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Blood and Champagne: The Life and Times of Robert Capa

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  332 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Robert Capa was arguably the finest photojournalist of the twentieth century and without doubt its greatest combat photographer-he covered every major conflict from the Spanish Civil War to the beginnings of Vietnam. An inveterate gambler who coined the dictum "if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough," Capa risked his life again and again, most ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 25th 2003 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2002)
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Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Las cinco estrellas no son por Capa. No solo por él, que no deja de ser un personaje del que sabes lo que te cuentan otros y lo que te muestran sus fotografías. Las cinco estrellas son por el ingente trabajo que ha desarrollado Alex Kershaw. No solo desgrana la vida de Capa. También hace un recorrido por la historia y la vida de aquellos que coincidieron con Capa tal y como dice el título.
Es fascinante, se lee como una novela, es dinámica y didáctica.
Por eso no le escatimo ni una estrella.
Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Intelligent and entertaining biography with sources clearly quoted of the photojournalist Robert Capa: a man who knew how he wanted to live his life (not living in suburbia with wife & 3 kids - good for him).
I don't like Robert Capa. For many years I couldn't even remember his first name, I could have sworn his name was Albert Capa. Besdies his politics, which are frustratingly contradictory, his is the kind of personality I cannot stand. He is an actor, he is a cheat, he is a lie. But people accept him because of his charm. He's funny, he has an accent, he's crazy. I don't like it when people can get by on a thin-skinned charm without the integrity many other people struggle with their whole lives. ...more
Ally Armistead
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A truly amazing biography of the photojournalist, Robert Capa. The research, the interviews, the testimonies were all impressive, and provided a satisfying look at a legend.

Having known little else about Capa before reading this book, I was stunned to learn that he was Hungarian, that his real name was Andre Friedman ("Robert Capa" was the name he invented). Similarly I was fascinated to discover his friendship and falling out with Ernest Hemingway, his work with John Steinbeck (who,
Monique Gerke
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Biografia fantástica e muito bem escrita do lendário fotojornalista Robert Capa;
Sobre o biógrafo Alex Kershaw, merece cinco estrelas pela qualidade da escrita. Leitura muito fluída e prazerosa;
Sobre o biografado, literalmente um homem que se reinventou, de André Friedmann - um judeu húngaro - a Robert Capa, fotojornalista de mais de quatro guerras, sendo reconhecido como o maior fotógrafo de guerras . Sem dúvida, personalidade marcante, e por vezes contraditória; Um tipo de sujeito, que na
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
An account of one of the first war photographers. The writing was decent, but the construction of the book annoyed me both with bottom-page notations and the manner of footnoting. Kershaw obviously had to make some assumptions because so much of Capa's life was invented, but he told us when he was doing so. Some writers don't. No matter how much he charmed the women, Capa was obviously a man's man. I just didn't find him particularly worthy of a biography.
Joshua Mowll
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a great one for biographies, but this is certainly worth reading. Capa's life story is never boring and his extraordinary photographs of the mid-20th century are a testament to this. I have a hefty coffee table book of his photographs which I found myself looking through as an excellent accompaniment to this. You'll probably want to do the same.
Stéphanie Amesse
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Well-researched and comprehensive, but could have used an editor. The writing might be politely described as chaotic.
Jun 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
All I knew about Capa was that he took the famous photo "Falling Soldier," that he took nine photos of the D-Day landing, and that he carried on with Ingrid Bergman. Kershaw's biography addresses these three issues in much greater complexity as well as many other topics of which I was wholly unaware. Kershaw has a real grasp of his subject; the narrative is controlled and moves well. (Plus, with a title like this, the book has to be terrific.) Recommended.
Rafal Zielinski
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best reads ever.
Matti Karjalainen
Alex Kershawin "Sotaa ja samppanjaa : Robert Capan elämä" (Otava, 2003) on kiinnostava läpileikkaus 1900-luvun kenties tunnetuimman valokuvaajan elämäntarinaan.

Robert Capa eli elämän, joka olisi sopinut aivan yhtä hyvin kaunokirjallisen teoksen sivuille. Jos Capaa ei olisi ollut olemassa, olisi joku epäilemättä keksinyt hänet - tai oikeammin, jos Capa ei olisi keksinyt itseään, olisi jonkun muun pitänyt keksiä hänet!

Robert Capaa ei nimittäin ollut alun perin olemassakaan. Oli vain Andre
Nov 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, alex-kershaw
A pretty good read for someone that you sort of cheered for, but then found him spiraling out of control with women, gambling, drinking and kind of giving up on life. I am a big fan of the author and finally had a chance of reading this book, which was one of his first books. I can see how some of his notes from this book were able to go into books like the Liberator, The Bedford Boys(awesome book) and possibly the interest of doing The Envoy (great book also).

