Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $18.00
  • Save: $4.23 (24%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
River of Shadows: Eadwear... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very Good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West Paperback – March 2, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.77
$9.08 $6.23

"Disney Pixar Finding Dory: The Essential Guide "
Dive into the world of "Finding Dory" and discover everything you ever wanted to know about this new fishy tale. Learn more
$13.77 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West
  • +
  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking
  • +
  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Total price: $36.85
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the 1870s, at a racetrack built by railroad baron Leland Stanford, Eadweard Muybridge invented high-speed photography. With his camera, he cut time into fractions of a second and laid it out in slices. Never before had human eyes seen a trotting horse distinctly, and the photographs astounded horsemen and artists, especially when Muybridge set the film in motion and the horse reeled fluidly across the screen. Today it is difficult to understand the pictures' impact, but 2001 NBCC finalist Solnit (As Eve Said to the Serpent) vividly recreates the wonder that greeted those primitive movies. Although she points her lens at Muybridge, her true subject is the perceptual revolution of the 19th century when the railroad, the telegraph and the camera transformed the experience of space and time. English-born Muybridge launched his career in 1867 with scenes of Yosemite and San Francisco. He soon began the experiments with "instantaneous" photography that led to the famous motion studies. Except for its most dramatic moments-the murder of his wife's lover, a suit against Stanford-the photographer's life remains obscure. Insistent on writing a biography nonetheless, Solnit pads the book with an account of workers' strikes, an aside on Victorian geology and other irrelevant details. Left to speculate about Muybridge's inspirations, she attributes much to a head injury resulting from a stagecoach accident. Her claims about Stanford and Muybridge as the progenitors of Silicon Valley and Hollywood are equally unsubstantiated. If the book fails as biography, however, it succeeds as a critical essay on Muybridge's art and a reflection on the meaning of space and time. B&w photos.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Cultural historian Solnit, an original and penetrating thinker with a gift for inventive metaphors and syntactical grace whose previous books include Wanderlust (2000), brings her fascination with the American West, photography, and technology's impact on the environment and culture to the story of the man who made motion pictures possible, photographer Eadweard Muybridge. An Englishman turned California bookseller, superb landscape photographer, inventor, murderer (he killed his wife's lover), and pioneer in stop-action photography and the study of animals, including humans, in motion, Muybridge is fascinating and significant, as is his turbulent milieu. Solnit recounts Muybridge's strange life and immensely influential work within the context of the tragic war against Native Americans, and ties his achievements to the world-changing repercussions of photography and the railroads in particular, and industrialization in general. Her exhilarating argument leads her to declare that California, home of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, is the true capital of modernism, and to claim that we haven't even begun to come to terms with its legacy: our estrangement from nature and utter immersion in the mesmerizing "river of shadows," the endless stream of images generated via film, video, and computer. Masterly and creative, Solnit's far-roaming synthesis is as unsettling as it is compelling. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Image
Interested in the Audiobook Edition?
If you’re the author, publisher, or rights holder of this book, let ACX help you produce the audiobook.Learn more.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142004103
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142004104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Everyone knows about the inventions of such men as Edison and Marconi, the sorts of inventions that truly brought us to the modern age. It sounds like a stretch to claim that the man who definitively answered the question of whether a trotting horse ever completely leaves the ground also changed the world. However, Rebecca Solnit has written an original biography of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge, _River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West_ (Viking) which centers on how Muybridge, by splitting motion into split-second bits, changed the nature of our perception of time and space in a way that brought us inevitably to Hollywood and to Silicon Valley. She writes, "Muybridge was a doorway, a pivot between that old world and ours, and to follow him is to follow the choices that got us here." As biography, the book is inevitably thin. Muybridge kept no journals and there are few letters, and details about his remarkable life are hard to come by; the basics, of course, are here. Solnit says, "Most of what is known about Muybridge makes him seem a hollow conduit for his work, with only a few vain remarks to personalize the prodigal accomplishments." Rather than biography, as a series of essays on the importance of his work, the book is original and fun.
Muybridge's life and work are inextricably bound with the brand-new state of California, but he was born in 1830 over a family shop in England, in Kingston-upon-Thames. He lit out for San Francisco, where he worked as a bookseller. He made a name for himself in photography, however, which was a relatively new and demanding art. He was among the first to photograph the wilderness of Yosemite, using huge plates for images that are still dramatic.
Read more ›
Comment 41 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Rebecca Solnit has created a provocative masterpiece! This is not a simple biography about one of the great innovators of the field of photography. It is a richly, intellectually layered work that explores the big ideas of time and our relationship to it; the fusion of politics, science and industry in the 19th century; and links today's Silicon West to what we call the Wild West of our past. She possesses exceptional writing skills. This is book well worth reading by those seeking inspiration to invent the future, or for those who wish insight into the concept of progress.
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Like many people, I had seen Muybridge's motion studies before, but had never considered the man behind the pictures. Solnit presents a compelling portrait of a man who is at the same time probably certifiably nuts, a genius years ahead of his time, a lousy husband and father, and a murderer. As Solnit points out, his groundbreaking work was really the basis for motion pictures and much of other technology we take for granted today.
I took this book with me on an overnight flight to Brazil and compulsively read it cover to cover while I should have been sleeping.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on May 1, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wasn't especially interested in Muybridge, but this book is a good deal more than that. Though not stinting on detail, Solnit's writing and intellectual abilities provide a grasp of the transformations of time and space that occurred in the past century and a half; she addresses, and conquers, the challenges of making another age vivid and profound as has no book I've yet encountered. "She writes like an angel," one critic said, and it's quite true; through her supple and sensitive prose she reflects on Muybridge's life and times, examining them from every angle, and in so doing gives a clinic in how history of any kind may be most richly approached.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Certainly much more than a biography, this book on Muybridge is full of other subjects. Solnit angle on time is quite special, as it comes back again and again. We tend to forget how everythig has thoroughly changed since the victorian era. This book confronts our acquired attitudes and what we take for granted today.

It is always a surprise and an experience to read on a subject and find much more on the way.

This book is a mind expander.
Comment 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not the most scintillating writing I've ever read, but an eye-opening story of an artist (Muybridge) whose work helped shape our world. In fact, before reading this book, I took him entirely for granted and did not even consider him an "artist", just a photographer who took pictures of things in motion. He is a heck of a lot more than that, and his photographs are beautiful! The book also gave me (a foreigner who did not study the history of the formation of the west) a glimpse at the fascinating and almost incredible history of the formation of San Francisco, and at how truly rapidly this country developed the roots of what it is today (for better and for worse). This should be required reading in history classes.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Rebecca Solnit is an amazing writer. She brings to the surface all the hidden currents of the Muybridge story in a narrative that is at once informative and moving. This book constantly surprised and delighted me with its deep insights and fascinating details. Not only is it well researched, but the results of the research are germane to the story and are all neatly brought together. It was a pleasure to discover that fine writing like this still exists. I can't wait to read her other books now that I have found her.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
This item: River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: memoir, howard hughes biography