Gr 6-8-Born wealthy, Poe was orphaned early and became dependent upon his foster father. His problems with drugs, alcohol, and gambling; his withdrawal from the University of Virginia; expulsion from West Point; marriage to his 15-year-old cousin; battles with John Allan; poverty; and eventual death by mysterious circumstances at the age of 40 all make absorbing reading. Peltak describes and illuminates the events in Poe's life that recur as themes in his horror stories and poems: death and abandonment, sickness and despair. Black-and-white photographs and engravings of people and places in the writer's life, as well as several photos of the man at various ages, are included. A two-page chronology, brief annotations of his most popular works, descriptions of six of his most famous characters, a list of selected works, a bibliography, and suggestions for further reading complete the book. This slim volume will appeal to Poe's fans as well as to students studying his work.-Pat Bender, The Shipley School, Bryn Mawr, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.