Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography” as Want to Read:
Schulz and Peanuts: A  Biography
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,589 ratings  ·  438 reviews
A biography of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts.
Hardcover, First edition, 655 pages
Published 2007 by Harper
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Schulz and Peanuts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Schulz and Peanuts

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Luciously readable, fascinating, and flawed account of the life of the creator of Charlie Brown. I first decided to read this book because of a massive roundtable featured in the latest issue of "The Comics Journal," the basic conclusion being that the book does the real-life Schulz no justice. (I read the book, and then read the roundtable.)

Monte Schulz, the son of the great cartoonist, kicked off the roundtable with a massive essay that's divided into three parts: a brief memoir of his time an
Carol Storm
Charles M. Schulz was more than a cartoonist -- he was an American original, one of those profoundly revolutionary individuals who erases an entire art form and reinvents it in his own image.

The way Babe Ruth transformed baseball, the way Elvis Presley transformed popular music, the way Clint Eastwood transformed the American western, the way H.P. Lovecraft transformed modern horror, Schulz transformed the American comic strip.

Before Schulz, all was darkness and slime. Brenda Starr's drooling
Mar 10, 2011 bup rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: web cartoonists whose characters owe a lot to Schulz
I've loved Peanuts since I can remember. I really liked Peanuts - the actual comic strip that appeared daily - not the Hallmark cards and movies and countless tv specials (save the original Christmas one). It drives me absolutely bonkers when people talk about what gentle humor it was, and how it was part of a nicer time that is gone today, and talk about it like it was a bunch of precious princess pony fairies.

(Admittedly, it drives me absolutely bonkers whenever anybody talks about Peanuts l
This is a pretty good book considering it’s about a person who was boring; lonely, distant, anxious, depressed, sad, religious, melancholy, and a teetotaler too. Charles Schulz did not drink, did not smoke, and did not swear. Picasso or F. Scott Fitzgerald he was not.

On his honeymoon, Charles Schulz looked at his bride and said, “I don’t think I can ever be happy.”

David Michaelis has achieved something truly remarkable and impressive with this work, a fascinating examination of a creative proces

“Schultz & Peanuts”. Here is a biography ostensibly of two subjects; the clue lies in the title. Inside, Charles M. Schulz, the boy (and later the man), is depicted as being impressively insignificant and insecure; whilst unsurprisingly the innate nature of the Peanuts cartoon strips are drawn from the values and family life experience of their creator. The puzzle lies in trying to understand just how quite such an unremarkable life engendered a product that went, in today’s terminology, ‘vi
Mar 19, 2008 Chadwick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who love biography, people who love Peanuts
Recommended to Chadwick by: Bill Watterson
Shelves: comics, biography
This may really be the first critical biography ever written about a comics artist. The format is revolutionary, actually using the strips to highlight the events of Schulz's life and how he expressed what he felt and thought in the day to day unfolding of Peanuts. If Michaelis is right, and his extensive, exhaustive research seems to support him in this, Schulz may have been one of the most autobiographically transparent artists of the 20th century. Some of his strips are downright creepy after ...more
I, for the most part, found this book to be an enjoyable read. I loved how honestly Michaelis portrayed Schulz as basically an asshole, because, it seems, that he actually was. My only gripe with the book is how repetitive it can get. Michaelis regurgitates a lot of what he already establishes earlier on in the biography (i.e. Sparky's insecurities and self pity and etc.) He even repeats comic strips even though Schulz had made 18,000 to choose from. There were also segments in the book where in ...more
As much as this book is getting negative reaction from the Schulz family as character assassination or whatever, I've really enjoyed reading. The way Michaelis pulls elements of Schulz's life from the actual Peanuts strips really pays off. But whatever flaws he exposes Charles Schulz as having actually makes me like Schulz more. For a cartoonist who has perhaps been sainted or put up on a pedastel, this book makes him much more complex, and makes him above all human.
Lindsay Russo
I think the reason I had trouble getting through this is because I think Peanuts is depressing on the whole. It is a world where you lose your voice as an adult, girls screw with boys and a beagle's dream world is much more thrilling than reality.

The writing was stellar, and the hook of following the man from his first strip to his last was a great framing device for a man who is made out to be such an iconic figure. A true product of the Midwest's flat landscape, you have to look hard and clos
James Murphy
Everybody loves Peanuts. The enchanting characters Charlie Brown, Lucy, Schroeder, Snoopy and all the rest speak a universal language we identify with. This biography of Charles Schulz reveals the times and personal influences on its subject as well as any I've read lately. In telling the story he spends about a third of its length on his childhood, which may be appropriate because that was the world Schulz dealt with in his strip every day. Michaelis's analysis of his subject has to include a h ...more
I didn't have any clue about Charles Schulz except that he is the creator of Peanuts. My husband is the Peanuts fan and I got this book for him (because of the cover!!). Nothing stopped me from reading it though...

