Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

David Michaelis, Author . Harper $34.95 (655p) ISBN 978-0-06-621393-4

For all the joy Charlie Brown and the gang gave readers over half a century, their creator, Charles Schulz, was a profoundly unhappy man. It's widely known that he hated the name Peanuts, which was foisted on the strip by his syndicate. But Michaelis (N.C. Wyeth: A Biography ), given access to family, friends and personal papers, reveals the full extent of Schulz's depression, tracing its origins in his Minnesota childhood, with parents reluctant to encourage his artistic dreams and yearbook editors who scrapped his illustrations without explanation. Nearly 250 Peanuts strips are woven into the biography, demonstrating just how much of his life story Schulz poured into the cartoon. In one sequence, Snoopy's crush on a girl dog is revealed as a barely disguised retelling of the artist's extramarital affair. Michaelis is especially strong in recounting Schulz's artistic development, teasing out the influences on his unique characterization of children. And Michaelis makes plain the full impact of Peanuts' first decades and how much it puzzled and unnerved other cartoonists. This is a fascinating account of an artist who devoted his life to his work in the painful belief that it was all he had. 16 pages of b&w photos; 240 b&w comic strips throughout. (Oct. 16)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-155468-1
Paperback - 655 pages - 978-0-06-093799-7
Compact Disc - 978-0-06-136707-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-155467-4
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