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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has the power to educate all people of all ages
In the same way an infant is captivated by a human face, so is the receptive reader drawn to the pages of this book, over and over again. In photographs taken around the world, the images remind us of the overwhelming preciousness of our all-too-short lives, the mystery of the universe, and the inherent potential of humankind to choose its own way.
Making us...
Published on 14 July 1999

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The exhibition must have been an eye-opening spectacle to behold ...
The exhibition must have been an eye-opening spectacle to behold when it first opened. This book probably lacks the visual impact simply because some of the images were obviously designed to be seen 6ft high, not 6 inches high. However, the reproduction and quality of this book is outstanding for the price.
Published 5 months ago by Robert Cullen


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has the power to educate all people of all ages, 14 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
In the same way an infant is captivated by a human face, so is the receptive reader drawn to the pages of this book, over and over again. In photographs taken around the world, the images remind us of the overwhelming preciousness of our all-too-short lives, the mystery of the universe, and the inherent potential of humankind to choose its own way.
Making us aware of our responsibility to cherish life, to handle it tenderly and respectfully, for our own sake and for the benefit of our children, is its clear intent.
I discovered this book on my parents' bookshelf at the age of six. It was my introduction to the world, as expressed through the images of others. Thanks to The Family of Man, I began to understand the vastness of the world, in contrast to my own small one.
I saw more in those images with every passing year. The aphorisms from the world's great literature, printed alongside the photographs, became comprehensible to me as I learned to read words as I had been taught by this book to read human faces. I was impressed by our vast differences, and touched and comforted by the common humanity that we share with one another.
The messages contained within this work are timeless and relevent. If I had the power to do so,I would place a copy of this book in every classroom of every grade of all the schools in the world. In my opinion, there is no one of any age for whom this book is not appropriate.
I believe from the beginning we all want to be the best we can be; somehow along the way too many of us lose hope. This book reminds us of the worthiness of the pursuit of the meaning of life. Though as individual members of the global community we may be quite different, we nonetheless see in these pictures the implications of choices made for, and against life--and we are inspired to consider thoughtfully the implications of our everyday thoughts and acts.
This may well be the first and greatest lesson in life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Family of Man is more of an experience than a book., 28 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
When I was a child, I stumbled on this book, The Family of Man. I read it cover to cover. I wondered at the pictures of human interaction I barely understood, such as men and women falling in love. I smiled at the photographs that I recognized myself in; children playing and laughing, even fighting. I grew angry when I saw a girl who looked a lot like me fighting back against a bully that looked remarkably like a boy I had to contend with at school. I cried at the pictures that frightened or saddened me. The first time I saw the picture of the SS soldier making eye contact with the child who was marching with her parents and neighbors to the Nazi death camps, I didn't know the history it was depicting. I was later to learn my own relatives were part of that dark history. The picture made me uneasy. I came back to the book year after year. Each time understanding it more. Each time I brought more life experience to the book, I got more from it. But right from the first I got it's powerful message: we are all part of one family ...the human family. It probably was the book with the most profound influence on my life. I am happily surprised that they are reissuing it and I can now give my children a copy that isn't falling apart from 40 years of being loved too much.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pictures in this book will haunt your dreams., 9 Jun 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
Many years ago, my sister gave me this book. It's the best gift she ever gave me. Through pictures, life is shown at both its best and worst. We follow generations through love, marriage, war, birth, death and all else in between. Occasionally, there are brief, starkly related quotations. I've been drawn back to this book so many times that I feel all of those pictured are my personal friends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a way to see the world, 15 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
The only thing that could be better than this book would be the actual "Family of Man" exhibit. Steichen displays the character and humanity of the world as seen through the lens of some of the most famous (although unknown to the general public) photographers. For the reader\viewer "Family of Man" give a humanistic tour of the world while introducing famous photojournalists. If you enjoy getting new perspectives on life and the world in which we live, this book is a must have. The photographs in this book are stunning and capture the subjects naturally, which adds to the feel you get from each. I liked this book because I found myself looking through it over and over again each time discovering something new. You too may discover something - a new outlook, something new about yourself, or maybe something in a photograph that was overlooked.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant presentation of the human spirit on film, 23 Nov 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
This book details the Family of Man photography exhibit composed of photos that Edward Steichen collected from photographers throughout the world. From the intro by Carl Sandburg (his brother in law), to the photographs of birth, life, death and the emotions and events in between, the book shows true humanity through the eyes of the camera. Featuring works by many famous, but yet unknown photographers, this book is a true treasure. When you glance at its pages you will discover new perspectives, or maybe something inside yourself. This is not a picture book, but a photo biography of the human race. If you are tired of coffee table books that sit unopened, pick up this book a few times and share it with your friends. You will read it again and again, discovering new secrets with every turn of a page.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sine qua non..., 16 Jan 2011
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
Latin words, which should be used most judiciously. An essential book, even THE essential book, not just of photography, but in the sense of any vehicle which conveys the fundamental truths of the human condition. It is one of those rare "life-time" books, that if you are truly blessed, you discover in your youth, and savor and reflect on its images over a lifetime. (as some other reviewers at Amazon have, including this one.)

