Michaelis, David 1957- (David Tead Michaelis)
Michaelis, David 1957- (David Tead Michaelis)
Born October 3, 1957, in Boston, MA; son of Michael (a consultant) and Diana Tead (a filmmaker) Michaelis. Education: Princeton University, B.A., 1979. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Episcopalian.
Writer, 1977—. Volunteer auxiliary police officer, New York City Police Department, 1981-83.
Princeton Club (New York, NY), Chowderhead Society.
(With John Aristotle Phillips) Mushroom: The Story of the A-Bomb Kid, Morrow (New York, NY), 1978.
The Best of Friends: Profiles of Extraordinary Friendships, Morrow, 1983.
Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, Bantam (New York, NY), 1989.
N.C. Wyeth, Knopf (New York, NY), 1998, Perennial (New York, NY), 2003.
(Author of essays with Tom Brokaw) One Nation: Patriots and Pirates Portrayed by N.C. Wyeth and James Wyeth, Little, Brown and Company (Boston, MA), 2000.
Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, Harper (New York, NY), 2007.
Contributor of articles to periodicals, including American Heritage, Esquire, Reader's Digest, New York, and Life. Contributing editor to Paris Review and Manhattan, Inc.
David Michaelis is a writer and biographer. He has written several nonfiction books, including Mushroom: The Story of the A-Bomb Kid in 1978 and The Best of Friends: Profiles of Extraordinary Friendships in 1983. In 1989 Michaelis also published the book Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl. He widely contributes articles to periodicals, including American Heritage, Esquire, Reader's Digest, New York, and Life. Michaelis also served as a contributing editor to the Paris Review and Manhattan, Inc.
Michaelis once told CA: "Mushroom is a nonfiction narrative about John Phillips, my freshman-year roommate at Princeton who, as a junior, designed on paper a workable nuclear fission device for his junior-year physics requirements. One must not make the mistake that so many publications made when Phillip's project was brought to the public's attention: There was no actual bomb anywhere on the Princeton campus, merely a paper whose contents were awarded an A+ by the physics department.
"My second nonfiction book, The Best of Friends, is a book of profiles about the importance of friendship in the lives of fourteen men: Donold B. Lourie and George H. Love, chairmen of the boards of Quaker Oats and Consolidation Coal, respectively; Isamu Noguchi, the sculptor, and Buckminster Fuller, the philosopher-inventor; Duncan Spencer and George Cadwalader, transatlantic sailors; LeMoyne Billings, an advertising executive, and President John F. Kennedy; Dave Knowles and Rob Taylor, alpine mountain climbers; U.S. Naval commanders Leonard F. Picotte and Michael B. Edwards; and actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The book would never have been written without the unfailing friendship, encouragement, and editorial skill of my best friend, A. Scott Berg, author of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. Scott not only served as the unofficial editor of the manuscript, but also as the guiding force and main inspiration of the book itself."
Michaelis published his first biography, N.C. Wyeth, in 1998. Relating to the popular Wyeth family of artists, this book "is the first biography of the patriarch of that family," according to Adam Gopnik in the New York Times Book Review. Steven Henry Madoff, reviewing the book in Time magazine, observed that "Michaelis captures Wyeth and his times vividly," calling the biography both "meticulous" and "satisfying." Booklist contributor Karen Simonetti was more critical, calling the biography "a fascinating life story but one likely to disappoint those interested mainly in the artist's work." Best known for his classic illustrations of such children's books as Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, and Robin Hood, Wyeth led a generally placid life marked only by the strange and unexpectedly violent nature of his 1945 death in a car accident. "Integrating Wyeth's complex personal and psychological life with his artistic oeuvre," Martin R. Kalfatovic noted in Library Journal, "Michaelis creates a portrait of both the artist and the man." Gopnik concluded that "Michaelis has assembled an excellent account … well written, conscientious and, on the whole, enthralling."
In 2007, Michaelis published Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography. The account is the result of six years of research with the cooperation of the Schulz family in providing resources on the legendary comic strip writer's life. The biography covers Charles Schulz's attitudes toward his highly successful "Peanuts" comic strip, as well as his views on children and life. Michaelis looks at the connections between Schulz and his most famous comic character, Charlie Brown, and he draws similarities between the cartoon character's interaction with schoolmates and dismal performance at sports and Schulz's experiences as a child.
