A "superb" ( Wall Street Journal biography by a Pulitzer Prize-winning author on the "most illustrious American of his age"-the painter-turned-inventor Samuel F.B. Morse. This brilliantly conceived biography is the very American tale of a quiet man, raised by religious zealots, who became a gifted and prolific painter (more than three hundred portraits and historical canvases), became the first Professor of Fine Arts at an American college, and founded the National Academy of Design. A classic overachiever, this was simply not enough for Samuel F. B. Morse; he subsequently ran for Congress and mayor of New York. Lastly, in his most famous life's work, he invented a machine that was to transform commerce, communication, transportation, military affairs, diplomacy, and the course of the modern world. What invention could be so revolutionary? The telegraph, of course-and the eponymous Morse code. Here is the story of an incredible invention, and an engrossing life, by a Bancroft- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.