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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Entering Germany 1944-1949
By Tony Vaccaro

History has been seen many armies defeated, but never a victory quite so remarkable as the American occupation of Germany. The Marshal Plan saw the United States "win the peace" like no nation before. Not only were the Nazis defeated militarily, they were discredited by the appeal of American culture to the German populace in the post-war years.

Entering Germany 1944-1949 (Tacshen) is a wonderful photographic account of the end of the Third Reich and the beginning of post war occupation/reconstruction. Author Tony Vaccaro was not an official photojournalist, but an actual GI taking photos in his spare time and on his own accord. He processed his films in four army helmets and hung the wet negatives from tree branches to dry.

The resulting images are both beautiful and dreadful. German soldiers and citizens confront the rubble and devastation of a brutal world war, while American GIs returned to a homeland that was unscathed. Even the everyday banality of occupation life is captured poignantly.

Mr. Vaccaro has a participant's relationship to the things he photographed. There is no bird's eye view or abstracted distance. His perspective is authentic and intimate; a gifted eye recording the remarkable events around him. This book is an exquisite labor of love. We owe Tony Vaccaro a great debt not only for his perspective, but also for his initiative and ingenuity in recording these images. The result is a sweeping collection of photographs that are historically important, very personal, and rich in artistic nuances.

—Soren McCarby

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