This book chronicles the making of an iconic American writer by exploring Ray Bradbury's childhood and early years of his long life in fiction, film, television, radio, and theater. It measures the impact of the authors, artists, illustrators, and filmmakers who stimulated Ray Bradbury's imagination throughout his first three decades. This biography follows Bradbury's development from avid reader to maturing author, making a living writing for the genre pulps and mainstream magazines. Unprecedented access to Bradbury's personal papers and other private collections provides insight into his emerging talent through his unpublished correspondence, his rare but often insightful notes on writing, and his interactions with those who mentored him during those early years. They also provide insight into his very conscious decisions, following the sudden success of The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man, to voice controversial political statements in his fiction. The book illuminates the sources of Bradbury's growing interest in the human mind, the human condition, and the ambiguities of life and death—themes that became increasingly apparent in his early fiction. It elucidates the complex creative motivations that yielded Fahrenheit 451. Revealing Bradbury's emotional world as it matured, the book highlights the emerging sense of authorship at the heart of his boundless creativity.