Photographs: More Than 1,000 Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps it’s a little cliché, but it is true. These last few weeks I’ve introduced some of my favorite primary sources from the European Theater of World War II. Today, I’d like to talk about a picture book.

There are lots of photo books featuring pictures from World War II. I have several that are favorites, but the one I’m recommending today is all about D-Day. You can read the accounts, the primary sources, but sometimes you just have to see the photos. The grim determination in a soldier’s eyes is sometimes more informative than a whole diary of words.

D-Day: The Invasion In Photographs, edited by Tony Hall

Published for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, this book has large photos and minimal text – mostly just good captions to explain the pictures. It has photos from the days of preparations, the invasion fleet, paratroopers, and from the beach-heads Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Most pictures were taken during the action or just after the fighting stopped or lulled.

The book might be a little challenging to find in libraries, but it’s available through used book sales on Amazon. Definitely worth the investment if you are interested in the World War II and D-Day.

Excerpts From The Book

Here are a few photos:

Troop Transports (pre-invasion)

Troop Transports (pre-invasion)

Paratrooper boarding a plane

Paratrooper boarding a plane

8th Infantry, Utah Beach

8th Infantry, Utah Beach

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach

Juno Beach

Juno Beach

French children watching Allied soldiers

French children watching Allied soldiers

Why YOU Should See/Read This Book

Why invest time (or money) in a photo book? After-all, it takes just a few minutes to page through and read all the captions. I like photo books because it’s a way to see history. I like photo books because we’re forced to slow down and really study the images to learn the lessons.

If you’re looking at D-Day: The Invasion In Photographs (or any other historic photographs), take a moment and really look at the pictures. What details do you notice? What emotions? What challenges can you see in the photo? What was really happening when that image was literally captured for future generations to see.

Good photo books are a must for studying history. (Yes, I’m talking about eras when photography existed.) Take time to really study, appreciate, and wonder about the pictures that have survived. They tell a story…in their own way.

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

P.S. Do you have a favorite book of historical photos? (It doesn’t have to be World War II era.)


About Sarah Kay Bierle

I’m Sarah Kay Bierle, historian, editor, and historical fiction writer. When sharing history, I try to keep the facts interesting and understandable. History is about real people, real actions, real effects and it should inspire us today.
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2 Responses to Photographs: More Than 1,000 Words

  1. Jim Hodges says:

    When I was a kid I LOVED looking at picture books, and would also peruse encyclopedia and would basically only read the captions of pictures. I agree, these are a great way to introduce yourself to more history than you can get just reading text. Great post!

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