Photos That Changed the World: The 20th Century

Photos That Changed the World: The 20th Century

by Peter Stepan, Peter Stepan

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From the series that includes Paintings That Changed the World and Buildings That Changed the World comes Photos That Changed the World: The 20th Century. Editor Peter Stepan (Icons of Photography) has assembled such iconic shots as the execution of a Viet Cong officer in the street at point-blank range, a naked child running from a napalm attack outside of Saigon, one of the Kent State massacre's victims being mourned immediately after being murdered and Martin Luther King delivering the "I Have a Dream" speech. Less familiar will be the burning Reichstag four weeks after Hitler took power, the storming of the St. Petersburg's Winter Palace in October 1917 and an amazing color shot of the leaders of the recent Zapatista rebellion in Mexico. There are 30 color, 100 duotone and 20 b&w illustrations in all; most have a Western bent, but all are important moments in history, as emphasized in accompanying essays. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
DK. 2000. 1023p. photogs. index. ISBN 0-7894-6806-9. $50. PHOTOG Compiling photographs to convey a sense of time and place is not nearly as easy as some might think. Weighing in at ten pounds, America: A Celebration! could fool readers into thinking that it contained every photograph ever shot in America. Instead, it is Sandler's harvest of 19th- and 20th-century photos from the files of Getty Images, an enormous photo library. The ethic behind this bulk seems to be that more is more, and why show less if you can show it all? Though some 19th-century work begins the book, the 20th century quickly takes over. Photographs are clustered by decade. But within each chapter the assembly is random a little landscape here, some celebrities there, popular culture foibles sprinkled in, and a visual chaos throughout. Sandler (American Images) had his book blessed by a fine foreword by Walter Cronkite. But the author's enthusiasm turned into a jumble of pictures rather than a coherent historical portrait of America. Not recommended. LIFE magazine remained true to its purpose of giving readers/viewers their world in weekly visual nuggets since its own life began in 1936. It weathered television for six decades, finally ending as a monthly in May 2000. LIFE: Century of Change is a volume built on 723 photographs from the magazine's rich archives. Suffering lives appear next to riches in this book, so broad it is forced to be shallow, racing across the surface of a century with a well-aimed camera in hand. Less a tool for learning than a snapshot, this is a gift book to spark memories rather than an effort to open up the 20th century for review. Recommended as a book for browsing if budgets allow. In Photos That Changed the World, Stepan (Icons of Photography) gives us 105 images that had the lasting visual power to capture a moment that could be the image of an era held in the instant of a shutter's click for distribution to a generation. Many of the photographs collected around the theme of "changing the world" are familiar. Some were used as propaganda; all are useful as our tie to the events they depict. Sometimes their photographers are anonymous because of fear of reprisals, and many of the images were widely reproduced to build public opinion. The photos are well reproduced and gain from the explanations of time, place, and context included in the excellent short essays that accompany each. Recommended. David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A fascinating and provocative look back...Part photo book, part history lesson, Stepan's compilation invites us to take a closer look at photos that are familiar, such as Dorothea Lang's Depression-era "Migrant Mother," Nelson Mandela's release from prison, and "Execution in Saigon."
Christian Science Monitor

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Product Details

Prestel Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.11(w) x 12.08(h) x 1.06(d)

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