Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Paperback)

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Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis By Timothy Egan Cover Image

Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis (Paperback)


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History buffs, this one's for you; a must read! After finishing Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, one can only sit back and try to imagine the life of this extraordinary man!  These are things our history books could never convey.  Born in 1868 in Whitewater, Wisconsin, Edward Curtis dropped out of school in the 6th grade and then went on to become one of the most famous recognized portrait photographers of his day.  And yet, nowhere that I can recall, had I ever learned of him; his life story seemingly having faded away...until now, thanks to Timothy Egan (author of The Worst Hard Time). Curtis's
swashbuckling image hardly matched the feats he left us in the annuals of the history of this nation.  High words, I know, but an amazing story when you see the comparative ease in which photographs are taken today.
Curtis built up a portrait photography business in Seattle, Washington, having migrated to the area with his father.  His life took a fortuitous turn when on a photographic expedition on Mt. Rainier, he helped
rescue a party of lost scientists who included George Bird Grinnell founder of the Audubon Society and C.H. Merriam, one of the original founders of the National Geographic Society.  With the beginnings from those connections, his portrait studio launched him into taking some of the most iconic pictures of the rich & famous including Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan.  But it was the picture of Chief Seattle's daughter, Princess Angeline and trips to Indian Reservations
with Grinnell that gave him his "Great Idea": "to capture on film the continent's original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared."  That feat would have been incredible on its own, but along with the photographs, he chronicled and audibly recorded Indian languages and ceremonies as well.  Just imagine hauling all that equipment, glass slides, audio recorders, food, camping materials...on horseback!  
But let's not forget the financial obligations to his staff, suppliers, Guides... and to himself.  It took him over 30 years to complete the task, never taking a penny for his work, begging for sponsors, ending up losing his marriage and every last personal and business possession.  The work he accomplished with the North American Indians (20 volumes) is his lasting legacy to a monumental work of art and history. Epic indeed! Thank you, Edward Curtis and thank you Timothy Egan for bringing this story alive!
— From Karen L

A New York Times Notable Book
A Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Timothy Egan reveals the life story of the man determined to preserve a people and culture in Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis.

“A vivid exploration of one man's lifelong obsession with an idea . . . Egan’s spirited biography might just bring [Curtis] the recognition that eluded him in life.” ​— ​The Washington Post

Edward Curtis was charismatic, handsome, a passionate mountaineer, and a famous portrait photographer, the Annie Leibovitz of his time. He moved in rarefied circles, a friend to presidents, vaudeville stars, leading thinkers. But when he was thirty-two years old, in 1900, he gave it all up to pursue his Great Idea: to capture on film the continent’s original inhabitants before the old ways disappeared.

Curtis spent the next three decades documenting the stories and rituals of more than eighty North American tribes. It took tremendous perseverance  ​— ​ ten years alone to persuade the Hopi to allow him to observe their Snake Dance ceremony. And the undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate. Curtis would amass more than 40,000 photographs and 10,000 audio recordings, and he is credited with making the first narrative documentary film. In the process, the charming rogue with the grade school education created the most definitive archive of the American Indian.
TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and the author of eight other books, most recently The Immortal Irishman, a New York Times bestseller. His book on the Dust Bowl, The Worst Hard Time, won a National Book Award for nonfiction. His account of photographer Edward Curtis, Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, won the Carnegie Medal for nonfiction. He writes a biweekly opinion column for the New York Times.

Product Details ISBN: 9780544102767
ISBN-10: 0544102762
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013
Pages: 384
Language: English

* A New York Times Notable Book *An Amazon Best Book * A Publishers Weekly Best Book * A Christian Science Monitor Best Book   "In this hauntingly beautiful book, Egan brings Curtis to life as vividly and with as much depth, heart and understanding as Curtis himself put into his timeless portraits. This is a story for the ages."  --Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt and Destiny of the Republic   "An obsessive genius neglects his personal life and business matters to pursue a great white whale. It's a familiar tale and the essential narrative of Egan's terrific biography. . . . Egan fills his chronicle with bright turns of phrase and radiant descriptions . . . A sweeping tale about two vanishing ways of life." -- Wall Street Journal   "A stirring and affectionate portrait of an underknown figure." -- The New York Times Book Review   "Short Nights is not only the marvelous and rollicking account of life of one of America's extraordinary photographers. It is also a book about the extreme personal cost of outsized ambition. Egan has found yet another great subject, and has crafted yet another great narrative around it." -- S.C. Gwynne, author of Empire of the Summer Moon   "In this extraordinary biography, Tim Egan has revealed a great American adventurer who lived at the fragile, fertile intersection of history, anthropology, and art." --Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder "A vivid exploration of one man's lifelong obsession with an idea . . .Egan's spirited biography might just bring [Curtis] the recognition that eluded him in life." -- Washington Post "Egan is a muscular storyteller and his book is a rollicking page-turner with a colorfully drawn hero." -- San Francisco Chronicle "A stunning portrait of Edward Curtis that captures every patina of his glory, brilliance, and pathos." -- Christian Science Monitor   "Egan brings liveliness and a wealth of detail to his biography of the legendary photographer . . . A riveting biography." - Boston Globe
"Insightful and entetaining . . . Egan's excellent book stands as a fitting tribute to an American original who fought for a people with his camera and his art." -- Los Angeles Times
"[A] captivating tribute to a treasured American and the treasures he created."-- Dallas Morning News