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Charles Schulz, the most widely syndicated and beloved cartoonist of all time, is also one of the most misunderstood figures in popular culture. Now, acclaimed biographer David Michaelis gives us the first full-length biography of Schulz: at once a creation story, a portrait of a hidden genius, and a chronicle contrasting the private man with the central role he played in shaping the imagination of a generation and beyond. The son of a barber, Schulz was born in Minnesota to modest, working class roots.In 1943, just three days after his mother's tragic death from cancer, Schulz, a private in the army, shipped out for boot camp and the war in Europe. The sense of shock and separation never left him. And these early experiences would shape his entire life. With "Peanuts", Schulz embedded adult ideas in a world of small children to remind the reader that character flaws and childhood wounds are with us always. It was the central truth of his own life, that as the adults we've become and as the children we always will be, we can free ourselves, if only we can see the humor in the predicaments of funny-looking kids. Schulz's "Peanuts" profoundly influenced popular culture in the second half of the 20th century. But the strip was anchored in the collective experience and hardships of Schulz's generation-the generation that survived the Great Depression and liberated Europe and the Pacific and came home to build the postwar world.