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on extensive interviews with Capa's friends and contemporaries, as well as FBI and Soviet files and other previously unpublished materials, Alex Kershaw's biography is every bit as compelling as its charismatic subject.
 

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User Review  - mvbdlr - LibraryThing

I don't like Robert Capa. For many years I couldn't even remember his first name, I could have sworn his name was Albert Capa. Besdies his politics, which are frustratingly contradictory, his is the ... Read full review

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User Review  - tbrennan1 - LibraryThing

This book was bought in a 2nd hand sale. I had heard of Robert Capa and was intrigued by his story. This was one brave man ,who was a brilliant photographer who died at the age of forty in the Indo ... Read full review

Contents

Three Thousand Miles From Omaha i
1
Barbarians at the Gate
15
The Man Who Invented Himself
22
The Passionate War
33
La Paquena Rubena
48
The 400 Million
66
The Final Defeat
73
Splendid Isolation
82
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
Forward Lies the Delta
241

Muddling Through
90
The Desert
98
Its a Tough War
107
The Longest Day
116
The Bocage
132
Victory
144
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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