Out of the Forties

Out of the Forties

by Nicholas Lemann
     
 

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Cowboys play cards in their Texas bunkhouse, a little girl watches her father fix the family DeSoto, a ground crewman in Pittsburgh kneels on the wing of a propellered airplane, women farmworkers pack broccoli for shipment, a frock-coated minister stands at the door of his Louisiana church. These are among the powerful images of 1940s America created by such

Overview

Cowboys play cards in their Texas bunkhouse, a little girl watches her father fix the family DeSoto, a ground crewman in Pittsburgh kneels on the wing of a propellered airplane, women farmworkers pack broccoli for shipment, a frock-coated minister stands at the door of his Louisiana church. These are among the powerful images of 1940s America created by such documentary photographers as Esther Bubley, Edwin and Louise Rosskam, Russell Lee, and Gordon Parks. Assembled for Standard Oil by Roy Stryker, who had directed the famed Farm Security Administration photography project, the resulting collection of some 85,000 pictures stands as perhaps the most comprehensive record of the middle and late 1940s in any medium. It depicts a nation that was still close to its rural and small-town roots but also testing its industrial and technological strength.

In the early 1980s, journalist Nicholas Lemann decided to find out what had happened to some of the people and places the Standard Oil photographs record. First published in 1983, Out of the Forties is at once a compilation of the stories he heard and a portrait of a nation that has seen the strong yet sometimes repressive bonds of family and community give way to the greater prosperity and personal freedom of subsequent decades.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
In this antidote to sentimental memoirs, Nicholas Lemann manages to mingle nostalgia with bitterness, anger with pride...."Out of the Forties" proceeds like a series of mystery stories...Lemann combines arresting photographs of the 1940s with his own inspired detective work of the 1980s. The photographs are clues; Mr. Lemann's stories become the solutions... The images assault, caress, beckon, haunt. -- The New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560987727
Publisher:
Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication date:
04/17/1998
Edition description:
REISSUE
Pages:
152
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.48(d)

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