Reading American Photographs

Images As History-Mathew Brady to Walker Evans

Alan Trachtenberg

Hill and Wang

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Winner of the Charles C. Eldredge Prize

In this book, Alan Trachtenberg reinterprets some of America's most significant photographs, presenting them not as static images but rather as rich cultural texts suffused with meaning and historical content. Reading American Photographs is lavishly illustrated with the work of such luminaries as Mathew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Walker Evans--pictures that document the American experience from 1839 to 1938. In an outstanding analysis, Trachtenberg eloquently articulates how the art of photography has both followed and shaped the course of American history, and how images captured decades ago provocatively illuminate the present.

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Reviews

Praise for Reading American Photographs

"Brilliantly elucidates how an informed cultural historian sees and interprets American images through the camera's eye."--Daniel Aaron, Harvard

"Alan Trachtenberg's Reading American Photographs gives fresh and fascinating insights into the household names of phototgraphic history."--Cornell Capa

"A splendid book [written with] learning and intellectual passion . . . thoroughly gratifying."--Alfred Kazin

"This is a must read for those interested in culture and politics. He brilliantly interprets the past for thepresent."--Wanda M. Corn, Standford University

"As Mr. Trachtenberg concludes, 'It is not so much a new but a clarifying light American photographs shed upon American relaity.' That light, as he has richly demonstrated, now illuminates our past in inescapable and powerful ways."--Williams S. McFeely, The New York Times

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About the Author

Alan Trachtenberg

Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray, Jr., Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University, is the author of The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age.

Alan Trachtenberg

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Available Formats and Book Details

Reading American Photographs
Images As History-Mathew Brady to Walker Evans
Alan Trachtenberg

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
November 1990
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374522490
ISBN10: 0374522499
9 1/4 x 6 1/4 inches, 336 pages, Includes photographs throughout, notes, and an index
$19.00
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Hill and Wang

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