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There is an interesting saying that goes like this “sometimes you get more than you bargained for“. Let me share an example with you. A few years back, I bought the definitive biography on the Krupp Company from Germany, written by the now deceased author William Manchester. I wanted to read this book for some historical research I am doing. Here is what the front cover of the book looks like.

img174The back cover to the book has a photograph on it (shown below).img173The photograph of the person in question is that of Alfried Krupp, the owner of the Krupp Company on whose watch the company was involved in the heinous crimes committed by the Nazi regime in Germany. Alfried Krupp was convicted as a war criminal during the Nuremberg Trials by the allies. He served some time in prison, and went back into business providing arms for the United States Army fighting in Korea. The book was published in 1968 and has 942 pages. When the book appeared, it caused quite a stir, especially for the bringing to light of unknown historical facts.img176img177No comments about the text on the dust jacket are needed at this point.

Now back to the back cover, opening the book we find the same picture but now in black and white.

img181The picture is by the great photographer Arnold Newman! To me the picture has something very sinister, even creepy about it. When I saw it on the back, for the first time, I felt a tingling up my spine.  I really never bothered to look at the black and white when I started to work my way through this very powerful book. Look at the dedication on the right side by the author (shown below).

img182Fast forward, in 2012 a Princeton University Professor Harold James, felt the need, or was paid to add his, in my opinion perhaps, “revisionist historical view” to this historical work and wrote a book titled Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm  published by the Princeton University Press. At the time, the book was reviewed by a Professor Siegel in an entire 1000 word plus column in the Wall Street Journal. On the occasion of that review, I wrote to Prof. Siegel and received no reply. I requested a review copy from the publisher and here is the letter I received.img184Well this is O.K. You cannot expect the editors to be experts on this topic. Their aim, usually, and the publishers is to publish as many and sell as many copies of the book as possible. The book by William Manchester has some very interesting perspectives, and I do not believe it can be much approved upon.

img183Powerful words selected by Manchester very clearly demonstrate what he thinks.img185By the way, Krupp used Jewish and East European Slave labor, and operated with the German Nazi State dozens and dozens of slave labor camps. About a year later, I bought this interesting photo reference book pictured below.img186img187This fine book long out of print has nothing but interviews with the photographers listed on the covers. Do you wonder as I do, what photographers think about their own work and what they believe their best work is? Coming to the chapter on Arnold Newman, I was shocked,  and now I know why the KRUPP picture on the back of William Manchester’s book bothered the hell out of me. Here is what Newman said and thought. This is also the featured photograph in that chapter!

img190img203What a story! So trust your instincts, when you see a picture. At this point, I have no intention to buy or read the book by Harold James, fearing the truth about slave labor, murder etc. has been reduced from several 100 pages in the Manchester book to just a few in his book. But I do wonder, what the dear professors James and Siegel would say if they had read the words by Arnold Newman.

Coincidence?

Yes, sometimes you get more than you bargained for. It may take a while, but the truth about a picture or book always comes out sooner or later.

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