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Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis | [Timothy Egan]

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, Egan's book tells the remarkable untold story behind Edward Curtis's iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than eighty tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate.
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Publisher's Summary

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, Egan's book tells the remarkable untold story behind Edward Curtis's iconic photographs, following him throughout Indian country from desert to rainforest as he struggled to document the stories and rituals of more than 80 tribes. Even with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt and J.P. Morgan, it took tremendous perseverance. The undertaking changed him profoundly, from detached observer to outraged advocate.

He would die penniless and unknown in Hollywood just a few years after publishing the last of his 20 volumes. But the charming rogue with the grade-school education had fulfilled his promise - his great adventure succeeded in creating one of America's most stunning cultural achievements.

PDF features Edward Curtis photographs.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Timothy Egan (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What the Critics Say

"With a reporter's eye for detail, Egan delivers a gracefully written biography and adventure story." (Publishers Weekly)

"Lucent prose illuminates a man obscured for years in history's shadows." (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (70 )
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4.3 (65 )
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4.0 (64 )
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  •  
    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 10-29-12
    D. Donohue New York, NY USA 10-29-12 Member Since 2009

    dungha

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "STUPENDOUS!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Riveting, no matter any preconceptions about Curtis, this author is a master.


    What other book might you compare Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher to and why?

    Rebecca Solnit's remarkable River of Shadows, which is about Edweard Muybridge and the amazing geo-socio-psychological and historical reasons for his work.


    What about David Drummond’s performance did you like?

    He is really perfect. Has a world-weary voice, suitable to the material.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Impossible Dream! A Quixotic Story of a man who gave up everything for a 20 volume photobook.


    Any additional comments?

    My review of the book on the ICP Library blog

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie SEATTLE, WA, United States 02-19-13
    Valerie SEATTLE, WA, United States 02-19-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Good historical biography"

    I grew up in Seattle and didn't know anything about Curtis except having seen his photographs, it is always amazing what you find in your own backyard that they never even mentioned in school. What a dedicated person his was

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 09-30-13
    Fictionwriter Massachusetts 09-30-13 Member Since 2008

    I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.

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    "Another excellent book by Timothy Egan"

    I would read anything Egan writes. His research is meticulous, the story well told and the subjects always of interest. He does not disappoint in this tale of the man who immortalized with photography the ancient ways of the Native Americans. A true hero although he rose from poverty to die in obscurity. Without Curtis, so many of the traditions and portraits of the native people the European settlers trampled, killed and scattered would be lost to history. The reading is clear and modulated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia PORT ANGELES, WA, United States 07-14-13
    Cynthia PORT ANGELES, WA, United States 07-14-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Great story but less than great narrator"

    This is a great biography of an incredible photographer. I am quite familiar with his astounding portraits of the life of American Indians at the turn of last century. As I listened to the book I went online to look up the photographs that are referred to and that made the story even more intriguing. As Americans we are familiar with many of these images however knowing the story of Mr. Curtis and his devotion to telling the story of our indigenous peoples makes the photos come alive.

    I found the narration lacking however. I'll admit I am spoiled by readers such as George Guidall and James Marsters who can impart such distinct character into each player in a story. David Drummond's style reminded me of a television news reporter more than the voice of someone telling the story of an important piece of American history.

    As an aside; much of this story takes place in and around Seattle which is close to where I live so that made the story even more interesting for me and perhaps other Seattlites.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Fairview Heights, IL, United States 01-01-13
    Patrick Fairview Heights, IL, United States 01-01-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Best Story of the Vanishing American Indian"
    If you could sum up Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher in three words, what would they be?

    Compelling Unforgettable Saddening


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher?

    Recounting of Custer's Last Stand. Did he watch from the hillside?


    Have you listened to any of David Drummond’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    None that I can recall. This performance was magnificent, though the author must be given credit for putting together such a compelling story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    too many to mention


    Any additional comments?

    We have romanticized our treatment of the American Indian for so long, that we believe we actually treated them fairly.
    It is refreshing to hear the history of Curtis and of his dedication to his mission to portray an accurate history of a people our government was willfully destroying, culturally, if not in fact.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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