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His name summons up our earliest images of the beloved books we read as children. His illustrations for Scribner's Illustrated Classics (Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Last of the Mohicans, The Yearling) are etched into the collective memory of generations of readers. He was hailed as the greatest American illustrator of his day. For forty-three years, starting in 1902, N.C. Wyeth painted landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and murals, as well as illustrations for a long shelf of world literature. Yet despite worldwide acclaim, he judged himself a failure, believing that illustration was of no importance.
David Michaelis tells the story of Wyeth's family through four generations -- a saga that begins and ends with tragedy -- and brings to life the huge-spirited, deeply complicated man, and an America that was quickly vanishing.