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Robertson (English, Coll. of New Jersey; Stephen Crane, Journalism, and the Making of Modern American Literature) here focuses on nine individuals who knew Walt Whitman, wrote about him, and devoted their lives to promoting and praising the American poet's work. Some of these American and British disciples are well known-e.g., American nature writer John Burroughs, Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde-while others will be unfamiliar to most readers. All were strongly influenced by Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and, just as they considered it a religious text, they saw Whitman as a prophet or messiah. Here, Robertson aims to emphasize the messianic aspects of Whitman's poetry, a focus he feels has been ignored or ridiculed by most critics. Though the study is scholarly, the biographical chapters are fascinating portraits written in an accessible style. Robertson covers the historical, religious, sexual, and social movements in the United States and England during the 19th century in great detail, and he successfully illuminates not only Whitman's life but the lives of those whom he influenced. The photographs are well chosen, and the notes are excellent guides for further reading. Highly recommended for upper-level academic library collections.