They Called it “Purple Heart Valley”-A Combat Chronicle of the War in Italy by Margaret Bourke-White
An excerpt from The New York Times review by Foster Hailey, November 26, 1944:
“Reading Miss White’s remarkable book and looking at her even more remarkable photographs, many of them taken under fire, you know that all the American men and boys, in Italy, in France, in India, China, Burma and the many Pacific islands, have what it takes to defeat their country’s enemies. That’s why they’re winning the war.
“Margaret Bourke-White’s photographic-written record of the weeks she spent slogging through the mud, riding a Jeep up and down Highway 6, climbing mountain peaks in the dark with her heavy equipment to get just the right place and the right light to shoot her pictures, photographing the quick, the dead and the dying in gun emplacements. front-line foxhole, emergency dressing station and rear-base hospital, is one of the best and most remarkable books to come out of the war. The author prefers to be known perhaps as a photographer; but this book qualifies her as a first-rate reporter, in command of a lean, hard prose that is the only true medium of description for the ordered insanity of war…
“…Although the most exciting photographs and the best reading are of battle. Miss Bourke-White gives the whole picture. She tells of the misery of the Italian civilians behind the lines; the black market through which some Italians fleeced other Italians; the bungling of the American Military Government, which (by a confession to her, she said, of one of its high officials) was more interested in how the United States would react to what it was doing than of getting a disagreeable job done quietly and efficiently.”
From Foreign Affairs: Reviewed By Robert Gale Woolbert July 1945
In this intimate, first-hand description of the Cassino campaign in Italy the author has accompanied her usual superb photography with exciting text.
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