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Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq Hardcover – August 1, 2004


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Purple Hearts: Back from Iraq + Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: A Photographer's Chronicle of the Iraq War
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Trolley Books (August 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904563341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904563341
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,008,966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nina Berman's work has been extensively published and exhibited around the world. Purple Hearts was her first book. 'I've been a documentary photographer since 1987 working in a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, India and Vietnam, but most of my time has been spent traveling the USA trying to understand the American Way of Life.'

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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By John H. Trotter on October 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I read through the other reviews of Nina Berman's Purple Hearts posted here, which all glow, until I got to the very first one, which gives the book one loney star. Obviously, the "truth" of photographs can be experienced very differently by different people.

To post a review of a book one has never even seen here on a book review site is curious, ridiculous and a dogmatic political act, the very tar with which the "reviewer" pretends to paint Berman. The review, such as it is, parrots the now very weary and increasingly diluted words "patriotism" and "heroes" with the now prerequsite sense of insult and outrage. One of the more remarkable things about the photographs (which are available to see when actually looking at the book) is how dispassionate they are. That is, removed of the photographer's own passions. You simply see the physical manifestation of the damage to each soldier. And that is their power. Viewers are left to imagine what kind of peace each of these formerly anonymous casualty figures will be able to make with the war that will be with them the rest of the days of their lives. Don't the best books rest in one's hands more as questions than answers?

This is a subject very close to me. I am a photographer who has worked in combat zones, as has Nina Berman, but in the end I was attacked in the United States by a half-dozen young men and nearly kicked and stomped to death. Like some of the soldiers in this book, I suffered a traumatic brain injury, which in my case left me unable to walk or to recall three simple numbers recited by my speech therapist. Like everyone else with a brain injury my emotions were no longer completely under my control and I would begin crying for no reason at all.

But I soon understood that there were reasons to cry.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Randall on September 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I would guess that the person who wrote the above review hasn't actually SEEN Nina Berman's extraordinary book of photographs. If she had, I doubt that she would have questioned Ms. Berman's utmost respect for the injured American soldiers returning from Iraq. The public has been unnecessarily shielded from seeing the result of this war: mangled bodies, amputated limbs, shock and sorrow on the faces of those brave souls who have been sent to fight. Berman's images, as well as the soldier's own words, are difficult to take in. Yet, I was surprised to read that a good number of those profiled in the book are very proud of their service and regret having to leave the armed forces. One soldier even says it was the best experience of his life; the picture shows him with one leg. I think it is inaccurate to suggest that Berman doesn't understand these soldier's courage and patriotism. She does, indeed. And she has the pictures to prove it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Buzz Sawyer on September 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Nina Berman has unflinchingly brought to print and life - the courage and heroism of American soldiers returning from serving their country in the latest war on Iraq.

The images are harrowing, the narrative essays enlightening. Ms. Berman's treatment of this reality with dignity and clarity shines through the unsettling pictures and words of men and women who will be forever changed by the near death they encountered.

Ms. Berman's important book respectfully illuminates the broad spectrums of patriotism and heroism, which take many shapes and perspectives. She gives visibility and voice to those who often go unheard and denied.

Her work is a gift - a courageous exercise in capturing what many may not have the courage to see - because of the questions provoked. "PURPLE HEARTS, Back from Iraq" offers us the possibility to briefly (and safely) encounter one reality of war's impact on the very human participants. We should be so very thankful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Elisa Cipriana gave this review one star and questions the motives of the author for doing the book. She goes on to say that Nina Berman does not understand the courage and patriotism these amazing men and women show in coping with terrible injuries because Nina was never in the military. She also suggests that we read the transcript of Nina's interview on NPR before buying the book.

Well Elisa I listened to the interview and the only motive I heard was Nina's desire to try and show how these brave men and women are dealing with the horrible injuries. The mainstream press has failed to do it so people like Nina have taken the time to provide them with an opportunity to show how they are coping. The average person on the street needs to see this book and I hope Nina does a thousand more interviews to promote her book so the American Public see the sacrifice that 1,000's of our troops are making in Iraq. Nina expressed the truth in her book and in her promotion of the book. I applaud Nina's efforts to try and show the terrible sacrifice. The only thing missing from the book is the smell of war that I experienced as an Air Evac medic in the Nam conflict. Elisa you don't support the troops by supporting the lies that kill them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Purple Hearts on October 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"For the reality of war and what it does to those we send to fight, there's "Purple Hearts: Back From Iraq," a wonderful but wrenching book featuring pictures and interviews by Nina Berman. We read each day of soldiers killed and wounded by rocket-propelled grenades, suicide car bombers, mines and the deadly weapons known as "improvised explosive devices." Berman's pictures and the words of those maimed in attacks give graphic testimony to just what that means."

From "Antiwar battles on two fronts" by John Needham, LA Times Staff Writer, Oct 5
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