With Alexander Robey Shepherd, John P. Richardson gives us the first full-length biography of his subject, who as Washington, D.C.’s, public works czar (1871–74) built the infrastructure of the nation’s capital in a few frenetic years after the Civil War. The story of Shepherd is also the story of his hometown after that cataclysm, which left the city with churned-up streets, stripped of its trees, and exhausted.
An intrepid businessman, Shepherd became president of Washington’s lower house of delegates at twenty-seven. Garrulous and politically astute, he used every lever to persuade Congress to realize Peter L’Enfant’s vision for the capital. His tenure produced paved and graded streets, sewer systems, trees, and gaslights, and transformed the fetid Washington Canal into one of the city’s most stately avenues. After bankrupting the city, a chastened Shepherd left in 1880 to develop silver mines in western Mexico, where he lived out his remaining twenty-two years.
In Washington, Shepherd worked at the confluence of race, party, region, and urban development, in a microcosm of the United States. Determined to succeed at all costs, he helped force Congress to accept its responsibility for maintenance of its stepchild, the nation’s capital city.
American Workman presents a comprehensive, novel reassessment of the life and work of one of America’s most influential self-taught artists, John Kane. With a full account of Kane’s life as a working man, including his time as a steelworker, coal miner, street paver, and commercial painter in and around Pittsburgh in the early twentieth century, the authors explore how these occupations shaped his development as an artist and his breakthrough success in the modern art world. A rough-and-tumble blue-collar man prone to brawling and drinking, Kane also sought out beauty in the industrial world he inhabited. This Kane paradox—brawny and tough, sensitive and creative—was at the heart of much of the public’s interest in Kane as a person. The allure of the Kane saga was heightened all the more by the fact that he did not achieve renown until he was at the age at which most people are retiring from their professions. Kane’s dedication to painting resulted in a fascinating body of work that has ended up in some of America’s most important museums and private collections. His dramatic life story demonstrates the courage, strength, and creativity of his generation of workmen. They may be long gone, but thanks to Kane they cannot be forgotten.
It all started in 1965 with a guy riding a whale. The guy was Flip Nicklin’s father, Chuck, and the whale was an unlucky Bryde’s Whale that had gotten caught up in some anchor line. Hoping to free the whale, Chuck and some friends took their boat as near as they could, and, just before they cut it loose, Chuck posed astride it for a photo.
That image, carried on wire services nationwide, became a sensation and ultimately changed the life of Chuck’s young son, Flip. In the decades since that day, Flip Nicklin has made himself into the world’s premier cetacean photographer. It’s no exaggeration to say that his photos, published in such venues as National Geographic and distributed worldwide, have virtually defined these graceful, powerful creatures in the mind of the general public—even as they helped open new ground in the field of marine mammalogy.
Among Giants tells the story of Nicklin’s life and career on the high seas, from his first ill-equipped shoots in the mid-1970s through his long association with the National Geographic Society to the present, when he is one of the founders of Whale Trust, a nonprofit conservation and research group. Nicklin is equal parts photographer, adventurer, self-trained scientist, and raconteur, and Among Giants reflects all those sides, matching breathtaking images to firsthand accounts of their making, and highlighting throughout the importance of conservation and new advances in our understanding of whale behavior. With Nicklin as our guide, we see not just whales but also our slowly growing understanding of their hidden lives, as well as the evolution of underwater photography—and the stunning clarity and drama that can be captured when a determined, daring diver is behind the lens.
Humpbacks, narwhals, sperm whales, orcas—these and countless other giants of the ocean parade through these pages, spouting, breaching, singing, and raising their young. Nicklin’s photographs bring us so completely into the underwater world of whales that we can’t help but feel awe, while winning, personal accounts of his adventures remind us of what it’s like to be a lone diver sharing their sea.
For anyone who has marveled at the majesty of whales in the wild, Among Giants is guaranteed to be inspiring, even moving—its unmatched images of these glorious beings an inescapable reminder of our responsibility as stewards of the ocean.
