Cover image for Don McCullin
Don McCullin
McCullin, Don, 1935-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Jonathan Cape, 2001.
Physical Description:
295 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 31 cm
Personal Subject:
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR820 .M32 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



This is the definitive retrospective of the work of Don McCullin, one of the greatest British photographers and arguably the greatest photographer of conflict in the second half of the twentieth century.The book begins and ends in the Somerset landscape that surrounds McCullin's home. These pictures provide a dark view of a mythical England rolling out beneath Glastonbury Tor. From the earliest pictures that he made in Finsbury Park in the fifties, through the building of the Berlin Wall, the sequence reaches a climax among the cannibals and tribespeople in the deep jungles of Irian Jaya. Along the way McCullin shows us a ravaged northern Britain, wars in Cyprus, Biafra, Vietnam, Cambodia and Beirut, as well as riots in Derry and famine and disease in Bangladesh. All are photographed with unswerving compassion. As resonant as Goya's most terrifying images, collectively McCullin's photographs constitute one of the great documents of human conflict.

Author Notes

Don McCullin grew up in north London. He worked for the Sunday Times for eighteen years and covered every major conflict in his adult lifetime until the Falklands War. The finest British photojournalist of his generation, he has received many honours and awards including the CBE. He lives in Somerset.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Few photographers have produced images of war and its ravages as profoundly horrifying, pitiful, and scary as McCullin's; to be assured of that, look at the face of the shell-shocked marine in Vietnam on this book's jacket. McCullin's early work, depicting working-class London, the gang he hung with, the city's homeless, and passionate political demonstrations, is as good as the similar photos of his countryman Roger Mayne (see "Cities as They Were" [BKL Ja 1 & 15 02]), though altogether grimmer. His black-and-white portraits of the Stone Age people of Indonesia's hinterlands make their color counterparts in such magazines as National Geographic seem glib and touristy. His landscapes of deserted rural Britain under lowering clouds, printed so dark that they look wintry even when leaves can be seen on the trees, constitute a single-artist revival of the mood-drenched, prophetic representation of nature in nineteenth-century romantic paintings, though McCullin's photographs betray neither the optimism of manifest destiny that lights Albert Bierstadt's immense canvases nor the Christian faith that animates those of Caspar David Friedrich. They are so powerfully humane, however, that they beg appreciation in terms of their artistry. By means of McCullin's trademark dusky printing, dramatic composition, and sympathetic angle of vision--notice that McCullin looks dead level or slightly upward far more often than down--they express intimate fellow feeling and even identification. --Ray Olson

Library Journal Review

McCullin is a gifted and relentless photographer with an unlimited empathy for human beings facing hardship. Page by page, he shows us workers, drafted soldiers, and Third World people mired in constant struggle. There is no joy in this book, just the recording of hard lives carried out in silent dignity. McCullin, who provided front-line images for the Sunday Times Magazine from 1966 to 1984, presents this impressive retrospective in chronological order, covering the last four decades of the 20th century. Working in black and white, he shows us wars in Cyprus, Vietnam, Beirut, and Congo. In northern England, he shows the battles between people and their environment, a sooty mess of slag and clouds. In Bangladesh, Biafra, and India, he gives us the visual truth of famine. His most shocking and memorable photos are of corpses people frozen in hideous screams and postures. Harold Evans wrote the respectful introduction, and McCullin's life is noted in a sequence of biographical notes. Susan Sontag, ever probing the intellectual basis of photography, offers an essay on this photographic artist's moving work. Recommended. David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

McCullin, born in London in 1935, had his first photographs published in 1959. Since then, he has become one of the most respected photojournalists. His compelling, compassionate photographs of international conflicts set a high standard, and 12 books of his photographs were published between 1971 and 1991, including an autobiography Unreasonable Behavior (1990). This quarto-size volume with some 200 very fine reproductions is the broadest overview yet of his career. It is divided into 13 sections that relate to the major bodies of his work; e.g., photographs made in Vietnam, Cyprus, Biafra, Derry, Bangladesh, and Beirut. McCullin's pictures are merciless in their confrontation with the bloody reality of human struggle, but they are not simply moments glimpsed. They are carefully crafted compositions that he and others have likened to Goya's most terrifying imagery. There are two brief texts: one by Harold Evans, former editor of London's Sunday Times and The Times, two papers closely identified with McCullin's work; a second by critic Susan Sontag is an impassioned commentary on the nature of photojournalism, its ethical and moral status, and its place in contemporary mass media. Biographical chronology. Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through professionals. P. C. Bunnell Princeton University