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Blood And Champagne: The Life And Times Of Robert Capa
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2010
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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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2003
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. Highly sexed, he counted some of the most beautiful women of the age amongst his lovers, including Ingrid Bergman. When lovers were not immediately available, he contended himself with prostitutes. Loving and loved in return, he was too much of a bohemian to commit himself to a permanent relationship. He could have been rich, but he never was. He could have happily married, but he never did.
Capa's luck ran out when he went to Vietnam in 1953 to cover the war between the French and the Vietnamese and trod on a landmine.
Alex Kershaw deserves credit for writing such a meticulously researched and readable biography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2014
Reading recently "Hotel Florida" about the war in Spain in the late 1930s as told through Robert Capa's eyes (and five others' eyes ) impelled me to know more about Capa. Hence, I picked up this biography. Capa was a self- made photo journalist, bon vivant and brave person working in his field throughout almost every war from the nineteen thirties through the nineteen fifties.

We learn about Capa's breakneck life. We learn about his great points and not so great points, which almost "everyone" forgave him for. He lived life for himself --drinking, sleeping around and making himself into a famous war photographer simultaneously. How he did this, formed a long lasting business and charmed the ladies ( including Ingrid Bergman) is the subject of this biography that uncovers the horrors of war while not being totally depressing. This is a credit to the biographer, Kershaw, and to Capa--a man's man and, actually, a nice guy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
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
on February 12, 2006
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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on November 20, 2014
"The man who invented himself", Robert Capa. What a life, what a story! The book depicts the life of a man who never stop defying destiny. Until he ran out of luck! It's incredible to learn how he managed to survive the Spanish civil war and D-day. What out-of-this-world character he was!
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on February 3, 2014
You will enjoy the insight into his life. How his life influenced his photography and how his photography influenced his life
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on March 26, 2015
Quite an amazing man and the pioneer in embedded photojournalism. Alex Kershaw always writes a great story.
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on August 22, 2014
Most interesting subject. Haven't read it yet.
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on January 21, 2015
Great condition
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