Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan

74%

14 Critic Reviews

...Mr. Egan fills his chronicle with bright turns of phrase and radiant descriptions, making both places and people come alive.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

“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

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.

“A darn good yarn. Egan is a muscular storyteller and his book is a rollicking page-turner with a colorfully drawn hero.” — San Francisco Chronicle

"A riveting biography of an American original." – Boston Globe
 

About Timothy Egan

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TIMOTHY EGAN is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter and the author of six books, most recently The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America, a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Washington State Book Award. His previous books include The Worst Hard Time, which won a National Book Award and was named a New York Times Editors' Choice. He is an online op-ed columnist for the New York Times, writing his "Opinionator" feature once a week.He is a third-generation Westerner and lives in Seattle.  
 
Published October 9, 2012 by Mariner Books. 389 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Travel, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher
All: 14 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
Jul 15 2012

Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history’s shadows.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by JOSH GARRETT-DAVIS on Nov 11 2012

In “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher” Mr. Egan has set his lens too close to his subject to focus on what was most troubling, and most compelling, about him.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Deborah Solomon on Oct 26 2012

...Egan prefers to emphasize the documentarian in Curtis over the artist...It’s as if Egan is judging Curtis by the standards of journalism, lauding him as a guy who knew how to get in and get the story and relate it without bias.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jul 09 2012

With a reporter’s eye for detail, Egan delivers a gracefully written biography and adventure story.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by WAYNE CURTIS on Oct 12 2012

...Mr. Egan fills his chronicle with bright turns of phrase and radiant descriptions, making both places and people come alive.

Read Full Review of Short Nights Of The Shadow Ca... | See more reviews from WSJ online

LA Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Hector Tobar on Oct 18 2012

...Egan's excellent book stands as a fitting tribute to an American original who fought for a people with his camera and his art.

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Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by David Holahan on Oct 15 2012

...the author artfully frames a stunning portrait of Edward Curtis that captures every patina of his glory, brilliance, and pathos.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Don Oldenburg on Oct 14 2012

Egan writes this fascinating biography with a compelling...narrative that challenges the age-old ratio of a picture's worth to a thousand words. Egan somehow makes both more valuable.

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The Boston Globe

Excellent
Reviewed by Kathryn Lang on Oct 16 2012

This is a riveting biography of an American original.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by Jon Christensen on Oct 15 2012

This is all done with the best intentions, to be sure...But if recent scholarship on American Indians has taught us anything, it is to be wary of even the best of intentions.

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The Seattle Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Charles Cross on Oct 07 2012

Egan calls Curtis' book a work of "lasting merit." The same can also easily be said for "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher."

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Oregon Live

Below average
Reviewed by John Strawn on Oct 13 2012

...the tone of Egan's "Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher" is restrained, as if the author is reluctant to evaluate as well as narrate.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Gary Krist on Oct 13 2012

“Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher” lacks the driving narrative of Egan’s earlier books...he adopts a brassy colloquialism in this book that can sometimes be off-putting.

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California Literary Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Ed Voves on Oct 15 2012

In Shadow Catcher, Egan lets the remarkable course of Curtis’ great photographic endeavor supply the momentum of the story.

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Reader Rating for Short Nights Of The Shadow Catcher
87%

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