The first half of the book was pretty easygoing but then, it was a bit of a slog for me until nearly the end. It was, however, mostly due to how unhappy he was during his first marriage and how this is mirrored in his comic strips. At this stage, I wasn't sure whether I was regretting
I admit that I'm not a die-hard Peanuts fan. I adore Charlie Brown and Snoopy, but I don't have such grandiose ideas about their creator to be put off by some of the less wholesome details of Charles Schulz's life. I read somewhere that a few of his children were displeased with the way their father is depicted in Michaelis' book. As far as artists go, Schulz was a saint, never touching drugs or alcohol and cranking out over 17,000 Peanuts strips in his career. The characters are so much a part ...more
I loved Snoopy growing up, identified heavily with him (strange, I know!), and going to the library usually meant that me and my sisters would check out a bunch of Peanuts books.

This was a great character study of Charles Schultz, and how interesting to see how the cartoons themselves echoed his life and personality. For me, living in Minneapolis, just across the river from the St. Paul that Schultz grew up in, it was interesting to read about locations that I know quite well.

Also interesting t
let the record show: schulz was kind of a tool box.

the author goes out of his way to attribute this to the early loss of his mother and inability to accept the love other people give him, but there's only so much artistic temperament one can take while reading a 672 page book. also, he was such a skirt chaser that i found the whole "oh i don't understand why anyone would love me" excuse to be full of crap.

i liked the idea of the peanuts strips used to physically illustrate inside jokes and smal
Let me say that I am/was a big fan of Peanuts so it was surprising to find out what a repressed, poorly socialized individual Charles Schulz was. He reminds of "Norwegian Bachelor Farmers" and other ornery characters of Lake Woebegone. A good example of not confusing the artist with his work. As far as the book itself, it would seem the author did his research and it is written in an accessible way. Read this only if you are prepared to be disillusioned.
I was born in 1963 so I grew up with the Peanuts. Other than Santa's annual visit, A Charlie Brown Christmas was THE highlight of the season. And it was really special as it aired on tv once; it was an event. I remember owning and reading many times Happiness is a Warm Puppy and I had a plush Snoopy. I adored the Peanuts and still make it a point to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas during December.

I'm trying not to mix up my disappointment with what was written about Charles Schulz in this book v
Book Concierge
Charles M Schulz always wanted to be a cartoonist. From early childhood he displayed an extraordinary gift for drawing and impressed his teachers and friends with his talent. He was just twenty-seven when his comic strip PEANUTS debuted on Oct 2, 1950. For the rest of his life he would be the sole creator of the strip – conceiving, drawing and lettering the daily and Sunday strips without assistants. Stricken with colon cancer and weakened by chemotherapy, he announced his official retirement an ...more
Michaelis does a disservice to the gift of Charles Schulz (not to mention his loved ones) by spending an inordinate amount of time on the negatives of his life and his limitations, and comparatively less time on his creativity and his creation. The second half of the book particularly devolves. The risk is that people - as shown by some reviews here - take the specific characterization in such a biography as hard fact. The Comics Journal roundtable shared useful viewpoints here and here

On the o
This is a very, very personal book. It gets into a whole lot of less-than-flattering aspects of Sparky's life and personality, and doesn't pull any punches when talking about the way he and the people around him acted. I'm sure the representations here probably felt unfair to those who had known the people themselves, but boy does it make you feel really close to the subject.

