Snapdragon: The World War II Exploits of Darby's Ranger and Combat Photographer Phil Stern (Hardcover)
Prior to Phil Stern's death on December 13, 2014, his original, unfinished, tattered manuscript was discovered, stashed away in an old folio box in his cluttered Hollywood bungalow. Although best remembered for his iconic images of James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and JFK's inauguration, his remarkable service during World War II as a combat photographer has remained unknown. Until now.
Stern's catchy 1940s lingo, honest and intimate observations, and humor transport the reader 70 years back in time to experience the key battles of the Mediterranean Theater. With his lens and pen, Stern introduces readers to the hardscrabble Rangers, the desert oases of Morocco and Algeria, and the muddied beaches of Mussolini's Italy. Snapdragon is an artifact of that time, told not by a man reminiscing in his twilight years, but by a young soldier fresh from the battlefields.
Described by Vanity Fair editor David Friend as the “Chronicler of Cool,” American photographer Philip Stern is noted for his iconic portraits of Hollywood stars, as well as his war photography while serving as a U.S. Army Ranger in the much heralded fighting unit “Darby's Rangers,” in the North African and Italian campaigns during World War II. In 2014 Stern was inaugurated into the prestigious U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame for his “service as an original member of the 1st Ranger Battalion and for his lasting contribution to the photographic history of the Rangers in the European Theater during WWII.”
An award-winning journalist with more than 15 years' experience, Liesl Bradner has contributed to respected national publications such as the Los Angeles Times, the New Republic, the Guardian, Truthdig, Variety and WWII Magazine. In addition to Phil Stern, with whom she forged a strong bond, Bradner has interviewed nearly 100 artists, actors, screenwriters, authors, politicians and photographers. In May 2016, she was part of a team of writers at Truthdig that won the 2015 Maggie Award for best regularly featured web column (Book Review). Book projects include Frank Sinatra Has a Cold (Taschen, 2015) and the Writers' Room essay for Matthew Weiner's Mad Men (Taschen, 2016). She lives in Los Angeles.