Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America

Miles Harvey, Author . Random $27 (338p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6120-4

Harvey (The Island of Lost Maps ) embarks on a fascinating exploration of the obscure life and violent times of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, who arrived in America in 1564, almost half a century before the English at Jamestown. The drawings he left, virtually forgotten until a few years ago, when they began fetching towering prices at Sotheby's, depict in almost photographic detail a now extinct Native American world. Harvey, his curiosity sparked during a visit to Jacksonville, Fla.—near the site of Le Moyne's doomed colony of French Protestants—uncovered “a tale replete with shipwrecks, mutinies, religious wars, political intrigues, pirate raids, Indian attacks, famines, hurricanes, and mass murders.” This book doubles as a narrative of Harvey's own expedition to discover more about his subject and the story of Le Moyne's works in the centuries after his death—and their sad fate at the hands of a New York antiquities dealer. Harvey's volume hits the sweet spot for both adventure buffs and history fans. 4 pages of color illus., b&w illus. throughout. (June 24)

Reviewed on: 04/28/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-8129-7048-7
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 265 pages - 978-1-58836-709-9
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!