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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; Reprint edition (May 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306813564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306813566
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'A tale rich with intrigue, love, lust, lies and betrayal...I loved this book' Janine di Giovanni; 'Ambition, integrity and courage were intertwined in Capa, as Alex Kershaw persuades in this elegant biography...a spellbinding portrait of his gypsy life.' Sunday Times; 'Packed with good stories, and snappily written, Blood and Champagne is as full of life as the man it celebrates.' Observer; 'Remarkably fine' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

More About the Author

Alex Kershaw is the New York Times best-selling author of several popular WW11 titles. He is a British born journalist.

Please visit alexkershaw.com for his full bio and some great web-sites devoted to his books. He would be happy to answer any questions and sign books and help in any other way.

You can also catch up with him and his work at his facebook page - alex kershaw, author's page.

He blogs at www.alexkershawauthor.com and provides video/images/posts on facebook.



THE LIBERATOR Q&A

What inspired you to write the book?

I was researching a story about men who liberated the camps in WW11. I came across an extraordinary photograph which showed a young American officer, Felix Sparks, firing his pistol into the air on 29 April 1945. He is in a coal-yard at Dachau, which he has just liberated, and some of his men have opened fire on SS soldiers. He is firing his pistol and shouting to make them stop. The image captures an amazing moment of incredible humanity when one considers that Sparks had by then spent over 500 days in brutalizing combat, losing an entire company at Anzio and a battalion to the SS, since landing on the first day of the invasion of Europe. Most people would not have stopped the killing of such evil men, just minutes after discovering the full horrors of Hitler's first concentration camp. I had to meet this man and in 2007 I interviewed him, literally on his death-bed. No other American fought for longer or suffered more to free more people from the greatest evil of modern times.


- What surprised you the most during the writing process?

I was often astonished by the sheer violence and trauma endured by the so-called Greatest Generation. Over 150,000 mostly working-class Americans died to liberate Europe. Hundreds of thousands came home and never talked about it. Why would you want to recount what felt like being in a terrible car crash each day? I interviewed many men who served with and under Sparks and because they opened up to me I was struck over and over by how great their suffering had been. None came home unbroken. They all paid a huge price if they were in combat.

- What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

I'd be a retired banker, sipping cocktails in St. Lucia, lazily scanning the Wall Street Journal to see how my investments, taxed at almost nothing, are doing. Sadly, l decided to try to do something a little more interesting....

- What else are you reading right now?

I am utterly absorbed in the Civil War and Revolutionary War America - my son is studying these periods at middle school. It's hugely colorful history. Even as an expat "limey" who has lived here for twenty years I'm astonished by how radical the idea was that all men should be equal before the law, not subjects of a king. As concerns the Civil War, Michael Shara's The Killer Angels is amazing. The Civil War has not ended of course - just look at the red and blue states.

Customer Reviews

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Alex Kershaw deserves credit for writing such a meticulously researched and readable biography.
Penguin Egg
I have read a few of Alex Kershaw's books and the thing I really love about them is that they tell true stories in an exciting way.
Sophie Sams
If you are interested in Robert Capa, photography, or in Alex Kershaw as a writer, this is a must read!
SLester

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Photoman on November 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This seems to be a thoroughly researched book. All that is missing are the photographs taken by the subject - Robert Capa. Magnum and the late Cornell Capa did not allow Alex Kershaw to use them as they felt this was an UN-authorized bio. My question is: How MUCH better would an authorized bio be?? The writer goes back to Capa's first girl friend, his living conditions as a child, his parents' origins, plus anecdotes and qoutes from co-workers and friends. The life and death of the love of his life is also covered. I was throughly engrossed in the story of one of photography's greatest shooters and the changing times inwhich he lived. The addition of personal papers would have been good as well, but as I seem to recall, Kershaw writes that Capa was not a great writer, so perhaps he left little written record. Nonetheless, the record is the photography Capa left behind. I'm sure there are many websites and sources people can go to if they wish to see the work of this man. Not as a plug, but, The International Center of Photography in New York City might be a good place to start.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Penguin Egg on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
The life of Robert Capa is fascinating. Born in Budapest in 1913, he was to die forty years later in Vietnam after establishing himself as one of the great photojournalists of the 20th Century. He captured on film some of the most memorable pictures in the Spanish Civil War, including the iconic "The Falling Soldier." A shameless propagandist for the Republican cause, he thought nothing of having combatants "pose" for some of his most dramatic pictures - including, many think, "The Falling Soldier." Did the republican soldier fall because he was shot or because he tripped? Was it posed? The jury is still out on that one. A Jew at a time when anti-Semitism was rife in Europe, he became a committed anti-fascist and socialist. He established the photographers' co-operative, Magnum, in order that photographers had control over their own photographs and earnings. This was not so different to the kibbutzim established in Israel by highly idealistic settlers whom he so admired. Needless to say, Capa was there to record the birth of the fledgling state of Israel in 1948 and caught on film that nation's birth pains as it battled with its Arab neighbours. War was his medium, even though he hated it. He went over in a landing craft to photograph the D-Day landings and produced some of the most memorable pictures of battle ever taken. This was despite that most of the pictures were ruined during the rushed processing in London and some of those that survived are out of focus.
Capa was talented, generous, humorous, and charismatic. An inveterate gambler, he played poker with the likes of John Huston and Ernest Hemmingway, and inevitably lost. Like most people who don't care about money, money problems plagued him.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SLester on March 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is absolutely amazing! I had always wondered about Robert Capa growing up. Who was he? Where was he from? Why is his name on all of the D-Day picture credits on those bury pictures? Alex Kershaw does a masterful job of telling the life story of such an interesting man. So many gifts in life and privileges that he left behind to follow his passion of photography. The many wars he covered and the life he lived are much alike in times of peace and in times of war as his life was a roller coaster of emotions and experiences that eventually led to his death. If you are interested in Robert Capa, photography, or in Alex Kershaw as a writer, this is a must read!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sophie Sams on February 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It actually made me cry. I had no idea that Robert Capa had an affair with Ingrid Bergman (among others!) and it is brilliantly told. I have read a few of Alex Kershaw's books and the thing I really love about them is that they tell true stories in an exciting way. They really do read like novels -- rather than the usual stuffy, worthy bios that get written that only an obsessive fan of the subject could be bothered to wade through. Deserves to be made into a movie.
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