Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa

Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa

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by Alex Kershaw
     
 

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Robert Capa, one of the finest photojournalists and combat photographers of the twentieth century, covered every major conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the early conflict in Vietnam. Always close to the action, he created some of the most enduring images ever made with a camera--perhaps none more memorable than the gritty photos taken on the morning of D-Day

Overview


Robert Capa, one of the finest photojournalists and combat photographers of the twentieth century, covered every major conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the early conflict in Vietnam. Always close to the action, he created some of the most enduring images ever made with a camera--perhaps none more memorable than the gritty photos taken on the morning of D-Day.But the drama of Capa's life wasn't limited to one side of the lens. Born in Budapest as Andre Freidman, Capa fled political repression and anti-Semitism as a teenager by escaping to Berlin, where he first picked up a Leica camera. He founded Magnum, which today remains the most prestigious photographic agency of its kind. He was a gambler and seducer of several of his era's most alluring icons, including Ingrid Bergman, and his friends included Irwin Shaw, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and John Huston.From Budapest in the twenties to Paris in the thirties, from postwar Hollywood to Stalin's Russia, from New York to Indochina, Blood and Champagne is a wonderfully evocative account of Capa's life and times.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
André Friedmann, a.k.a. Robert Capa, war photographer, bon vivant, and co-founder of Magnum, the legendary photo agency, remains the archetype of the committed photojournalist, risking his life to capture indelible images of the Spanish Civil War, Japan's invasion of China, Second World War battles in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany, and Israel's war for independence. A Hungarian refugee who arrived in Paris in 1933, Capa transformed himself into a charming, caustic adventurer, a high-stakes gambler who left behind a heartbroken trail of beautiful women (including Ingrid Bergman). Kershaw is sympathetic, but by no means blind to his subject's technical, personal, and occasionally ethical limitations, and he conscientiously corrects the romantic embellishments that Capa made to his life story. No matter who tells it, there's a haunting inevitability to the story's end, when, in 1954, Capa finally runs out of luck -- at the age of forty, the first American correspondent to die in Indochina.
Publishers Weekly
Robert Capa was the archetype of the intrepid war photographer. Asserting that "if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," Capa braved combat in the Spanish Civil War, hit Omaha Beach in the first wave on D-Day, and jumped behind German lines with American paratroopers, returning with visceral pictures-like the famous (and possibly staged) "falling soldier" photo of a Spanish Republican militiaman who had just been shot-that defined our idea of what modern war looks like. "Profligate, passionate, impulsive," Capa was a ladies' man who liked nice togs, hobnobbed with the rich and famous, got caught up in anti-Fascist and Popular Front politics, and played poker compulsively when he was not risking his life in combat-in other words, he practically invented the persona of the celebrity photojournalist. He also co-founded the pioneering Magnum photo agency, which gave freelance photographers ownership and control of their photos. Journalist Kershaw gives an engrossing account of Capa's impossibly romantic life, elegantly evoking both the horror of the front lines and the glamour of wartime Madrid, London and Paris, where Capa befriended the likes of Ernest Hemingway and romanced the likes of Ingrid Bergman. Packed with arresting anecdotes and character studies, Kershaw's biography is a worthy companion to Capa's work. Photos. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
As the title of this fine biography suggests, Robert Capa's life represented a curious blend of danger and glamour. One of the most highly celebrated war photographers of the century, Capa (1914-54) pioneered the role of photojournalist in combat situations while inventing his own celebrity mystique. He enjoyed the company of Hollywood stars yet in his war assignments often placed himself in the greatest mortal danger; he died at the age of 41 while covering the early years of the Indochina conflict. In this largely chronological account, journalist Kershaw provides a balanced, meticulously researched portrayal that moves from Capa's early years in Hungary to his last days in Southeast Asia; the results are vivid and refreshing. John Steinbeck and John Hersey have each published tributes to Capa, and the photographer's work has been collected in any number of well-received books. However, along with Richard Whelan's Robert Capa: A Biography, this new book is one of the very few substantive biographies available. Recommended for all photography collections.-Raymond Bial, Parkland Coll. Lib., Champaign, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fast-paced biography of the daredevil war photographer who died in combat at age 40. Kershaw (Jack London, 1998) relies heavily on Robert Capa’s 1947 memoir Slightly Out of Focus and the Richard Whelan’s 1985 biography, as well as other readily available sources. But he also conducted interviews with those who knew Capa, killed so young while photographing the French war in Vietnam during 1954. Born Andre Friedmann in 1913, part of a Hungarian Jewish family in modest circumstances, he left as a political refugee while still a teenager. He made it as far as Berlin, where he found a job as a darkroom assistant. Picking up a camera, the youngster became entranced with photography and quickly showed a talent for shooting original pictures. He broke through with stunning images of political rallies, then wound up with shooting assignments throughout Europe. He changed his name to Robert Capa because he thought it sounded punchy, memorable, and American. Faithfully following chronology, Kershaw relates how Capa achieved international fame during the Spanish Civil War with "The Falling Soldier," judiciously laying out the contradictory evidence as to whether the picture was authentic or staged. The author never loses sight of Capa's professional life, notable not only for the quality of the photographs but also the fearlessness he exhibited on battlefields around the world. Just as doggedly, Kershaw devotes substantial space to Capa’s high-profile womanizing (especially with the married Ingrid Bergman), gambling addiction, collaborations on word/picture books, and friendships with famous writers (especially John Steinbeck and Irwin Shaw), as well as the wanderlust that kept him from eversettling down. The analysis of Capa’s motivations is often insightful and rarely overbearing. A worthy introduction to an adventurous life. Agent: Lindsay Sterling
From the Publisher
"It does seem to me that Capa has proved beyond all doubt that the camera need not be a cold mechanical device. Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it. It can be the extension of mind and heart." —John Steinbeck

