Synopses & Reviews
Charles M. Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the least understood figures in American culture. Now acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full-length biography of the brilliant, unseen man behind Peanuts: at once a creation story, a portrait of a native genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the national imagination.
It is the most American of stories: How a barber's son grew up from modest beginnings to realize his dream of creating a newspaper comic strip. How he daringly chose themes never before attempted in mainstream cartoons--loneliness, isolation, melancholy, the unending search for love--always lightening the darker side with laughter and mingling the old-fashioned sweetness of childhood with a very adult and modern awareness of the bitterness of life. And how, using a lighthearted, loving touch, a crow-quill pen dipped in ink, and a cast of memorable characters, he portrayed the struggles that come with being awkward, imperfect, human.
With Peanuts, Schulz profoundly influenced America in the second half of the twentieth century. But the humorous strip was anchored in the collective experience and hardships of the artist's generation--the generation that survived the Great Depression, liberated Europe and the Pacific, and came home to build the prosperous postwar world. Michaelis masterfully weaves Schulz's story with the cartoons that are so familiar to us, revealing how so much more of his life was part of the strip than we ever knew.
Based on years of research, including exclusive interviews with the cartoonist's family, friends, and colleagues, unprecedented access to his studio and business archives, and new caches of personal letters and drawings, Schulz and Peanuts is the definitive epic biography of an American icon and the unforgettable characters he created.
“Michaelis takes us on a wondrous journey through the worlds of Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz.” Walter Isaacson
“An insightful rendering of the life of this American treasure.” Walter Cronkite
“An extraordinary achievement . . . that shrinks Schulz down to human size and enlarges our love of his work.” Time magazine
“Michaelis offers . . . all thats needed about a prodigy of American cultural history.” Kirkus Reviews
“A fascinating account of an artist who devoted his life to his work.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This falls breakout biography.” GQ
“After you read this book you will know the genius that went into every single line that Charles Schulz drew.” Chris Ware
andquot;Nancy Plain's Light on the Prairie . . . places Butcher's work in its historical and sociological context, and provides a well-chosen sampling of his photographs.andquot;andmdash;Benjamin Schwarz, Atlantic
"Plain has an enviable gift for storytelling."and#8212;M. Melissa Wolfe, Great Plains Quarterly
"Plain has again taken a subject, explored it deeply, and expressed the nuances of the story in a way that both educates and entertains. . . . This is a book that belongs in every Nebraska school, and the homes of anyone who wants to understand our western homestead legacy and Great Plains history better."and#8212;Candy Moulton, Fence Post
"The images in this collection are stunning. Farmers posed in front of sod houses, tracklayers working on the Union Pacific Railroad, corn harvesting, and even the sadness of a family gathered around a lonely grave, all iconic views reflecting the irrepressible spirit of the Nebraska pioneers who made this inhospitable region their home."and#8212;Larry Cox, Tucson Citizen
"Superbly reproducing sixty-two of Butcher's iconic photographs depicting life and times in frontier Nebraska, Light on the Prairie features an informed and informative commentary making it a very highly recommended and unique addition to personal, community, and academic library American History and American Photography reference collections and supplemental reading lists."and#8212;James A Cox, Midwest Book Review
"Light on the Prairie serves as a model of how a book for young readers can educate as well as delight."and#8212;Kate Elliot, Annals of Iowa
Charles M. Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the least understood figures in American culture. Now, acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full-length biography of the brilliant, unseen man behind Peanuts: at once a creation story, a portrait of a native genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the national imagination. Schulz and Peanuts is the definitive epic biography of an American icon and the unforgettable characters he created.
Charles M. Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the least understood figures in American culture. Now, acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full-length biography of the brilliant, unseen man behind Peanuts: at once a creation story, a portrait of a native genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the national imagination. Schulz and Peanutsis the definitive epic biography of an American icon and the unforgettable characters he created.
Once President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160 acres of free land to anyone with the grit to farm it for five years, the rush to the Great Plains was on. Solomon D. Butcher was there to document it, amassing more than three thousand photographs and compiling the most complete record of the sod house era ever made.
Butcher (1856and#8211;1927) staked his claim on the plains in 1880. He didnand#8217;t like farming, but he found another way to thrive. He had learned the art of photography as a teenager, and he began taking pictures of his friends and neighbors. Butcher noticed how fast the vast land was and#8220;settling up,and#8221; so he formed the plan that would become his lifeand#8217;s workand#8212;to record the frontier days in words and images.
Alongside sixty-two of Butcherand#8217;s iconic photographs, Light on the Prairie conveys the irrepressible spirit of a man whose passion would give us a firsthand look at the men and women who settled the Great Plains. Like his subjects, Butcher was a pioneer, even though he held a camera more often than a plow.
Watch an interview with the author.
At lastand#8212;a spotlight on the flesh-and-blood cartoonists whose sensibilities have helped define The New Yorker.
Available for the first time to The New Yorker
and#8217;s one million-plus readers: a volume dedicated to the individual careers of the magazineand#8217;s cartoon superstars.
Widely considered to be the pantheon of single-panel cartooning, The New Yorker cartoonistsand#8217; styles are richly varied, and their personal stories are surprising. For example, did you know that Arnie Levin is a seventy-three-year-old former Beatnik painter with a handlebar mustache and a back decorated by Japanand#8217;s foremost tattoo artists?
Gehrand#8217;s book features fascinating biographical profiles of such artists as Gahan Wilson, Sam Gross, Roz Chast, Lee Lorenz, and Edward Koren. Along with a dozen such profiles, Gehr provides a brief history of The New Yorker cartoon itself, touching on the lives and work of earlier illustrating wits, including Charles Addams, James Thurber, and William Steig.
About the Author
Nancy Plain is the author of nine childrenand#8217;s books, including With One Sky Above Us: The Story of Chief Joseph and the Nez Perce Indians, winner of the 2010 Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction, and Sagebrush and Paintbrush: The Story of Charlie Russell, the Cowboy Artist, winner of the 2008 Spur Award for Best Western Juvenile Nonfiction. Her books have also won the Carter G. Woodson Honor award and First Place in Childrenand#8217;s Nonfiction from the National Federation of Press Women.
Table of Contents
Foreword: View of The New Yorker from Portland, Oregon by Matt Groeningand#8195;ix
Introduction: How to Read a New Yorker Cartoonand#8195;xii
1.and#160;The Editor with a Horn: Lee Lorenzand#8195;1
2.and#160;Sex, Death, and Frogsand#8217; Legs: Sam Grossand#8195;21
3.and#160;The Exurban Everymom: Roz Chastand#8195;40
4.and#160;King of the Scrapyard: George Boothand#8195;59
5.and#160;The Beastly Beatitudes of Edward Korenand#8195;75
6.and#160;The Kansas City Curmudgeon: Charles Barsottiand#8195;94
7.and#160;Hep-Cat Cartoonist Arnie Levinand#8195;111
8.and#160;The Coupled Cosmos of Victoria Robertsand#8195;129
9.and#160;Auteur dand#8217;Horreur: Gahan Wilsonand#8195;145
10.and#160;The Belated Middle American: Jack Zieglerand#8195;162
11.and#160;Neckless: The Short, Sharp World of Zachary Kaninand#8195;181
12.and#160;The Doctor of Dots: Robert Mankoffand#8195;197