Bill Brandt's life is a mystery. His work struck at the heart of what was 'English', from the publication of his first book The English at Home in the thirties to his later famous landscapes. He died in London in 1983, still holding to the claim that he was from South London. In fact he was born in 1904 in Hamburg. This, the only biography, is published on the centenary of his birth. In many respects he was a mid-century mid-European. He was sent from a strict German school to a sanatorium in Davos, suffering from TB. He first studied photography in Vienna, where he photographed Ezra Pound and where he became interested in psychoanalysis. He travelled in Spain during the Civil War years. He became Man Ray's assistant for a brief period in Paris, where he adsorbed surrealism. He moved to England in the thirties and worked as a great documentary photographer for the emerging picture magazines such as Picture Post. On assignment to the Gorbals, he made the Glasgow streets look like scenes from de Chirico. His nudes, mostly on a beach in Normandy, were masterpieces, his portraits covered the celebrated of his generation as well as figures from all strata of English society and his landscapes were sublime. He was an inspiration for a later generation including the photographer Don McCullin. Brandt's England was not so much a reality he recorded, as a phantasm he constructed. Delany's biography explores the fantasy and its roots. It is accompanied by many of the great Brandt works, integrated throughout and reproduced in duotone full-page.