THE AMERICAN WEST: LIVING THE FRONTIER DREAM MATHEW BRADY AND THE IMAGE OF HISTORY, by Mary Panzer, Smithsonian Institution Press, 256 pages, $39.95.

Mathew Brady is probably the best-known photographer in the history of the United States, and this study of his life and work, ably undertaken by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, documents how Brady used art to forge a relationship between photography and history. Panzer details Brady’s life from the most productive years of his career, when he emerged in 1844 as a daguerreotypist in New York, to his bankruptcy in 1872. The book includes portraits of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Horace Greeley, Stephen A. Douglas, and Clara Barton; while views of Civil War soldiers, battlefields, and encampments show the horrors of the war years.