I've never cried while reading a book, or at least not since I was in elementary school (I'm still trying to find that tea
This book was far more moving than I expected it to be. In many ways it is about the intersection of the personal, political, cultural, & commercial, over the course of the 20th century, through the lens of Peanuts. I was also fascinated by the way that Schultz was so darn hard on himself. Literally- on his death bed- he is complaining that he did not really accomplish much. That all he did was do what he could to the best of his ability. Peanuts is a richer, more nuanced narrative, now. Fas ...more
This was a very thorough (perhaps a bit too thorough and slow-going at times), very intriguing biography of Charles Schulz, and I really enjoyed much of it. It was interesting to learn more about how Schulz (called Sparky by just about everyone) came up with the Peanuts comic strip and how certain characters were created and evolved through the years. My favorite part of the book was reading about how the classic TV special, MERRY CHRISTMAS, CHARLIE BROWN, came to be. The story (with its wonderf ...more
Charles "Sparky" Shultz always wanted to be a cartoonist, and he drew the Peanuts comic strip for nearly 50 years, turning it into a marketing bonanza and its characters into cultural icons. But for all the happiness he brought to so many, he was himself a rather unhappy person. Raised in Minnesota, the only child of German and Norwegian parents who weren't particularly affectionate, he grew up very shy and insecure. His mother's death as he left to serve in WWII compounded his sense of alonenes ...more
A fascinating look at an American creative genius. I'm not the sort of person who has illusions of the perfection of one's idols, so the revelations of Schulz's depression and infidelity don't impact my love of Peanuts. (admittedly I would never have known that Schulz's personal life was at times intentionally reflected in the daily strip!) You'll also learn the origins of the Peanuts marketing juggernaut. Good times. Now if Mark Evanier's bio of Jack Kirby would show up ...
Women Write About Comics
Until reading this book I didn’t give Peanuts much credit, finding it dull and repetitive, with a cast of one-trick-pony characters. You could play the sad trombone at every single Charlie Brown punchline. But now I get it: Peanuts was never meant to be funny. The comic strips are not jokes at all. Just like Charles “Sparky” Schulz himself, they are bleak but not hopeless. The strips appear flat and overly simplified, but are actually complex and ground-breaking work. Much of the layering of the ...more
Thought it was a pretty fair bio, though I can understand why there's an uproar over it. Yet again, a well-liked and regarded artist is shown to be as fucked up as the rest of us - the only thing that makes him different is talent, and the ability to channel his neurosis into mass product that is popular and that actually moves people.
I grew up with Charles M. Schulz. His Peanuts strip had already been in newspapers for over a dozen years by the time I was born, and some of the earliest books I can ever remember reading on my own were the paperback comic strip compilations and Happiness is a Warm Puppy, which were so popular in the late 1960s. Schulz, who died in 2000 less than a day from the publication of the very last original Peanuts strip, provided an environment that was a mixture of "cute and safe" and "bitingly satiri ...more
Not an interesting enough person to merit this detailed a biography. The more I read, the less I liked Schulz for one thing, and he wasn't even unlikeable in very interesting ways--just cold and boring, like the book.
Excellent. A wonderful book - could not put it down. After you read it, you'll never read a Charlie Brown comic strip without understanding how deeply rooted the strip was in Schulz's life and experiences.
An interesting, if dry read, that was sort of hurt by the way it seemed to me to jump back and forth too much. I also didn't like the way it, at times, painted Schulz in a bit of a negative light; unavoidable, I suppose, when telling the truth, but still some sad things to think about when it comes to the father of Peanuts. One of the true gems of the book is the way Peanuts strips are dispersed throughout. Which also leads to one of the things about the book that really annoyed me, which is tha ...more
Andrew Schneider
This book answers a question I've had for more than 30 years. Why did the quality of Peanuts seem to drop off during Charles Schulz's final two decades writing and illustrating the strip? Schulz's health certainly did take a toll on the strip during this period, if for no other reason than his hand tremors made it increasingly difficult to draw, and he insisted to the end on producing "Peanuts" entirely on his own, with out assistants. But the answer, as with so many other aspects of "Sparky's" ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
article 1 39 Oct 22, 2007 05:31AM  
  • Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz
  • Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book
  • Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story
  • Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
  • The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 3: 1955-1956
  • The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America
  • Groucho: The Life and Times of Julius Henry Marx
  • Orson Welles, Vol. 1: The Road to Xanadu
  • Jimmy Stewart: A Biography
  • Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
  • Comrade J
  • Them: A Memoir of Parents
  • Kirby: King of Comics
  • Bing Crosby: A Pocketful of Dreams - The Early Years 1903 - 1940
  • After All
  • Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz
  • Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman's Skiff
  • Bill Veeck: Baseball's Greatest Maverick
David Michaelis grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and Washington, D. C., was educated at Concord Academy and Princeton University, and is the author of the national bestsellers N. C. WYETH: A Biography (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998; available from Harper Perennial), which won the 1999 Ambassador Book Award for Biography, given by the English-Speaking Union of the United States, and SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A Biogra ...more
More about David Michaelis...
N. C. Wyeth: A Biography Boy, Girl, Boy, Girl (Bantam new fiction) The Best of Friends: Profiles of Extraordinary Friendships Anne Packard Introspective Our Boston

Share This Book

“Security is having a home town. - Charles Schulz” 3 likes
“That's the secret, Frank. Always have an iron in the fire. Always have another angle ready to go... Remember, if you can't outplay them, you have to outwork them. - Charles Schulz” 2 likes
More quotes…