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 American Indian territory 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, his journeys 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 twenty 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.
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