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Slightly Out of Focus (Modern Library War) Paperback – June 12, 2001


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Slightly Out of Focus (Modern Library War) + Blood And Champagne: The Life And Times Of Robert Capa + Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library War
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (June 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375753966
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375753961
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A powerful story nimbly told. For devotees of fine photography or accounts of World War II, the Modern Library 's reprinting is a welcome gift."
-- Tampa Tribune and Times

"Capa's work is itself the picture of a great heart and an overwhelming compassion. . . . He could photograph motion and gaiety and heartbreak. He could photograph thought. He captured a world."
-- John Steinbeck

"Above all--and this is what shows in his pictures--Capa, who spent so much energy on inventions for his own person, has deep, human sympathy for men and women trapped in reality."
-- John Hersey

From the Inside Flap

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Slightly Out of Focus is ridiculously easy to read.
Melissa Dunson
The juxtaposition of his story and his photographs remind you that it is.
Maureen
These stories are great to read and the book is not long.
Kevin M Quigg

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Dunson on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Slightly Out of Focus, the autobiography by legendary photographer Robert Capa, chronicles his experiences as a photographer for Collier's and Life magazines during World War II. Capa's adventure takes him from his comfortable bed in New York, across the Atlantic, into the African desert, to the beaches of Normandy and the liberation of Paris, through Germany, and finally to a posh London apartment where his journey ends. The book is a delightful read. Over 100 of Capa's breathtaking and thought provoking photographs are scattered throughout its pages. Slightly Out of Focus is ridiculously easy to read. Capa's conversational style and witty banter result in a story that feels more like your favorite novel, than the biography of a war correspondent. The memoirs span only 232 pages, but fully encompass the blood, sweat, and tears shed during the most gruesome war in American history.
Capa throws no punches when he puts his thoughts and experiences into words. He is gut wrenchingly open, honest, and human about himself and the war that he photographs. He accurately shows the not so glamorous, unromantic side of front-line journalism in stories about being too broke to pay his bills, sleeping in bed-bug infested houses, driving for hours over empty deserts, contracting malaria, bureaucratic red tape, and eventually giving up the woman of his dreams to continue photographing the war. Capa is honest enough to admit to all of this and wrote, "I began to dislike this war. The life of a war correspondent wasn't so romantic."
Capa put his life in danger countless times in the book, each time in the quest for the perfect photo that said everything and each time narrowly escaping death. While in Africa, he accidentally wandered into a mine field and had to wait for hours to be rescued.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I think of the founders of Magnum I see larger than life heros that are always in the right place at the right time for the perfect picture. Not only does this book show that Capa is not larger than life, but a very real man, but he also worked very hard to be at the right place at the right time...not to mention he spent much of his life at the wrong place at the wrong time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter G. Johnson on July 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
Capa's autobiography is like his photography: it captures reality and fact but evokes the skill and passion of the artist. Some say his photograph of the falling soldier in the Spanish Civil War was staged yet there is no denying the authenticity of the Trotsky photos and the chances he took where cameras were not allowed. This book is captures that duality about him. Capa telling us about himself with a little embellishment but plenty of truth. There is a new autobiography of him that just came out, the "unauthorized" biography of A. Kershaw and any number of tales from those who knew him but to me this tops all that is out there. For me this book is like sitting somewhere with him in Paris as he spins his tales to his friends.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Cundall on February 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My dad really enjoyed this book. It's a great one! So happy to have found it. It was fabulously written, with some great, rare photos with a keen look into what made Robert the artist he was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on October 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the world of combat photography, the name Robert Capa occupies the apex. Having covered four major wars, his photos are not only a testament to his skill with a lens, but also serve as an excellent illustrated record of the 20th century.

Aside from being a remarkable photographer, Capa is also quite adept with the pen. Slightly Out of Focus is a brilliant illustration of Capa's multifacited skills as a journalist.

Beginning in 1942, Capa, a Hungarian exile, describes his life as a "potential enemy alien" living in New York City and the subsequent difficulties of trying to attain passage to the European theatre. These biographical snippets lend an interesting take on Capa the man; aspects all too often over-powered by his fame as a photographer.

Once arrived in Europe, Capa creates an interesting tale of love and adventure. Originally, Slightly Out of Focus was to serve as screen play. As such, Focus is based on actual events, but tinted with imagination in order to be better suited for Hollywood. Nevertheless, the work is historically accurate and Capa's insights of World War II cut to the quick.

Interestingly, Capa views the World War II experience as enlightening and generally good. Rarely are there the melancholy sentiments that color other war memoirs, (i.e. famed combat photographer Tim Page). The exception being a brief allusion to bearing witness to the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. An instance where Capa chose not to click the shutter.

I would be curious to discover more of Capa's writings regarding his time spent covering other conflicts, namely the Arab-Israeli War and the first Indochina war.

As a successful newspaperman, Capa wrote a number of articles to accompany his pictures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prompt Delivery. Seller provided good quality book, as advertised. There were no marks or damage. It was a great read. Would definitely buy from seller again. And it's great to read the life of a great photography, in his own words.
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