The book is also superbly written. Each short chapter offers enough substantive insight to urge the reader into the next. It is a long book, but not long-winded. Richardson provides the reader with some morsel of insight in a few pages of narrative, and then offers a rest to digest what has been said. His placement of quotations from Emerson's journals, essays and other works is brilliant, offering the reader a useful sketch of Emerson's metaphysics and ethics. In my own case, this has allowed time to reach for other literature more fully descriptive of the events or scenes offered in a particular chapter, or to reread chunks of Emerson's writings while moving through the biography. The book is a useful tool not merely for a study of Emerson's life but for a study of Transcendentalism and of the interplay of ideas across the Atlantic that shaped American thought in so many ways. One sees more clearly where and how such writers as Nietzsche and Thoreau obtained the seeds of their own truths from Emerson's works and thoughts.
Richardson has set the standard for the writing of future biographies. Again, simply superb.