Wednesday, September 5, 2012

by Lawrence Verria & George Galdorisi 

It's a photo that has become iconic. For millions of people it signified the end of World War II when Japan finally surrendered. On V-J Day, August 14, 1945, a photographer by the name of Alfred Eisenstaedt (Eisie) was in Times Square with his Leica 35 mm camera draped around his neck. Whenever Eisenstaedt took pictures, nothing was ever planned, staged, nor posed. He was on assignment for LIFE magazine wanting to capture the emotions of that moment. There were many opportunities. While Eisie was in the crowd, an American sailor saw a nurse in white, walked up to her, grabbed her and kissed her passionately while his own girlfriend looked on. Eisie snapped four pictures never knowing their names. For sixty-three years the photo went untitled. In 2008 it was finally called V-J Day, 1945, Times Square. But nobody ever knew who these people were. The unidentified sailor and nurse never saw the photo until 1980. That year LIFE attempted to determine their identity and they were inundated with hundreds of claimants. It became a circus.
Intrigued for years by all of the events, authors Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi decide to dig in themselves sifting through tons of misinformation and evidence. They finally solved the mystery with verifiable proof.
This is a great tale. You wouldn't think that you could get so much information just from a photo, but that's exactly what you get with The Kissing Sailor. It's a well-written detective story. Even though the book is small, it's jam-packed with incredible details. If you're a history buff, then you'll love it.
A terrific read.