Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Photographer's Boy” as Want to Read:
The Photographer's Boy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Photographer's Boy

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A story of three American eras...

In Depression-hit 1930s' New England, Jim, a teenager, has always looked on his ancient grandfather Alfred as a hero for fighting in the American Civil War, but is appalled to discover the truth is different: that the old man ran away from his only battle and became a photographer’s apprentice, engaged in journalistic tricks instead, cynica
Kindle Edition
Published June 15th 2013 by Premier Digital Publishing (first published June 6th 2013)
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 The Photographer's Boy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Photographer's Boy

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie BenjaminSeduction by M.J. RoseThe Firebird by Susanna KearsleyThe Midwife's Tale by Sam   ThomasThe White Princess by Philippa Gregory
Historical Fiction 2013
374 books — 2,575 voters
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. TolkienOne Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Most original
951 books — 853 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.55  · 
Rating details
 ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Photographer's Boy
Civil War Fiction: The Photographer's Boy by Stephen Bates  

Title: The Photographer’s Boy
Author:  Stephen Bates
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary
Publisher: Premier
Available: July 22, 2013
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Summary: Gene and Izzie Hofsettler are an upscale NY couple who buy a rural home in Massachusetts after the 9/11, to get away from the madness from the city. While renovating the home to transform it to a Bed and Breakfast, they come across a trunk of old photographers plates from wha
Christoph Fischer
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
"The Photographer's Boy" by Stephen Bates is an intriguing tale of intertwined and parallel narratives spanning 140 years.
Part of the book is set in the Civil War, follows war time photographers and amazingly describes their work and some of the battles. It uses some real people and some fictional characters and in the course of this narrative the reader learns much about the tricks of the trade at the time and the technology used.
In a separate narrative Jim, the grandson of the photographer Alf
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Premier Digital Publishing, through NetGalley.

The story of The Photographer's Boy is told through two story lines: One from the past, that of Alfred Barker, photographer's boy to Matthew Brady, a famous Civil War photographer. The second takes up the story of Gene and Izzie Hofsettler, new owners of Barker's home and in the process of turning it into a bed and breakfast. In the process of renovation, the Hofsettler's find the old photograph
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
Set in three different eras of US history – the 1860s of the Civil War, the 1930s and the present day – this well-researched and potentially interesting novel never quite fulfils its promise. Although I enjoyed the period detail, especially the scenes with Matthew Brady and his photography, ultimately the book failed to engage me. The characterisation is shallow, the prose workaday and the integration of the three time periods weak. Overall I found the novel bland and uninteresting.
Stephen Bates
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Excellent review in Publishers' Weekly:

Chance saves Gene from a seat on United Flight 93; post-9/11 trauma sends timorous Gene Hofsettler and wife Isabelle to the backwater refuge of small town New England. There, they find a hidden trove of old photographic plates, relics dating back to the American Civil War. Their effort to learn more about the plates and their creation provides the frame for two linked stories, the tale of a young photographer Alfred B
Paula Schumm
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
A special thanks goes to NetGalley and Open Road Media for a free advance download of The Photographer's Boy by Stephen Bates.
The Photographer's Boy is the fictional account of Alfred Barker, an assistant to a photographer of the battlefields of the Civil War. As Alfred travels to the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, his story unfolds as he shares his life with his traveling companions. The Photographer's Boy was educational; I learned of the art of early photo
Debbie Keith
Apr 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am a Civil War Fan, because as a child I visited the Petersburg Battle site many times on family vacations. I am drawn to the tragedy suffered by the troops on both sides, their families, what those innocent in the south had to endure, and Abraham Lincoln's presidency. This book weaves real events in the Civil War with a fictional story to show what life was like for those first war photographers, a little known fact about abortion during that era and the tragedy of lost loves and tangled live ...more
Debbie Rogers
Jun 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Civil War Controversy

I enjoyed reading this book. I am not usually a fan of stories about the Civil War, but this one intrigued me because of the characters and the intertwining of their lives.
I also wanted to learn about the controversy concerning some of the photographs of that era.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
The story was very good, but the book is in desperate need of an editor. The author is British and he uses many British expressions that we don't use in the U. S. I enjoyed it and am interested in other books by this author.
Barb Cullen
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about the photography of the Civil War, mechanical as well as attitude. This book is written in 3 distinct time periods. The author jumps around and at times the text is very confusing.
Jul 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book that floats between time periods and characters. Unfortunately lack of editing muddles up the book somewhat but the story is well told and held my interest. I would recommend this story on many levels
Jan 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. The author was able to go back and forward to the different stories with ease.
Jenni Schell
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-books
This was a very good book. I enjoyed how it could easily go between different time periods seamlessly. I love books steeped in history and this one won my heart. Great job.
Dee Halbert
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read.
Terie Christmas
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


A wonderful glimpse into the early photojournalist and what it was like to be a pioneer in the field of photography.
rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2015
Karen Tatum
rated it liked it
Sep 09, 2014
Steven Tenenbaum
rated it really liked it
Jul 09, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jun 14, 2020
rated it really liked it
Oct 21, 2017
Judy Templeton-sims
rated it it was ok
Jun 10, 2014
rated it it was amazing
Oct 11, 2014
rated it liked it
Jun 24, 2017
rated it really liked it
May 29, 2014
Pl Parmer
rated it liked it
Dec 27, 2014
rated it really liked it
Aug 02, 2016
Karen Tatum
rated it liked it
Oct 29, 2014
Keith Baker
rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2016
Julia Smith
rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2014
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Photographer's Boy prize nomination 1 2 Jul 31, 2013 03:11PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power
  • Bones of  the Lost  (Temperance Brennan, #16)
  • White Doves at Morning
  • The Cuban Affair
  • Guilty as Sin (Knight & Culverhouse, #2)
  • Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse, #1)
  • Jack Be Nimble (Knight & Culverhouse, #3)
  • My Dark Vanessa
  • A Nearly Normal Family
  • Deep Summer (Plantation Trilogy, #1)
  • Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family
  • Paper Wife
  • To The Bright Edge of the World
  • La pasión según Carmela
  • A Beautiful Poison
  • Nowhere Else to Go But Dyea
  • A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
  • It Ends with Her
See similar books…
I am a British journalist and author. In a 36 year career in Britain, until 2012, I worked for the BBC, the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail and for the last 22 years for the Guardian. I specialised at various times in covering education, politics, Europe and the European Union, religion and British royalty and I reported from more than 40 countries across the world.
The Photographer's Boy is my fir

Related Articles

Philippa Gregory is best known for reimagining the lives of famous royal women in bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn...
69 likes · 32 comments