Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa

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Macmillan, Jul 25, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 298 pages
Robert Capa was arguably the finest photojournalist of the twentieth century and without doubt its greatest combat photographer-he covered every major conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the beginnings of Vietnam. An inveterate gambler who coined the dictum "if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," Capa risked his life again and again, most dramatically as the only photographer landing with the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and he created some of the most enduring images ever made with a camera.

But the drama in Capa's life wasn't limited to one side of the lens. Born in Budapest as Andre Freidman, Capa fled political repression and anti-Semitism as a teenager by escaping to Berlin, where he first picked up a Leica and then witnessed the rise of Hitler. By the time his images of D-Day appeared in Life Magazine, he had become a legend, the first photographer to make his calling appear glamorous and sexy, and the model for many of the most intrepid photographers to this day. In 1947, after a decade covering war, he founded a cooperative agency-Magnum-and in the process revolutionized the industry. For the first time, photographers would retain their own copyrights and negatives, and nearly half a century later, Magnum remains the most prestigious agency of its kind.

By the time he died, at just forty-one in 1954, Capa was not only the greatest adventurer in photographic history. He had become a colleague and confidant to writers Irwin Shaw, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway and director John Huston, and a seducer of several of his era's most alluring icons, including Ingrid Bergman.

From Budapest in the twenties to Paris in the thirties, from post-war Hollywood to Stalin's Russia, and from New York in the fifties to Indochina, Blood and Champagne is a wonderfully evocative account of Capa's life and times. Based on extensive interviews with Capa's friends and contemporaries, as well as FBI and Soviet files and other previously unpublished materials, Alex Kershaw's biography is every bit as compelling as its charismatic subject.
 

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BLOOD AND CHAMPAGNE: The Life and Times of Robert Capa

User Review  - Kirkus

Fast-paced biography of the daredevil war photographer who died in combat at age 40.Kershaw (Jack London, 1998) relies heavily on Robert Capa's 1947 memoir Slightly Out of Focus and the Richard Whelan ... Read full review

Blood and champagne: the life and times of Robert Capa

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review

Contents

Three Thousand Miles From Omaha i
1
Conversation in Budapest
5
Barbarians at the Gate
15
The Man Who Invented Himself
22
The Passionate War
33
The Falling Soldier
38
La Paquena Rubena
48
The 400 Million
66
Victory
144
Heres Looking At You Kid
158
The End of the Affair
167
Back in the USSR
177
The New Look
192
A Road of Death
201
The Realm of the Senses
214
How Can I Be Old?
225

The Final Defeat
73
Splendid Isolation
82
Muddling Through
90
The Desert
98
Its a Tough War
107
The Longest Day
116
The Bocage
132
Forward Lies the Delta
241
The Legend
252
Notes
256
Bibliography
277
Index
291
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About the author (2003)

Alex Kershaw is a journalist and screenwriter. As a frequent contributor to England's Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine, and The Observer, he has worked closely with several award-winning photojournalists. His previous book was Jack London: A Life.

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