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Saving Private Ryan: The Men, The Mission, The Movie (Newmarket Pictorial Moviebook) Paperback – June 15, 1999
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The photos and snippets of dialog and celebrity quotes in this tie-in book to Steven Spielberg's D-day film Saving Private Ryan are a continuation of the movie by other means. (Be forewarned that the book reveals one major plot point concerning Matt Damon's Private Ryan character.) If the color pictures look a bit washed-out compared to, say, Disney's The Art of Mulan, that's the idea--Spielberg renounced his razzle-dazzle visual magic in order to convey a brute reality honestly. "I didn't want to shoot the picture as a Hollywood gung ho Rambo kind of extravaganza," Spielberg says in the book. "Janusz [Kaminski, the cinematographer] stripped all the glossy filters and the filaments from the lenses so they were just like the kind of lenses they actually used in the Second World War. We shot a lot of the war sequences with the shutter speed used by those Bell and Howell cameras of the 1940s for making newsreels.... If we've done our jobs, [the audience] will think we were actually on the beach on D-day." Time magazine opined that the film boasts "quite possibly the greatest combat sequence ever made."
The photos in this book give an inkling of that impact, and also evince the intense empathy for the GIs that won Spielberg the allegiance of the leading historian Stephen E. Ambrose, whose stunning book Citizen Soldiers was the director's prime influence. "I wanted to write about the lives of the GIs," Ambrose said in an Amazon.com interview. "Books are always written from the generals' point of view, but I'm sick of the generals and their point of view. It's more refreshing to be with the guys who did the fighting." After seeing the film or reading this book (or the novelization Saving Private Ryan), you may not feel refreshed, but you will be enlightened. And you will immediately want to read two other sagas of ordinary heroism by Ambrose, D-day and Undaunted Courage, his ode to Meriwether Lewis.
Saving Private Ryan is, in a sense, a companion volume to Tim O'Brien's masterpiece Going After Cacciato, about soldiers hunting down a deserter during the Vietnam War. Spielberg's story of GIs risking their lives hunting down an endangered dogface to save his life helps measure what it was that Americans lost between World War II and Vietnam. --Tim Appelo
James' book, an extension of the message of the film, is a valuable artifact of cinematic history. Inspired by those who sacrificed their lives for liberty, the memory of the images is not soon forgotten. -- Photo Insider
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm reminded of another 'simple man' that came from Pennsylvania in novel lore. Lieutenant Harry Brubaker, the lawyer who flies F-9 Panther Jets in Michner's brief story about the carnage in Korea, 'Bridges at To Ko Ri.'
But the point is Spielberg tells us that they were all simple men and we don't believe him at first. We keep looking for Arnie Schwarznegger or Chuck Norris or The Rock. But they are and were normal guys, guys from Brooklyn New York and Brooklyn Michigan. Guys from towns you never heard of in Iowa, where Jimmy Ryan and his brothers came from. Just guys in the greatest carnage the world ever knew. And Spielberg shows us what they did. They changed the world.
The five Sullivan brothers all went down with their ship in the middle of the war and after that the powers that be would not commit one brother in a theater of combat where another brother was also serving in harm's way. So here, one of Jimmy Ryan's brothers is killed in the Pacific and one brother is killed in Anzio Beach. And Sean Ryan is killed in the landing at Omaha Beach. And Captain John Miller and a squad of men he picks are asked to find him to send him home.
A wonderful book to compliment a movie that should be preserved forever about an ubelievable body of men and women. "Was I a good man," asks James Ryan 50 years later? My Dad asked me the same question a few years ago. Five stars is not enough. Larry Scantlebury.