A book everyone should read

In 1942, a dashing young man who liked nothing so much as a heated game of poker, a good bottle of scotch, and the company of a pretty girl hopped a merchant ship to England. He was Robert Capa, the brilliant and daring photojournalist, and Collier's magazine had put him on assignment to photograph the war raging in Europe. In these pages, Capa recounts his terrifying journey through the darkest battles of World War II and shares his memories of the men and women of the Allied forces who befriended, amused, and captivated him along the way. His photographs are masterpieces - John G. Morris, Magnum Photos' first executive editor, called Capa "the century's greatest battlefield photographer" - and his writing is by turns riotously funny and deeply moving.
From Sicily to London, Normandy to Algiers, Capa experienced some of the most trying conditions imaginable, yet his compassion and wit shine on every page of this book. Charming and profound, Slightly Out of Focus is a marvelous memoir told in words and pictures by an extraordinary man.
The great photojournalist infused his autobiography with the same brio and warmth that he expressed in his now classic photographs. "Victory was pleasant and exhausting," the Hungarian-born American notes after the Allies' capture of Tunisia. "During the day in the streets... we were kissed by hundreds of old women... We had enough liquor from a captured Gestapo warehouse to keep our singing throats from drying out." Always on the frontlines (he was killed in 1954 in what would later become known as the Vietnam War), Capa went ahead with the parachute invasion of Sicily even though he had been fired from Colliers Weekly--flying in with a squadron of young soldiers he refers to as "boys." When Capa's turn came to jump, he forgot to count "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand" before pulling his cord, instead murmuring, "Fired photographer jumps." "I felt a jerk on my shoulder and my chute was open. 'Fired photographer floats,' I said happily to myself." Stuck dangling in a tree all night, he didn't dare call out for help. "With my Hungarian accent, I stood an equal chance of being shot by either side."
This is a title from Modern Library, an imprint of Random House / USA, an endless pool where you can find the best books written in the world and published in english language.

It was still very early and very gray for good pictures, but the gray water and the gray sky made the little men, dodging under the surrealistic designs of Hitler's anti-invasion brain trust, very effective.
I finished my pictures, and the sea was cold in my trousers. Reluctantly, I tried to move away from my steel pole, but the bullets chased me back every time. Fifty yards ahead of me, one of our half-burnt amphibious tanks stuck out of the water and offered me my next cover. I sized up the situation. There was little future for the elegant raincoat heavy on my arm. I dropped it and made for the tank. Between floating bodies I reached it, paused for a few more pictures, and gathered my guts for the last jump to the beach.
Now the Germans played on all their instruments, and I could not find any hole between the shells and bullets that blocked the last twenty-five yards to the beach. I just stayed behind my tank, repeating a little sentence from my Spanish Civil War days, "Es una cosa muy seria. Es una cosa muy seria." This is a very serious business.
The tide was coming in and now the water reached the farewell letter to my family in my breast pocket. Behind the human cover of the last two guys, I reached the beach. I threw myself flat and my lips touched the earth of France. I had no desire to kiss it.
Slightly Out of Focus, by Robert Capa
Foreword by Cornell Capa • Introduction by Richard Whelan • Modern Library / Random House US


Post a Comment

Copyright 2006| Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger XNL by Blogcrowds and tuned by Bloom * Creative Network.
No part of the content of the blog may be reproduced without notice and the mention of its source and the associated link. Thank you.