Picks and Pans Review: Nicaragua

UPDATED 07/06/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/06/1981 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Susan Meiselas

Not that we really need much evidence these days, but these photography books are grim reminders of how often the world can be a violent, ugly place. McCullin, 45, a veteran English photographer, has made a career of taking pictures of people at war, from Cyprus, Ireland and Israel to the Congo, Biafra and Vietnam. The pictures in his book (Knopf, $25 hardcover, $12.95 paper) reflect 14 years of working in such places. Meiselas, 33, was an experienced photographer when she went to Nicaragua in 1978, almost on a whim, but the civil war there brought out a new perception, demonstrated chillingly in her book (Pantheon, $22.95 hardcover, $11.95 paper). Meiselas, wounded by shrapnel in El Salvador last January, seems oversympathetic to the boyish Nicaraguan guerrilla fighters who won their revolution. But both she and McCullin avoid glamorizing their subjects. These are real wars, sources of terror, pain and death—nothing more, nothing less.

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