Szarkowski was not a great photographer but he was a renowned curator, and this book reflects the content of an exhibition which was a genuine watershed in the history of photography. I didn't realise until I had had it for a while just how seminal both it and the exhibition were, but put simply, Szarkowski consolidated the view that photography is a democratic medium that does not rely on the efforts of the best. A great picture can come from anywhere and many of the pictures in this collection are from unknown photographers. Pictures speak for themselves and an accidentally brilliant picture can have as resonant a voice as one taken by a Cartier-Bresson, an Atget, a Brandt or anyone else. True, these great photographers made a habit of systematically tuning their perception to capture the "decisive moment", or the composition that told a story in a single image; but that did not give them, their forbears or their successors a monopoly of pictorial virtue. This is a lovely collection, briefly and brilliantly annotated. I would say that anyone who seriously wants to study the history of photography should own this book. And anyone who loves intriguing pictures too.