By Marc Aronson
Henry Holt and Co, 294 pages, Young Adult Nonfiction
Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were young Jewish refugees, idealistic and in love. As photographers in the 1930s, they set off to capture their generation's most important struggle--the fight against Fascism. Among the first to depict modern warfare, Capa, Taro, and their friend Chim took powerful photographs of the Spanish Civil War that went straight from the action to news magazines. They brought a human face to war with their iconic shots of people driven from their homes by bombs, guns, and planes. Today, our screens are flooded with images from around the world. But Capa and Taro were pioneers, bringing home the crises and dramas of their time--and helping give birth to the idea of bearing witness through technology.
The story of Robert Capa and Gerda Taro is somewhat romantic since it’s the story of two young lovers, but this is mostly the story of the birth of photojournalism and the events leading up to World War II. While the market is not lacking in World War II era nonfiction, this different perspective brought up events that I probably learned in high school, but had completely forgotten about. I ended up doing a few Internet deep dives to learn more about some of the surrounding events because I was so interested in the time period. The book is a little unwieldy since it’s a little larger than normal, and printed on heavy high quality paper, but every page contains at least one of Capa, Taro, or Chim’s photos illustrating the topic covered on the page, and the book is very well-written. I highly recommend this book, and am glad to say that this book was a finalist in this year’s Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) award for Excellence in Nonfiction.