War Shots: Norm Hatch and the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Cameramen of World War II

Overview

They shot some of the most iconic footage of World War II while risking their lives, yet the stories—and sheer guts—of the U.S. Marine Corps combat cameramen have been overshadowed by the heroism of the men with the rifles. War Shots brings these photographers into sharp focus through the career of Norm Hatch, a true American character whose skill with a camera and knack for being in the right place at the right time thrust him to the fore of the effort to record the Marines at ...

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War Shots: Norm Hatch and the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Cameramen of World War II

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Overview

They shot some of the most iconic footage of World War II while risking their lives, yet the stories—and sheer guts—of the U.S. Marine Corps combat cameramen have been overshadowed by the heroism of the men with the rifles. War Shots brings these photographers into sharp focus through the career of Norm Hatch, a true American character whose skill with a camera and knack for being in the right place at the right time thrust him to the fore of the effort to record the Marines at war in the Pacific.

After a Depression boyhood during which he crossed paths with the likes of Al Capone and Johnny Weissmuller, Norm Hatch joined the Marine Corps in 1939. A string of postings took him from boot camp at Parris Island to Washington, D.C., Franklin Roosevelt's retreat in Georgia, and eventually The March of Time newsreel series, where he honed the filmmaking skills that would serve him well throughout the war.

When American forces invaded Tarawa in November 1943, Hatch and his fellow Marine cameramen piled into landing craft and, with men falling all around them, waded ashore to film the savage three-day battle with the Japanese. Sent back to the United States, Hatch's footage—so disturbing that it needed Roosevelt's permission to be released—ended up in newsreels and then in the film With the Marines at Tarawa, which later won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.

In February 1945, Hatch led a camera unit onto Iwo Jima, where Marines waged a brutal campaign for control of the island and gained enduring fame for raising the flag over Mount Suribachi. The motion pictures Hatch's cameramen shot became another documentary, To the Shores of Iwo Jima. Hatch ended the war in the ruins of Nagasaki, where he and his team documented the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

Full of pulse-pounding accounts of combat and lively behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Hollywood and Washington, War Shots zooms in on Norm Hatch and the Marine combat cameramen of World War II, spotlighting their courage under fire—and behind the lens.

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Editorial Reviews

Naval History
"Jones's telling of the bureaucratic maze Hatch navigated to gather equipment, supplies, and work space is as fascinating as his combat descriptions."
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
"Norman Hatch is a living legend."
Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Jones brings Hatch's story — and that of the Greatest Generation — to life in War Shots."
Marine Corps Gazette
"Jones's writing style is exceptionally clear, informative, and well researched. War Shots is a rewarding read."
Leatherneck
"Jones is sensitive to how Marines think and understands their esprit de corps and the full meaning of the Marine Corps motto: Semper Fidelis."
Living History
"War Shots may well emerge as one of the most definitive histories of military photography at war and the men behind the cameras who risked their lives to make sure the American public knew what was going on."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811706315
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books
  • Publication date: 12/18/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Jones, a former staff writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has also written Boys of '67 (978-0-8117-3394-6), which the New York Post called "riveting and entertaining" and which won the Military Writers Society of America's Gold Medal for Best Biography, and Red, White, or Yellow? (978-0-8117-0402-1), for which he embedded with a military unit in Iraq. Jones lives in Richmond, Virginia.

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