Picks and Pans Review: Moments: the Pulitzer Prize Photographs

updated 02/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/14/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

edited by Sheryle and John Leekley

There are few Americans' memories in which such images as these are not indelibly burned: the flag raising at Iwo Jima (the 1945 winner), Adlai Stevenson's holey shoe (1953), John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower walking together at Camp David (1962), Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald (1964), Coretta Scott King at her husband's funeral (1969), a naked Vietnamese girl running in terror from a napalm raid (1973), the shooting of President Reagan (1982). Massed together as they are here, they imply that the 40 years since the Pulitzer Prize for Photography was first given have been filled with war, murder and anguish. That's an exaggeration, of course, even if it's not as great a one as we might wish, but these photographs do represent a historical document. The Leekleys (he wrote the novel and the TV miniseries The Blue and The Gray) lean a little to the melodramatic in their text: Of Babe Ruth's retirement (1949's winning picture) they write, "Eyes are misty and throats thick as fans get a last chance to cheer him on. In two months, he will pass away, but the legend lives still." The stories behind the photographs are often fascinating, though; AP's Paul Vathis took the pensive Kennedy-Eisenhower shot almost as an afterthought, for instance. Technical photographic data are provided as well. (Crown, $25)

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