After the horrors of the Second World War, Edward Steichen was inspired to search through thousands and thousands of photos, and distilled this search into 503 photos, taken in 68 countries, whose theme was the universality of humankind, starting with "when I was just a twinkle in my father's (mother's?) eye, through marriage, birth, childhood, work, joy, family, dance, tragedy, and it ends, coming full circle, in one of the most perfect photos ever made, carefully composed by someone who understood the horrors of war all too well, W. Eugene Smith, who was badly wounded in WW II. It was his very first photo he composed upon recovery, taken as two small children emerge from the woods, walking upwards, into the light.

Equally impressive are the epigraphs that Steichen chose for his collections, ones that have resonated over the years, starting with the "and yes I said yes I will yes" of James Joyce, which led me to Ulysses, to the "If I did not work, these worlds would perish." of the Bhagavad-Gita, the "land is a mother that never dies" of the Maori, and "... I am alone with the beating of my heart..." by Lui Chi, and so many others. And the admonition of Bertrand Russell is as valid today, though far less thought of, than during the days of the Cold War, and it rightly was reserved for an entire page: "... the best authorities are unanimous in saying that war with hydrogen bombs is quite likely to put an end to the human race ... there will be universal death--suddenly only for a fortunate minority. But for the majority a slow torture of disease and disintegration..."

Each of the photos can be observed and appreciated again and again. A few have been popularized in other settings, such as the woman and man hugging, with the train in the background, which was the cover of Richard Ford's "Women with Men." When I was in the Jewish cemetery in Prague, with the heaped and twisted tombstones, I thought of the boy standing in a similar cemetery in France, a sense of bewilderment on his face. There is the wonderful juxtaposition of extended families, one taken in Bechuanaland, the other in the USA. There is a photo of a black American man and woman, she lying on the bed, he sitting, and you just know they are discussing their economic troubles. And all the pictures take by photographers of the Farm Security Administration during the last Depression, each so moving, one of a man turned against the crowd, leaning on a fence, with a cup between his arms. Of all of them though, it is the one by Smith, of the children walking into the light, with a sense of exploration, that I tried to emulate, with my own children, at an old station along the Hijaz Railway, in 1989, alas, far less successfully.

I think one would have to be particularly mean-spirited or obtuse to give this book any less than a 5-star rating, and so far, only one has. As the Sioux Indian epigraph has it: "Behold this and always love it! It is very sacred, and you must treat it as such..."

(Note: Review first published at Amazon, USA, on February 19, 2009)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Family of Man, 26 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
A good souvenir (or taster) of one of the great photography exhibitions. The book follows the order of hanging and although some of the images are more effective at exhibition size the message remains potent. Message? all men and societies have practices and rituals in common for dealing with life and death. The "play" section makes the point clearly. I was particularly pleased to see so many names unknown to me among the photographers - proof that you don't have to be an Adams or Cartier Bresson or Lange (all represented) to make a valid and valuable contribution. The softback book is aimed I fancy at the souvenir market rather than the double varnished art collectors edition but its unpretentiousness is part of its appeal for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A catalogue of the iconic exhibition for very little money, 14 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
An inexpensive way of travelling in time back to 1955 to see this iconic exhibition. I'd have expected more text and explanations, not just photos. There is precious little text except the two introductions by Edward Steichen and Carl Sandburg, but most of the 503 photos speak for themselves. The captions only give the country where the photo was taken, the photographer's name and his organisation (if any). Good reference source for very little money. I heard that the exhibition has been re-created somewhere in Luxembourg and can be visited, but I am yet to find a link to it. The book is much cheaper though...
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3.0 out of 5 stars The exhibition must have been an eye-opening spectacle to behold ..., 7 July 2014
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This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
The exhibition must have been an eye-opening spectacle to behold when it first opened. This book probably lacks the visual impact simply because some of the images were obviously designed to be seen 6ft high, not 6 inches high. However, the reproduction and quality of this book is outstanding for the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 18 May 2014
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This review is from: The Family of Man (Paperback)
The MOMA exhibition is one of the most famous in photography. This is the book of the exhibition. I'd say it was essential reading for anyone with an anyway serious interest in photography.
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The Family of Man by Carl Sandburg (Paperback - 27 Aug 1996)
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