by John Hudson Tiner; Shirley Young Book : Biography : Juvenile audience
Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist with a Message   (2013-04-25)
Review of Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist with a Message by John Hudson Tiner
CITATION: Tiner, J. H. (1987). Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist with a Message (The Sowers Series). Milford. Michigan: Mott Media.
Reviewer: Dr W. P. Palmer
This book is one of a series to meet the needs of students, probably in the late primary or early secondary age range. It has been well researched as the book contains some details of Morse's life, not easily available elsewhere. The format chosen is to present Morse's life in terms of conversations between Morse and many of the people with whom he interacted. These imaginary conversations provide us with Morse's life story. The main problem is that this methodology presents too bland a picture of Morse, who had many admirable qualities which are fully brought out in the text. However Morse was not always a pleasant character and the rougher side of his nature is glossed over. At one stage he stood for Mayor of New York and received fewest votes, because of his intemperate views. This is not mentioned. After the death of his first wife, he left the care of his children to other members of his family, and this is mentioned, with Morse's lengthy trip to Europe appearing to be a reasonable course of action for a loving father.
The reviewer's purpose in choosing this book was to see whether `Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist with a Message' contained useful information about Morse's friend, Professor Lionel Gale. Chapter 9 (pp.94-105) contains some information about Gale, but it is not significantly different from other sources, such as `<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1930098081/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk">The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse</a>and `<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0306813947/ref=cm_cr_asin_lnk">Lightning Man: The Accursed Life Of Samuel F.B. Morse</a>, which are detailed biographies for an adult audience.
Overall `Samuel F.B. Morse: Artist with a Message' was a reasonable attempt at providing teenagers with a biography of a man who might be considered an example for American youth in spite of the flaws in his character.
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