THE WORLD OF ROGER TORY PETERSON by John C. & Grace Naismith Devlin


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Apparently someone's tinkered with the field glasses, for this ""authorized biography"" of America's eminent artist/naturalist is highly deferential, an anecdotal chronology rather than a rounded life history. Although Peterson's considerable talents are firmly appreciated, the complexities of his character are noted only in passing, and his foibles--absent-mindedness, hot temper--are dismissed as marks of genius, hardly an explanation for hitting out at a wife or raging at a four-year-old son. Instead we get Roger's freckled boyhood as the ""strangest boy in town,"" who preferred birds to children and had a runny nose. Influenced by a seventh-grade teacher and an Ernest Thompson Seton book, he took to the woods early despite strong paternal dissuasion, studied art under Langereis and Nicolaides in New York, and found his own niche at 25 when publication of the groundbreaking Field Guide resulted in broad recognition and a steady income. Peterson's professional associations read like a Who's Who of American naturalism but comments from those involved--often adulatory or overly tactful-shy away from revealing personal judgments. Even readers content with a basic manual will find this clean tribute lacking in perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1977
Publisher: Times Books (formerly Quadrangle/New York Times)