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title“Thanks to Bigsby’s research, particularly into previously unseen material, his account of Miller trying to hang on to his soul in midcentury America shows that he was large not least in his contradictions…What the book makes newly clear, though, is how much of Miller’s work reflects his own personal struggles.”—Jeremy McCarter, New York Times Book Review“Bigsby’s biography is so effective because it manages to locate Miller’s art in terms both of the progression of his idealism and the regressions of his actual experience. There can’t be many writers who appeared to live so much at the center of their times and who suffered so much from that seeming centrality.”—Andrew O’Hagan, London Review of BooksThis is the long-awaited biography of one of the twentieth century’s greatest playwrights, Arthur Miller, whose postwar decade of work earned him international critical and popular acclaim. Christopher Bigsby’s gripping, meticulously researched biography, based on boxes of papers made available to him before Miller’s death, examines his refusal to name names before the notorious House on Un-American Activities Committee, offers new insights into Miller’s marriage to Marilyn Monroe, and sheds new light on how their relationship informed Miller’s subsequent great plays.
Controversial, flamboyant, contentious, brilliant--Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was certainly all of those. Few American artists have stirred so much love and hatred as he did in a career that lasted almost seventy years. Although his painting aroused much controversy, perhaps equally as much was created by his words, for his piercing wit, profane sarcasms, and insightful condemnations were fired off without restraint. In this fiery and provocative autobiography, Benton presents an intriguing records of American art and society during his lifetime.
The first installment of this work was published in 1937, but Benton continued his life story in chapters added to editions published in 1951 and 1968. This new edition includes seventy-six drawings that add much to his narrative, plus a foreword discussing Benton's place in American art and an afterword covering his career after 1968, both written by art historian Matthew Baigell.
Although Benton is most famous as a regionalist painter and muralist, his complex and fascinating career brought him into contact with many of the most important artists and thinkers of the century, including Jackson Pollock, Grant Wood, Julian Huxley, Felix Frankfurter, Eugene Debbs, John Reed, and Harry Truman. While living in New York and on Martha's Vineyard in the 1920s and 1930s, Benton often associated with leading intellectuals and radicals. However, when his evolving principles of art led him away from an interest in Marxism, he was bitterly attacked by many of his former friends, and his account of that time reveals strikingly the fierce critical battles he faced in trying to establish his own artistic vision.
Critics on the Left were not his only opponents, however, and equally revealing are his responses to the moral condemnations heaped on his murals done for the states of Indiana and Missouri and on his realistic nudes of the late 1930s.
Throughout his account, from descriptions of his boyhood in southwest Missouri, his travels, and his career to discussions of specific works of art and other artists, Benton portrays people and events as vividly in words as he does in his paintings.
Few artists have ever been so beloved—or so controversial among art critics—as Andrew Wyeth. The groundbreaking book Artists of Wyeth Country presents an unauthorized and unbiased biographical portrait of Wyeth, based on interviews with family, friends, neighbors—even actress Eva Marie Saint. Journalist W. Barksdale Maynard shines new light on the reclusive artist, emphasizing Wyeth’s artistic debt to Howard Pyle as well as his surprising interest in surrealism. The book is filled with brand-new information and fresh interpretations.
Artists of Wyeth Country also comprises the first-ever guidebook to the artistic world of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, center of the Brandywine Tradition begun by Howard Pyle. Six in-depth tours for walking or driving allow the reader to stand exactly where N. C. and Andrew Wyeth stood, as has never been fully possible before.
As Maynard explains, Andrew Wyeth’s artistic process was influenced by Henry David Thoreau’s nature-worship and by his habit of walking daily. Newly commissioned maps, rare aerial photographs, as well as glorious full-color images and artworks of the landscape (many never reproduced before) illustrate the text.
A fascinating exploration of the world of Andrew Wyeth, Artists of Wyeth Country is sure to become an essential new source for those who love American art as well as for admirers of the scenic landscapes of the Mid-Atlantic, of which the Brandywine Valley is an exceptional example. As a rare, unauthorized biography of Andrew Wyeth, it opens the door for an entirely new understanding of the American master.
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