The provocative question posed by the title of All-American V: Is Love Enough? frames this book’s thematic exploration of human devotion in its many forms. The centerpiece of this year’s volume is a timely photo essay devoted to the US Marine Corp. This chapter, titled “Marines Don’t Hug” includes original portraits by Bruce Weber of Marines preparing for duty on the base at Camp Pendleton. The chapter also includes extensive profiles of Sgt Nick Popaditch, a Marine wounded in Baghdad, and Cpl Jeff Boskovitch, who was killed in action in Iraq this summer.
Devotion to a cause is echoed thematically in “Mississippi Freedom Fighter” a chapter honoring the life and work of civil rights activist Winson Hudson. Her story also highlights the importance of religious faith in the political activism of the 1960s. The significance of religious faith in American culture as a whole runs throughout “The Last Crusade” a career-spanning portrait of Reverend Billy Graham. This chapter presents unique archival photographs from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association, as well as original reportage photos taken by Bruce Weber at Graham’s convention this summer in Flushing Meadow.
An abiding theme in the All-American series is artistic passion, this year exemplified in chapters that celebrate the work of rodeo photographer Louise Serpa, pulp fiction master Mickey Spillane, playwright Tennessee Williams and painter Fairfield Porter. The Louise Serpa chapter “There’s Nothing Like a Dame With a Camera” includes an autobiographical essay of this true American original. “One Tough Guy” Mickey Spillane pairs intimate family portraits by Peter Stackpole and Genevieve Naylor with the author’s own inimitable prose. Unique insights into the life and process of the great American playwright are revealed in a conversation between theatre and film writer Mike Steen and Geraldine Page, an actress known for her interpretations of many great Tennessee Williams roles. And love of family, friends, and art converge in the chapter “Fairfield Porter and Friends” Paintings by the artist are accompanied by original photography, essays, and poetry by Anne Porter, James Schuyler, Frank O’Hara and Rackstraw Downes.
The wonderful complexity of human relationships that characterize the Fairfield Porter chapter are paralleled in a whimsical chapter titled “The Marriage of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.” Comprised entirely of photographs from Henry Grossman’s archives, this chapter shows the original larger-than-life Hollywood super-couple in some of their most tender and down-to-earth moments.
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