.

“Deftly reported and elegiac in its language, this is a story every neighbor, every parent, every soldier, and every school civics class ought to consider required reading.”

Doug Stanton, Author of the New York Times bestseller Horse Soldiers

See more
See less
What to know in advance of your conversation
Audio-only
All calls on Skolay are audio-only.
Where and how calls happen
All calls are hosted directly on the Skolay app. A window to join the call will open five minutes before, and the call will connect at the scheduled start time.
Cancellations
Skolay offers free cancellations when done more than 24 hours in advance of a call. However, calls cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled start time will incur a fee of 25% of the total price out of respect for the writer’s time.
Late to a call
You have five minutes to join the call after the scheduled start time. After that point the call window will close and you will be charged the full price of the conversation.