An Autobiography
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 Unsparing reminiscences that effectively combine the bittersweet life of a world-class photojournalist with a generous selection of his haunting lifework. A product of one of north London's tougher slums, McCullin came of age during the WW II blitz. Having returned to the old neighborhood and an animation-lab job following a hitch in the RAF (where he acquired an interest in photography), the author sold some shots of local gang members to The Observer. Further assignments resulted, and McCullin was off on a globe-trotting career that over three decades would take him to 120 foreign countries and more than two dozen wars--in Biafra, Cambodia, the Congo, Cyprus, El Salvador, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Vietnam, etc. During the years that he made a name for himself bringing home to newspaper readers the horrific realities of battle for noncombatants as well as front-line troops, the author narrowly escaped death on countless occasions. At once drawn to and repelled by the bloody violence whose heart of darkness he so graphically captured on film, McCullin marches to the beat of a different drummer these days. Leaving little doubt that his focus on the force of arms was as much a matter of circumstance as choice, he notes that somewhere along the line the UK press began covering lifestyles in preference to life. With his brand of stark images in disfavor, the author and his employer of 18 years (London's Sunday Times) parted company during the early 1980's. Meanwhile, McCullin lost his wife to brain cancer, further diminishing his tolerance for death and destruction. Today, the author rattles about a Somerset farmstead, trying to come to terms with a volatile past, restless present, and uncertain future. A genuinely affecting memoir that reckons, without self-pity, the cost and loss involved in making one's way on the cutting edge of conflict. (Ninety-four powerful photographs.)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-679-40646-8
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1991


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