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Uses and abuses of iconic images

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In the current edition of the American Interest, reviewer James Rosen delivers a positive assessment of Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites’ recent book, No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy. Praising the book for its thorough treatment of nine case studies involving some of the most influential images of the twentieth century, Rosen writes:

[No Caption Needed] is a penetrating and provocative analysis of the way certain popular photographs, whether produced by professionals or amateurs, acquire the power to change public policy and with it the course of history.… The author’s analytical achievement is enabled by an extraordinary feat of research and reporting. They have unearthed hidden facts, from both the backstory and the aftermath, surrounding each of their nine chosen photographs.…
[But] almost as compelling… are the stories of their subsequent appropriation. No Caption Needed details the uses and abuses of these nine iconic photographs by propagandists and peddlers of all kinds, with results that prove alternately haunting, playful, predictable, mercenary, dishonest and sometimes just plain twisted.…

Pick up a copy of the American Interest to read the rest of the review.
Also see the authors’ No Caption Needed blog and read an excerpt from the book.