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Blood and Champagne


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About the Author

Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.


As the title of this fine biography suggests, Robert Capa's life represented a curious blend of danger and glamour. One of the most highly celebrated war photographers of the century, Capa (1914-54) pioneered the role of photojournalist in combat situations while inventing his own celebrity mystique. He enjoyed the company of Hollywood stars yet in his war assignments often placed himself in the greatest mortal danger; he died at the age of 41 while covering the early years of the Indochina conflict. In this largely chronological account, journalist Kershaw provides a balanced, meticulously researched portrayal that moves from Capa's early years in Hungary to his last days in Southeast Asia; the results are vivid and refreshing. John Steinbeck and John Hersey have each published tributes to Capa, and the photographer's work has been collected in any number of well-received books. However, along with Richard Whelan's Robert Capa: A Biography, this new book is one of the very few substantive biographies available. Recommended for all photography collections.-Raymond Bial, Parkland Coll. Lib., Champaign, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Robert Capa was the archetype of the intrepid war photographer. Asserting that "if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," Capa braved combat in the Spanish Civil War, hit Omaha Beach in the first wave on D-Day, and jumped behind German lines with American paratroopers, returning with visceral pictures-like the famous (and possibly staged) "falling soldier" photo of a Spanish Republican militiaman who had just been shot-that defined our idea of what modern war looks like. "Profligate, passionate, impulsive," Capa was a ladies' man who liked nice togs, hobnobbed with the rich and famous, got caught up in anti-Fascist and Popular Front politics, and played poker compulsively when he was not risking his life in combat-in other words, he practically invented the persona of the celebrity photojournalist. He also co-founded the pioneering Magnum photo agency, which gave freelance photographers ownership and control of their photos. Journalist Kershaw gives an engrossing account of Capa's impossibly romantic life, elegantly evoking both the horror of the front lines and the glamour of wartime Madrid, London and Paris, where Capa befriended the likes of Ernest Hemingway and romanced the likes of Ingrid Bergman. Packed with arresting anecdotes and character studies, Kershaw's biography is a worthy companion to Capa's work. Photos. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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