Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

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Author: David Michaelis

ISBN-10: 1616811420

ISBN-13: 9781616811426

Category: Animators, Cartoonists, & Illustrators - Biography

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Charles Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the most misunderstood figures in American culture. Now, acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full length biography of Schulz: at once a creation story, a portrait of a hidden American genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the national imagination. The son of a barber, Schulz was born in Minnesota to modest, working class roots. In 1943, just three days after his mother's tragic death from cancer, Schulz, a private in the army, shipped out for boot camp and the war in Europe. The sense of shock and separation never left him. And these early experiences would shape his entire life.With Peanuts, Schulz embedded adult ideas in a world of small children to remind the reader that character flaws and childhood wounds are with us always. It was the central truth of his own life, that as the adults we've become and...The Barnes & Noble ReviewAnd you thought Charlie Brown had issues. The beleaguered cartoon character apparently had nothing on his creator, Charles Schulz, presented in David Michaelis's thorough and revealing doorstop of a biography as bitter, anxious, petty, and depressed. While initially supportive family members have denounced Michaelis's portrayal of the legendary Peanuts cartoonist, the author builds a compelling case that Schulz, a Minnesota native and barber's son, suffered from profound feelings of inadequacy. Even after achieving staggering success, he still vividly rehashed ancient slights like his defeat in a drawing contest in junior high school. Michaelis finds evidence of Schulz's turmoil in the work itself, weaving 240 Peanuts strips into the text. Schulz amassed almost unimaginable wealth licensing his characters for feel-good products like stuffed animals and greeting cards, but the excerpted comics are reminders of how dark and emotionally brutal Peanuts could be. If you didn't need to be reminded of that, then you'll likely appreciate this exhaustive look at the man behind what Schulz himself called "the cruelest strip going." But if Peanuts conjures childhood memories of clutching a Snoopy doll and reading Happiness Is a Warm Puppy, then Michaelis may have uncovered more than you care to know. --Barbara Spindel