"Ambition, integrity and courage were intertwined in Capa, as Alex Kershaw persuades in this elegant biography ...a spellbinding portrait of his gypsy life." —Christopher Sylvester, Sunday Times (UK)

"A fine read, full of high emotion like watching Casablanca for the first time. A tale rich with intrigue, love, lust, lies and betrayal...I loved this book." —Janine di Giovanni, Literary Review (UK)

"This new biography has many of the ingredients of an adventure story." —Martin Gayford, Sunday Telegraph (UK)

"Remarkably fine." —Justine Picardie, Daily Telegraph (UK)

"Packed with good stories, and snappily written, Blood and Champagne is as full of life as the man it celebrates." —Observer (UK)

Observer (UK)
"Packed with good stories, and snappily written, Blood and Champagne is as full of life as the man it celebrates."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306813566
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
05/31/2004
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
566,234
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author


Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed and bestselling books The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, and The Few, and two biographies: Jack London and Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa. He lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Biography of Frank Capra (born name Andre Friendman) about his experiences in life, about being a international photographer! Best biography I have ever read, this writer is incredible! Very well written, interesting to learn about what it takes to caputre those images we all see in our magazines, newspapers! AWESOME, FUN book, very well wrtiten, GREAT STORY LINE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story! Andre Friendman, perhaps Earth's best photographer, is about his life from early part of twentieth century up until the French War in Vietnam! Very entertaining, learned a lot about history! Anyone interested in world history, photography, media, goal setting, should read this book by Alex Kershaw! Very well written, entertaining, exciiting, feel like your standing in the middle of some ot the most important events in world history (20th century history). This author is very talented, glad I bought this book, HIGHLY recommended, SUPER SUPER BOOK, one the best books I have ever read. Money is worth the investment for this book. Whenever anyone asks me what books I recommend, I tell them to read any of Alex Kershaw's books! They are all good, especially this book: Blood & Champagne. Andre Friedman's life biography, he went by the media name Robert Capra, his life and/or times in some the most exciting, important times in 20th century were photographed by this man, he is the reason there probably is a Time Magazine and/or interest in capturing that excellent picture today! HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book, any age gropu anyone interested in reading a high quality book! EXCEPTIONAL BOOK!
Christianbelle More than 1 year ago
Gorgeous Mosiac of Andre Friedman (recognized as Earths' best photographer that ever lived), his photgrapher name was Frank Capra! He is the reason Time magazine probably exists to this day! Learned a lot about important events of last 100 year, very fun book. Alex Kershaw, if there is a better writer alive today, I am not sure, his name is Alex Kershaw.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a very moving and vivid journey through a very adventurous life. Best war photographer ever and the book did him justice and was very esciting, just like Capa's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IT WAS GOOD, BUT THE CHARACTER FRANK CAPRA WAS NOT THE BEST PERSON, HE USED PEOPLE, WAS A WOMANIZER, ALCOHOLIC, ANDRELINE JUNKIE, BAD PERSON.
GalinaMorse More than 1 year ago
Andre Friedman, changed his name to Frank Capra, traveled the world taking some of the most important photographs of the last century. This book spans many decades, yet in an hour or two of reading, it will influence your life forever! Great book, pure gold.
___ANNA___ More than 1 year ago
Excellent biography of Frank Capra, his born name was Endre Friedman. He was an interntional photographer, who captured some of Earths' most memorable images-pictures. Alex Kershaw makes you feel lik you are standing next to this man, as he lives through some of the most important event(s) in 20th century, as if you are taking the pictures alongside him. Very well written, learned a lot about 20th century history, entertaining, informative, well written. Highly recommend, a must have for anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. 20th century history revolving around an photographer who traveled the world to catch good pictures. Very well written, fun book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most exciting biography I have ever spent money, read. Robert Kapra born Endre Friendman, his exciting lifestyle as a global photographer. Very well written, fun book. Discovered a lot a insightful history, information.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must buy for anyone interested in a great history book. Life and/or times of Robert Capra man who helped take some the best pictures in twentieth century. Very good book.
EddieGreen More than 1 year ago
Worth the read, yeah it was a five star, expceptional book.
briannnnn More than 1 year ago
A must have for biography lovers. Great portrait of earth's most respected photographer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REDFOXEAST More than 1 year ago
Outstanding biography of worlds most respected international photographer as he travels the world during the most important events during 20th century.
PIUSLEE More than 1 year ago
Robert Capra biography, noteworthy book. Incomparable author Alex Kershaw, strikingly presents some of worlds history, around international photographer Frank Capra's lifespan. Very good book, atttractive writing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Biography of globe trotting photographer in the middle of some of the most important events in last one hundred years, very well done, super book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
probably the best book about a person I have ever read
Jennifermiller More than 1 year ago
This story of Frank Capra's exploits within the realm of international photgraphy was very good. Good writing, learned a lot about history.
austintexas More than 1 year ago
Best biography I have ever read, life story of worldwide respected -- famouse global photographer Frank Capra, good book.
BD0 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GREAT TALE
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GOOD BOOK.