But the biography had some great
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
For a book on a world famous photojournalist, it ain't half missing decent photos! Capa's life plays out like a quintessential Hollywood adventurer, bouncing from assignment to assignment, downing cocktails with literary greats one minute and chatting up Ingrid Bergman the next. Could have used more interiority as the poor man unravelled from his perpetual case of ptsd, and I found the ending pretty abrupt. Indiana Jones with a viewfinder. Banged through it in a week or two.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book paints a vivid portrait of the esteemed war photographer and founder of Magnum, Robert Capa. Having previously read Slightly Out of Focus, Capa's memoir covering the D-Day landings and WWII experiences, this book paints a full picture of Capa's life and completes the story of a truly fascinating man who lived life to the fullest.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Capa miał już przygotowaną piersiówkę z koniakiem i termos z mrożoną herbatą. 'To będzie piękny materiał - powiedział. - Obiecuję wzorowe zachowanie. Nie będę ubliżał kolegom po fachu i ani razu nie wspomnę, jak doskonałe robię zdjęcia.'"
May 02, 2010 is currently reading it
Plowing through this- easy to read, suffers greatly from the lack of photos. The author couldn't obtain rights to use the Capa photographs, but this is an excellent companion piece to his body of work.
Ernesto Friedman
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Curiosa vida: fotografia, o perigo das guerras, bebidas, mulheres, amigos entre gente famosa, jogo... Não é pra todos, mas ele viveu. O livro dá conta de nos mostrar a biografia de Capa.
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
A well-researched accounting of a fascinating life and personality. Perhaps a bit romanticized, but engaging, provoking, and enlightening.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great story with a lot of women, a few cameras and just one focal length.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rupert Owen
An incredible tale of a pioneering photojournalist - it reads like a spy fantasy, only better!
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing,exceptionally thorough book which gives a deep insight into Capas life and the times he lived in.Well- written, addictive and gripping.
Aug 18, 2008 marked it as to-read
Robert Capa was one of the nine Hungarian Jews in the book, The Great Escape.
May 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I'd like to rate this more highly, but editorial errors and an overabundance of flow-spoiling footnotes won't allow it. Call it a 3.5. Maybe a 3.75.

I have read three Capa biographies; this one, Richard Whelan's "official" Robert Capa: A Biography, and Capa's own memoir, Slightly Out of Focus. It's been a long time since I read Whelan, and SOOF is an admittedly embellished self-portrait bordering on fiction, but I think I can reasonably conclude that this book, Bllod and Champagne contains the
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Robert Capa AKA Andre Freidman, the Hungarian Jewish refugee that recreated himself as an American Photographer and international playboy is brilliantly documented in this slim volume.
Capa made his name during the Spanish Civil War, and cemented his reputation during World War II, as the pre-eminent war photographer. Always getting as close to the action as possible, he lived his "civilian" life with equal abandon. Drinking, gambling, and always in the company of the beautiful women who found
Brian Page
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Blood and Champagne: the life and times of Robert Capa is Alex Kershaw’s “warts & all” 2002 biography of Capa. The price Kershaw paid for this unvarnished portrait was being denied rights to print any of Capa’s photographs. This restriction, however, fails to detract from the value and comprehensiveness of the portrait. In my opinion, it may be an advantage in that the focus is clearly Capa, not Capa’s work. I suspect that any reader interested in this bio will be already familiar with Capa’ ...more
Ryan Fohl
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1000-to-read
A good life long biography of a fascinating man. The book is full of quotes from friends. Capa seemed to know everyone and left lasting impressions. I learned from a footnote in this book that Capa’s book “slightly out of focus” was originally to be a screenplay. That explains a lot. His life story is a great way to explore the early twentieth century.

What I learned: Hungary had a protofascist dictator, Admiral Horthy. Admiral of a landlocked country. Capa has a photojournalism award named
Aryo Ceissapratama
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never read a biography before, but this particular book will be my benchmark for future biography that I will stumble upon.

An emotional reading for a prominent figure in war photography and photography in general.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
“‘If your pictures are not good enough, you’re not close enough.’ But with women, getting too close could hurt him one hell of a lot more than the ‘million dollar wound’ GIs had joked about in the war - an injury severe enough to warrant return to the US.”
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating and Eye-Opening!

Wow! What a full and adventurous life that the legendary photojournalist Robert Capa led. It's no wonder his life story was never made into a major motion picture; there would be too many literary and screen personalities that would have to be cast. And as he does with all of his other books, Alex Kershaw tells us the story of this legend without sounding like a textbook. I highly recommend this to everyone!
rated it really liked it
Jul 18, 2011
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Alex Kershaw is the author of the widely acclaimed best sellers The Bedford Boys, The Longest Winter, The Few, The Liberator, and Escape from the Deep, as well as biographies of Jack London, Raoul Wallenberg and Robert Capa. His latest book is The First Wave: The D Day Warriors Who Led The Way to Victory in WWII. He lives in Savannah.