Reviewed by John Glover, Reference Librarian for the Humanities
Charles Schulz is known worldwide as the creator of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and all their other friends who anchored thousands of funny pages from 1950 to 2000. Among all the comics that have come and gone over the years, Schulz's Peanuts has stood the test of time. It was difficult at best to grow up in the United States in this period and not be in contact with Peanuts in some form or another: the comic strip, the television adaptations, the merchandise.
The interviews and appreciations presented in this volume vary in focus and length, ranging from 1956 to 1999 in date and including the exhaustive interview Schulz gave to comics publisher and editor Gary Groth in 1997. They provide remarkable insights into the life of the man behind this amazing American creation. Some are intriguing, some heartwarming, and some confounding. While it is never easy to hear hard things about idols or loved ones, this book displays the great man's strengths and weaknesses. While some interviewers glossed over the rough spots, others stuck doggedly to their guns, particularly Groth in his quest to understand Schulz's relationship with and attitude toward the commercialization of Peanuts.
If you have an abiding fondness for Peanuts or comics in general, you will probably enjoy this book. The details of Schulz's life, from little red-haired girls to his service in WWII, make for fascinating reading, and no one with a heart could fail to enjoy this beloved cartoonist's stories about the genesis and lives of his pen and ink creations.