Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange


A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.

A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $1.99   
  • New (6) from $6.62   
  • Used (11) from $1.99   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.

A biography of Dorothea Lange, whose photographs of migrant workers, Japanese American internees, and rural poverty helped bring about important social reforms.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Mary Lou Burket
It's a handsome book, and one that shows young readers the breadth of Lange's concerns.
— Riverbank Review
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Studded with Lange's amazing photographs and poignant quotes, the book blends a view of the woman with the troubled times in which she lived. Dorothea had her own early difficulties. Polio, desertion by her father, and maternal weakness were all adversities that translated into her lifelong appreciation for those who struggled. Lange's humanness makes her willingness to improve the human condition even more understandable. Her compassion is evident in the photographs of the Great Depression's homeless, migrant workers, the evacuated Japanese-Americans, and southern sharecroppers. As the book traces her evolution as an artist and person, the author never shies from Lange's difficulties or failings. The author's father was Lange's photographic assistant and close friend.
VOYA - Alice F. Stern
When people think about the Dust Bowl, or the interment of Japanese Americans during World War II, they most likely visualize one of Dorothea Lange's photographs. Lange's beautiful and haunting photographs from the Great Depression and World War II helped put faces to the events of the times for the American people, and serve as chronicle of that era. Partridge, whose father was Lange's photographic assistant, was part of Lange's inner circle of family and friends during Lange's later years, giving her intimate insight into the photographer and the woman. Using over sixty-five photographs spanning Lange's entire career, Partridge has written a fascinating and beautifully-presented photo-biography. Quoting extensively from Lange herself, Partridge covers the photographer's entire life, from her childhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the turn of the century, through her career, marriages, children, and old age. Particularly interesting are Lange's conflicts between motherhood and family life and her career, making her all the more human and of interest to readers today. Partridge also includes some of her father's photographs of Lange, so we see her in front of the camera as well as behind it. The result is an impressive volume that will be useful well beyond biography assignments. Index. Photos. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Dorothea Lange did more to help the dustbowl families in the 1930s than did all of the politicians. Her black and white photographs raised our conscience and made us see the plight of these families who were not on anyone's goodwill list. Her photographs of the Japanese-American internment were equally as memorable. There is drama, heart, and humanity in all of her photographs. Lange's granddaughter tells the story of this fine photographer. It is a tribute to a remarkable woman who left us with indelible images of the 1920-1960s. Children should know about Dorothea Lange.
Children's Literature
As a young girl growing up in Hoboken, New Jersey, Dorothea Lange never seemed to fit in: she was stricken with polio at age seven and limped; she hated school and skipped as often as she could; she despised her father for leaving the family and described her mother as "difficult." Lange began her career as a photographer's assistant, learned quickly, and within a few years opened her own studio in San Francisco. Her marriage to artist Maynard Dixon and the arrival of their two sons presented Lange with a difficult situation: how to respect her commitment to her family and her commitment to her art. At a time when women were supposed to stay home and care for their husbands and children, Dorothea Lange was traveling the back roads capturing a disturbing vision of America. Her photographic perspective—her art—brought the souls of America's destitute out of the dust, off the breadlines, away from internment camps, and onto the pages of the nation's magazines and newspapers. Because Elizabeth Partridge's grandfather worked for Lange for many years, her personal insights, along with quotations from letters and journals, bring Lange to life. Partridge's work is both photo essay and biography. She provides a good balance between photo and text as it presents the personal and artistic life of the artist. Partridge's writing is clear and concise, with many interesting quotes, a bibliographic listing, and an index. In addition to the artistic and biographic merit, the work is a valuable chronicle of some of America's bleakest hours. 2001 (orig. 1998), Puffin Books, and Ages 10 up.
—Barbara Sauer <%ISBN%>067087888X
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Lange was a brilliant photographer who did her best work as a chronicler of the ravages of the Great Depression for FDR's Farm Security Administration. Her "Migrant Mother" became an icon of the period. It's fascinating, then, to read of Lange's bohemian life and her own shortcomings as a mother as she faced an earlier version of today's working mother's dilemma. Photography always came first. A sympathetic view of a difficult personality, Partridge's biography takes advantage of the author's family connections and her childhood remembrances of Lange. The narrative is strong on Depression history, and the moving photographs are reproduced with verve.
Many large and beautiful reproductions of Lange's famous b/w photographs of migrant farm workers, Japanese American internees, and the rural poor highlight this excellent biography. It traces Lange from her birth in Hoboken in 1895 through a childhood bout with polio, her difficult adolescence, training as a photographer, her marriages and children, and her growing interest in documentary photography, to her death in 1965. The frontispiece quotes her as saying, "I realize more and more what it takes to be a really good photographer. You go in over your head, not just up to your neck." Never one to hang back, Lange's strong feelings about the people she photographed helped to bring about social change, like the establishment of emergency migrant camps in California. Partridge, the daughter of Lange's long-time assistant, gives some personal perspective on Lange in an afterword. This is a wonderful introduction to Lange's life and work for students who may not be familiar with her groundbreaking photographs. An ALA Notable Book and Best Book for YAs, among other honors. Category: Biography & Personal Narrative. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1998, Penguin, Puffin, 122p. illus. bibliog. index., Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; KLIATT
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-As a photographer, Lange specialized in documentary-type portraits, seeking to capture in people's faces the stories of their lives. Through the years of the Great Depression and the Second World War, she recorded the down-and-out, the oppressed, the needy. Her portrait "Migrant Mother" has become a familiar icon of hardship, a symbol of the dislocation and poverty caused by the dust bowl in the 1930s. Her camera recorded the Japanese Americans sent to internment camps in the 1940s, and in later travels she preserved the images of children around the world. As a young girl the author knew Lange and was, through her photographer father, connected with the intimate circle of Lange's family and friends. She uses personal memories; her subject's own written words in diaries, interviews, and letters; and especially a liberal selection of dramatic photographs to show the talent and the complex personality of this extraordinary woman. It was hard for Lange, in the decades in which she lived, to pursue her career while balancing family responsibilities and personal crises. She was independent, even radical, in her political thinking and social philosophy. Her story resonates with issues of gender, social policies, artistic merit, and human interest. This well-constructed, sympathetic biography deserves many readers and is a must for every library.-Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
A fascinating biography of the world-famous photographer, written by the daughter of Lange's assistant in the 1930s.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142300244
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 775,588
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 970L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.31 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

