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WALT WHITMAN by Milton Meltzer

WALT WHITMAN

A Biography

By Milton Meltzer

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7613-2272-8
Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Millbrook

Walt Whitman is a rich subject for biography: a long and peripatetic life; jobs that ranged from schoolteacher to printer to Civil War hospital nurse; famed as a journalist, essayist, and above all as a poet. Veteran and much-honored writer Meltzer (Piracy and Plunder, 2001, etc.) does him justice in this readable biography. In every chapter, he places Whitman in the context of his age, from his birth in 1819 on Long Island and his move to Brooklyn, to his journeys during the Civil War, his work in Washington D.C., and his old age in Camden, New Jersey. Meltzer doesn’t stint at the complications of Whitman’s life: his stern and possibly abusive father; his own homosexuality; and his constant search for reliable income. But what he does so elegantly in this study is capture Whitman’s restless spirit and how it both reflected and contradicted the intellectual currents of his time. This is a beautifully designed volume, too, with copious photographs and the color green used to accent chapter headings, page numbers, and so on. Several of Whitman’s best-known poems are excerpted as well. A worthy tribute. (Biography. 10-14)