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The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press; 1st edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612510787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612510781
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The authors have made an engaging and convincing argument, providing a wealth of information without lagging in pace as they unravel this intriguing true-life mystery. Their book will appeal to armchair historians, armchair detectives, and anyone who would like to know the story behind one of the most beloved photographs in American history." -- Library Journal, June 1, 2012

"What a wonderful detective story about a kissing sailor and a beautiful nurse--the most famous couple celebrating the end of WWII. Famous but anonymous--until now. I loved it." -- Tom Brokaw, author of The Time of Our Lives: A Conversation About America and The Greatest Generation

...very special attempt to resolve the true romantic odyssey…Reading more like a well-contrived mystery than a romantic tale, the authors threat their way through minefields of inaccurate information and up blind alleys until finally, miraculously locating the real couple decades later. This is an exciting fun read that finally solves one of WWII's unsolved mysteries, and yes, you will be as surprised with the ending as was this reviewer, who, as a war-time teenager actually witnessed this frantic celebration in Times Square." -- Sea Classics, August 2012

"The authors deliver a convincing conclusion to their romantic detective tale about the last day of WWII and the photo that 'savored what a long-sought peace feels like.' " -- Publishers Weekly

"The authors not only do a great job in following the clues that led to the undisputable claim that Mendonsa and Zimmer are, in fact, the kissing couple, but they also convey the euphoria that swept the country when the war ended." -- WWII History, July 2012

About the Author

Lawrence Verria is the Social Studies Department Chair at North Kingstown High School, and Rhode Island's 2000 Teacher of the Year. During his twenty-nine year career as a history teacher, he served as an educational consultant to Frontline (PBS) and as a spokesperson for The Watson Institute for International Studies' Choices for the 21st Century Education Program at Brown University. He is the recipient of the Susan B. Wilson Civic Education Merit Award and Rhode Island College's Evelyn Walsh Prize for excellence in history studies.

Captain George Galdorisi, USN (Ret.)is a naval aviator who began his writing career in 1978 with an article in Proceedings. His Navy career included four command tours and five years as a carrier strike group chief of staff. He has written seven books previously, including the New York Times best seller, Tom Clancy Presents: Act of Valor, the novelization of the Bandito Brothers/Relativity Media film starring U.S. Navy SEALs. He is currently the director of the Corporate Strategy Group at the Navy's C4ISR Center of Excellence in San Diego, California. For more information on The Kissing Sailor and other books by Capt. Galdorisi, please visit www.georgegaldorisi.com.

David Hartman was the original, and for over 11 years, host of Good Morning America. He writes and produces numerous programs about the history of military aviation and space and has earned two national News and Documentary Emmys for writing and the Aviation/Space Writers Association Journalism Award.

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Customer Reviews

The book is very well written.
Sydney
I had to know the story of the kissers and take the journey with the detectives.
Navy Guy
A must read for all history buffs!
Mr. Marty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Seymour Morris Jr on June 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A book about a photograph? Won't a magazine article do?

Apparently not. In this riveting book -- I couldn't put it down -- the authors tell the story of that memorable day and the 60-year hunt to find the two protagonists. The photographer Alfred Eisenstadt never bothered to get their names: he just snapped the picture (four frames, one right after the other, then dashed off into the crowd to take other pictures). The editors of Life Magazine didn't put the picture -- arguably their most famous picture of all time -- on the cover, they buried it somewhere in the back. The sailor and the nurse didn't even strike up a conversation, they each went their separate ways (an interesting tidbit: behind the sailor's right shoulder is a pretty girl some ten yards behind him: that was his girlfriend, now his wife). Finally, neither the sailor nor the nurse saw the picture when it came out, nor in the many subsequent issues of the magazine nor in the thousands of articles and books where it was reproduced. It seems like Fate destined these two celebrities to never re-appear.

But of course when money and celebrity is involved, nothing remains anonymous forever. This is America. True to form, once Life Magazine realized it had a goldmine on its hands, it tried to find who the two people were. A horde of potential claimants showed up, like in a Miss America contest, seeking fame and fortune giving interviews and riding in floats in July 4 parades -- and launching lawsuits against Time-Life Inc. for not mentioning their name.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Marty on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Uncle George has had the proof for years that he was the sailor in the picture. I am so glad the proof has been put in print. The book is an accurate representation of all the proper documentation. It has been thouroughly researched. A must read for all history buffs!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By palmdesert5 on August 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My older daughter and I both read this book and had the same reaction. There was some interesting information in the beginning of the book, but then it just went on and on a became redundant and boring. My daughter stopped reading at page 92 because it was too boring for her. I have a horrible habit that once I start a book, I must finish it, so I did. The interesting material could have be condensed down into about 50 pages - the rest was boring or redundant.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sydney on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Okay, so I'm a little biased... Mr. Verria was my US History teacher last year, and we got the whole synopsis of the book in one epic day where he presented it like the most amazing detective story ever. I swear he's on par with Sherlock Holmes.

The book is very well written. So many people hate historically-based books, but everyone should give this book a chance. It is so artfully written and totally draws the reader in.

I have seen one review complaining about the "disorganization," but I wouldn't call it that. I would call that a well-written detective story. Isn't the whole point of the book to discover the identities of the sailor and nurse? The book is written in such a style that recreates Verria's journey through the history and photographs and interviews and stories. It recreates the helter-skelter way in which he came to his discovery. It isn't disorganized; it's artfully woven so as to leave the reader curiously following the author's tale to the very end.

Who ever thought a book about a photograph could be so interesting? Sure, I suppose those of us in his US history classes weren't surprised, after he had devoted an entire hour-and-a-half class to a presentation that "just scratched the surface," as he said.

And he was right.

There is so much more to the story than who's who in that famous picture.

I don't normally like historical books, but I can't recommend this book enough. And it's not just because I'm biased.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul G on July 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
You can make the argument that the two people in the iconic Time Square photo should remain anonymous. They are truly every man and every women of the "greatest generation" celebrating the successful end of a long and deadly war.

Having said that, I find the story of the actual people compelling: the photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, a Jew who left Nazi Germany, George Mandosa, a Portuguese-American combat sailor and Greta Zimmer,an Austrian Jew whose parents were killed in the Holocaust. They came together, by chance, to create a work of art and to reflect the great melting pot which is America!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By BIG BOB on June 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
At last the mystery is solved by the collaboration of two writers that dug, dug and dug for the truth although there were many claimants.
This picture always meant one thing to me--the end of World War Two and the inherent joy of these two people in the picture fused itself into America and the world. I was 11 at this time and so I experienced this joy and happiness as did everyone I knew living in Knoxville, Illinois. Everyone's life changed and service people started coming home which also started the country to move and become alive again in a happy way.
This brilliant book that was gleaned from a mere news article, brought all this and happy times back to my memory of life recalled from that era. And a very important issue on this book is that it informs all of the younger people who did not live through that era but have probably seen the picture taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945.
Thanks George and Lawrence--I shall treasure my copy that George signed in Coronado, Ca.
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