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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: #211,631 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 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Maureen on August 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
I cannot tell you how heart-broken I was when I finished this book. Not because of it's contents, but because I felt like I was losing some magical connection with the soul of my one and only hero. The absolute sincerity of Capa's writing pulls you in and won't let you go, even long after you've finished reading. The book itself is very short- I could have finished it in a day. However, I never wanted it to end and instead paced myself and took a week and a half to finish it. If ever there were a great adventure book, it is this one. If ever there were a great romance novel, it is this one. The end reminds me of Casablanca.
Capa tells you his story with great charisma, candidness and of course, in a sense, sincerity. However, regardless of his version of the truth, the absolute purpose of his story is to establish for you a sense of reality. You will yourself to believe that war is glamorous, and he almost wants to tell you that it is; lie to you. But he knows that he cannot and you know deep in your heart that war is really a grotesque abuse of the human spirit. The juxtaposition of his story and his photographs remind you that it is. He recount of his time huddled under some wine barrels in a tavern in the mountains of Italy reminds you that war is terrible. The simple fact that he was one of the lucky 2/3's of men to survive the jump over the Rhine reminds you that war is terrible. And the disgusting irony of his entrapment in a mine field in North Africa makes you think of the terrible war and the single land mine twenty years later that took this great man's life.

Whether you buy this book or get it from the library does not matter, what matters is that you read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marino Prieto on December 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a Capa fan, you'll love this book. If you're not, you'll become one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Dousset on September 23, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i saved this book to read on the plane, since it's pretty slim. it's praised more for the famous pictures, i think, than the text. i liked it a lot. it's the story of a really interesting time and place, and he doesn't want to let the reader down by making anything sound boring. some passages are dated or awkward, but mostly he reminds me of a character in an i.b. singer book: an adventurer and also a bit of a [...].
he talks about the fog of war: he dared not ask for help from the soldiers he was with, because they couldn't see him in the dark or in the smoke, and with his heavy accent they were bound to mistake him for the enemy.
this memoir covers a pretty finite period of time in a very short life. (capa had a love affair with ingrid bergman, and this was the inspiration for the film 'rear window.') he started out as a journalist, and he's a good writer and story-teller as i said. you probably won't want to put the book down, but when you're finished you'll hold onto it for the sake of the photographs. i don't care about war history or photography particularly; my favorite pic is the one OF him at the front of the book--drunk and happy, in a tux.
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