They Drew Fire
Combat Artists of WWII

  • Publisher: TV Books LLC
  • Publication: 2000
  • Size: 8.75 x 11.2 inches
  • 192 pages
  • ISBN-13: 9781575000855
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About the book

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor shocked the United States out of its comfortable isolationism, many artists, like most citizens, sought ways to contribute to the war effort. Some of America’s best young artists had already been drafted into the Army while others were mobilized to enlist, and small soldier art programs soon flourished in boot camps around the country.

Inspired by the success of a small team of civilian artists sent to observe and paint in World War I, the Army began sending artists into active theaters of war to record their experiences. Throughout the war, more than one hundred combat artists from all branches of the Armed Services chronicled the war using all mediums of art. The result of their efforts is a rich, compelling collection of more than 12,000 paintings, drawings, and sketches. Hidden in collections deep within the walls of military archives, much of this art created during WWII was never seen by the public.

In this groundbreaking book, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Lanker and documentary producer Nicole Newnham lift the veil on this forgotten chapter in American history. Based on the work developed for a public television documentary, They Drew Fire: The Combat Artists of World War II examines the art programs sponsored by the Army, Navy, and Marines, as well as civilian art programs sponsored by organizations such as Abbott Laboratories and Life magazine.

With magnificent color and black-and-white art throughout, the book showcases the lives and work of seven artists in the various programs, and through pictorial essays highlight the work of over forty more. The varieties of experience they chronicled provide a stunning record of life in the trenches, on the front lines, and behind the scenes.

This unforgettable volume is a powerful expression of life during wartime and a lasting testament to a group of true American heroes.