Charles McGrath, reviewing the book in the New York Times Book Review, commented that "Michaelis, who had the cooperation of the Schulz family, tells this story brightly and engagingly, if not always succinctly and without repetition. There is rather less than one might expect about the rich tradition of newspaper comics that spawned Schulz, and more than some readers might prefer about, for example, the patterns of metastasis in cervical cancer (the disease that killed Schulz's mother). Throughout the book Michaelis maintains affection for his subject without losing sight of how exasperating and narcissistic he could be." McGrath pointed out that "the smartest thing he has done is to pepper his pages with actual strips from ‘Peanuts,’ dozens of them, usually without comment or footnote or even date: an appropriate strip just turns up in the middle of a paragraph that happens to be talking about something similar." A critic writing in Kirkus Reviews remarked that "Michaelis offers considerable insight into the semiotics of comics and the psyche of a master of the craft," adding that Schulz and Peanuts is "all that's needed about a prodigy of American cultural history." In an article in Time magazine, Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman described the book as "an extraordinary achievement: sympathetic and unsparing and rigorously knowledgeable."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, November 1, 1998, Phoebe-Lou Adams, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 137.
Biblio, December 1, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 67.
Biography, January 1, 2008, review of Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, p. 201.
Booklist, September 1, 1989, review of Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, p. 36; October 15, 1998, Karen Simonetti, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 385; August 1, 2007, Gordon Flagg, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 6.
Bookmarks, January-February, 2008, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 56.
Choice, February, 1999, W.L. Whitwell, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 1052.
Christian Science Monitor, October 16, 2007, Michael Taube, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 13.
Economist, November 3, 2007, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 101.
Editor & Publisher, December 28, 2007, "Schulz Biography Makes a Top-10 List in ‘New York Times.’"
Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), November 10, 2007, Jeet Heer, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. D10.
Journal of American History, December, 1999, Jeanette M. Toohey, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 1363.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 1093; August 15, 2007, review of Schulz and Peanuts.
Library Journal, June 1, 1983, The Best of Friends: Profiles of Extraordinary Friendships, p. 1132; October 15, 1998, Martin R. Kalfatovic, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 64; October 1, 2007, Mark Alan Williams, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 71.
Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1983, The Best of Friends, p. 8; April 7, 1985, Ernest Callenbach, review of The Best of Friends, p. 7.
Maclean's, October 22, 2007, Brian Bethune, "The Man Who Recalled Everything: Every Slight and Bitter Memory in Charles Schulz's Long Life Made Its Way into ‘Peanuts’," p. 61.
New Statesman, March 15, 1991, review of Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, p. 34.
New Yorker, September 28, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 101.
New York Times Book Review, January 7, 1991, Dulcie Leimbach, review of Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, p. 18; November 15, 1998, Adam Gopnik, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 15; December 6, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 86; October 14, 2007, Charles McGrath, review of Schulz and Peanuts.
Publishers Weekly, September 1, 1989, review of Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, p. 79; August 3, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 61; July 23, 2007, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 53.
School Library Journal, December, 1998, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 37.
Time, June 6, 1983, Patricia Blake, The Best of Friends, p. 75; September 21, 1998, Steven Henry Madoff, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 116; September 3, 2007, Richard Lacayo and Lev Grossman, "Strip Mind," p. 62.
Times Literary Supplement, February 8, 1991, review of Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl, p. 11.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), March 23, 2003, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 6; November 3, 2007, Art Winslow, review of Schulz and Peanuts, p. 6.
Virginia Quarterly Review, spring, 1999, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 57.
Washington Post Book World, July 10, 1983, Christopher Schemering, review of The Best of Friends, p. 6; February 2, 2003, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 11.
Wilson Quarterly, January 1, 1999, A.J. Hewat, review of N.C. Wyeth, p. 96.
Mr. Media,http://www.mrmedia.com/ (November 4, 2007), Bob Andelman, author interview.
Schulz and Peanuts Web site,http://www.schulzbiography.com/ (July 17, 2008), author profile.