"I grew up in a large, eccentric family in the San Francisco Bay Area. My grandmother was photographer Imogen Cunningham, and my grandfather, Roi Partridge, was an etcher. There were five kids in my family, and we lived in an enormous house full of dogs and cats, chameleons, fish, tortoises, and even a pet tarantula.

My father, Roi Partridge, grew up loving photography and helping his mother, Imo, in the darkroom. When he was just seventeen she sent him to apprentice with her friend, photographer Dorothea Lange. Over the next few years he was gradually drawn into Dorothea's family. When he married and my parents had kids, we were included in the diverse bunch of children, step-children and grandchildren that made up Dorothea's family. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July were all made magical by Dorothea's extraordinary celebrations and rituals.

In 1974, I was the first student to graduate with a degree in Women's Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. A year later I went to Great Britain to study Chinese medicine, earning a Licentiate of Acupuncture in 1978 and returning to the Bay Area to practice acupuncture and herbal medicine.

In the early nineties I began writing books as well as practicing medicine. I love the wide array of genres within the field of children's books, and especially enjoy writing biographies, historical fiction, and picture books.

My first book, Dorothea Lange: A Visual Life (Smithsonian, 1993) was followed by a middle grade novel, Clara and the Hoodoo Man (Dutton, 1996), and Restless Spirit: the Life and Work of Dorothea Lange (Viking, Fall 1998), a photo biography for young adults. Pig's Eggs came out last year (Golden Books, Spring 2000). Oranges on Golden Mountain has just been released (Dutton, Spring 2001), and will soon be followed by an easy reader, Annie and Bo (Spring 2002) and my biography on Woody Guthrie (Viking, Spring 2002).

I still live in the San Francisco Bay Area with my husband and two sons, practicing Chinese medicine and writing books."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)