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John James Audubon: The Making of an Americanby Richard Rhodes
Illuminating and engaging, this intimate sketch of a prodigious talent sheds light on Audubon's character as well as his devotion to his art.
Synopses & Reviews
The first major biography of John James Audubon in 40 years, and the first to illuminate fully the private and family life of the master illustrator of the natural world.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Rhodes shows us young Audubon arriving in New York from France in 1803, falling in love, marrying, and crossing the Appalachians to start a new life in frontier Kentucky. We see him exploring the wilderness of birds — pelicans wading the shallows of interior rivers, songbirds flocking, passenger pigeons darkening the skies — and teaching himself to revivify them in glorious life-size images.
We follow him to instant fame in England, where he labors to publish his grand work The Birds of America. In the beautiful, often heartbreaking letters he and his wife, Lucy, exchange across the Atlantic, we read of their great and enduring love. We explore his legacy of acute observation — the sonorities of a wilderness now lost, the brash life of a new nation just inventing itself. And we see Audubon in the fullness of his years winning public honor: embraced by writers and scientists, feted by presidents and royalty. Here is a revelation of Audubon, both the artist and the man — an indispensable portrait of a true American icon.
"[An] absorbring story, and Rhodes tells it surpassingly well. Outstanding." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Reviews)
"This fresh, comprehensive biography will capture the imagination of readers everywhere." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Rhodes's thorough and well-documented book is the most complete record since Alice Ford's 1964 John James Audubon. Highly recommended." Library Journal (Starred Review)
A landmark biography of artist John James Audubon furnishes an illuminating study of the private and family life of the master illustrator of the natural world, detailing his arrival in America from France in 1803, his life in frontier Kentucky, and his extraordinary images of native American wildlife. By the award-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
From the historian Richard Rhodes, the first major biography of John James Audubon in forty years, and the first to illuminate fully the private and family life of the master illustrator of the natural world.
About the Author
Richard Rhodes is the author of twenty books, including novels and works of history, journalism and letters. His The Making of the Atomic Bomb won a Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, a National Book Award, and a National Book Critics Circle Award. Dark Sun, about the development of the hydrogen bomb, was one of three finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in History. A Kansas native, he has frequently explored American history and biography in articles for national magazines. He lives in Half Moon Bay, California.
Richard Rhodes’s Masters of Death and Why They Kill are available in Vintage paperback.
Table of Contents
The making of an American — America my country — The birds of America.
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Arts and Entertainment » Art » History and Criticism