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Witness to Our Time

Paperback (348 pages)
Starting with Alfred Eisenstaedt's early photographs of the crowned heads of Europe and of the rise of Hitler, this book covers decades of US history, from Hollywood in the golden 1930s, to the home front during World War II, including, of course, his iconic Times Square Kiss photo.


Both as a collection of outstanding photographs and for its coverage of famous people and historic events by a single photographer, Eisenstaedt: Witness to Our Time is unique in the history of book publishing. Originally issued in 1966, it was heralded as a major volume of photography, comparable in significance to The Family of Man, in which Alfred Eisenstaedt's work was well represented.

From the late 1920s to 1980, Alfred Eisenstaedt - a staff photographer for Life from its beginning in 1936 - has probably traveled more miles and photographed more people in more places than any other living photographer. Starting with early photographs, of the crowned heads of Europe, of the League of Nations conferences, and of the rise of Hitler, Witness to Our Time covers the depression years in the United States, Hollywood in the golden 1930s, the home front during World War II.

It takes us on a postwar world tour - a defeated Japan, Korea on the eve of the Korean War, Czechoslovakia taken over by the Communists and Italy fighting them off, Kenya and the Mau Mau rebellion, the emergence of independent Africa, and the United Nations' attempt to create an orderly world. It profiles the actors, writers, musicians, statesmen, scientists, and educators who made the history of our time.

Portrayed in the book are more than three hundred famous people, from Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to John F. Kennedy and Golda Meir, from Marlene Dietrich and Charlie Chaplin in 1928 to Mikhail Baryshnikov and Buckminster Fuller in 1979, from Bernard Shaw and Somerset Maugham to Ernest Hemingway and Truman Capote, from Igor Stravinsky to Leonard Bernstein....

The Kiss...

Related Scanning WWII links...

  • 14 Aug 45: The iconic photo is taken in Times Square after news reports that Japan has agreed to surrender cause unbridled celebration.
  • 27 Aug 45: The photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt is published in Life Magazine.
  • 02 Sep 45: Japan formally surrenders, V-J Day is officially declared.

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