A meticulous portrait of a pioneer American photographer. Brady kept no diary and had no Boswell, so little is known of his private life, but his public career was spectacular: friend to many contemporary notables, from Boss Tweed to P.T. Barnum; preeminent portraitist of the Civil War era; official photographer for the New York wedding of Barnum's ""Midgets,"" General Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren; organizer of the epochal, heartrending ""Dead at Antietam"" exhibit. Sullivan suggests that Brady is remembered for the wrong reasons, that he personally took relatively few of the pictures credited to him (the actual photographers are carefully noted, when known) but was one of the first to realize photography's potential for creating a powerful, immediate historical record; he sent out teams of photographers to shoot battlefields, and his collection of Civil War glass plate negatives numbered in the thousands. Sullivan devotes a chapter to Brady's extraordinary relationship with Lincoln and finishes with an account of his debt-plagued later years and the eventual fate of his negatives. Illuminating, perceptive, and heavily illustrated with sharply reproduced photos, some famous and some seldom seen. Bibliography, index.