The Nude in Photography by Paul Martineau, Getty Publications '14 in oversized format on glossy stock, $24.95, 112 pages, 88 color illustrations, ASIN #1606062662. Plate list, dozens of color and black and white glossy images, many full-page.
"Born like Venus on the half shell from the centuries-long tradition of the nude in painting," writes author Paul Martineau, "the nude first appeared as subject matter in photography with the introduction of the medium itself, between 1837 and 1840, and has continued as an ever-evolving theme through changing technical developments and cultural mores to the present day."
The scope of Martineau's survey ranges from "the earliest surviving photographs of Greek and Roman sculpture through studies of living nude models for aesthethic or scientific purposes to the burgeoning practice of exploring the human body as pure form."
The identity of the 64 contributing photographers may be surprising to some because of the inclusion of artists better known for their work in other media, such as painters Edgar Degas and Thomas Eakins. Among other contributors are such well-known names as Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Man Ray, and Alfred Steiglitz. And although all the subjects are all naked, relatively few portray openly erotic themes.
Author Paul Martineau is associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the author of Herb Ritts: L.A. Style; Eliot Porter: In the Realm of Nature; Paul Outerbridge: Command Performance, and Still Life in Photography.
Train -- Riding the Rails that Created the Modern World -- from the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief by Tom Zoellner, Viking '14, $27.95, 346 pages, ASIN #0670025283. Index, endnotes, footnotes, unillustrated.
"The Engine was set off at its utmost speed, thirty-five
miles an hour, swifter than a bird flies. You cannot con-
ceive what that sensation of cutting the air was; the
motion as smooth as possible too. I stood up, and with
my bonnet off drank the air before me."
Such was the transformative feeling, expressed by actress Fanny Kemble, of riding the first competitive railroad train in a British race in 1829 (From Getting There: The Epic Struggle Between Road and Rail in the American Century by Stephen B. Goddard, BasicBooks '94).
In Zoellner's impressive new book, he describes riding "from the birthplace of the locomotive in England, crosses the Andes in a rattling coal train, jams with blues musicians across America, ascends to the Tibetan plateau on the world's highest line, speeds across India on its antiquated yet magnificent trains and sips cocktails in the club car with passengers and trainmen along the way."
Actress Fanny Kemble, quoted above, immediately fell head-over-heels in love with the engineer who had designed and operated the British train she rode on. The author doesn't stop there in exploring the link between trains and sex, but also shows how locomotives became living symbols of death, power, and romance as well:
"The gifts of the railroad are everywhere: seasonal food, highway routes, the beat of rock music, huge corporations, mechanistic warfare, pleasant leafy suburbs, the very shapes of our cities, the foundations of cinema, coal-fired electricity, our continental sense of time and space and our connections with people who may live at a distance but still are neighbors."
Author Tom Zoellner has written four previous nonfiction books, including Uranium, winner of the 2011 American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award He teaches English at Chapman University and lives in Los Angeles.
Pacific Payback -- The Carrier Aviators Who Avenged Pearl Harbor at the Battle of Midway by Stephen L. Moore, $26.95, 436 pages, ASIN #0451465520. Index, bibliography, notes, sources, appendix, grouping of b&w glossy images, other b&w images sprinkled through text..
From the dust cover:
"Sunday, December 7, 1941, dawned clear and bright over the Pacific....But for the Dauntless dive-bomber crews of the USS Enterprise returning to their home base on Oahu, it was a morning from hell. Flying directly into the Japanese ambush at Pearl Harbor, they lost a third of their squadron and witnessed the heart of America's Navy broken and smoldering on the oil-slicked waters below.
"The next six months, from Pearl Harbor to the Battle of Midway -- a dark time during which the Japanese scored victory after victory -- this small band of aviators saw almost constant deployment, intense carrier combat, and fearsome casualties. Many were killed by enemy Zero fighters, antiaircraft fire, or deadly crash landings in the Pacific while others were captured and spent years in POW camps.
"Yet the Enterprise's Dauntless crews would be the first to strike an offensive blow against Japanese installations in the Marshall Islands, would be the first to sink a Japanese warship, and would shepherd the Doolittle Raiders' bombing of Tokyo."
Texan Stephen L. Moore graduated from Austin State University in Texas, has authored multiple books on World War II and Texas history and a biography of his great-great-great-grandfather William T. Sadler, one of the first Texas Ranger captains in the 1830s. He, his wife Cindy, and their three children live in Lantana, TX.