Lukes conveys to a new generation that the poet of ""Hiawatha"" and ""Paul Revere's Ride"" was a cultural icon in his own time, and that while his longer verse may no longer be to popular taste, many of his images still resonate. Longfellow wanted a life of letters from a very early age, having his first poem published in the local newspaper in Portland, Maine, when he was 13. He studied at Bowdoin during its earliest years, and when he graduated, they offered him a teaching position for modern languages, which he had to go to Europe (for two years) to learn. Longfellow found solace and intellectual exercise in writing and translating all of his life. He loved his wives; both died tragically, one while young and the other in a household fire. Lakes has written a rich biography, using original sources for the sound of Longfellow's voice and the voices of his family, and their joys and travails make them seem very contemporary. Her writing is strong enough that this entry in the World Writers series can be read for pleasure, as well as for research.