The Soiling of Old Glory by Louis P. Masur
The Story of a Photograph That Shocked America

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Synopsis

Boston, April 5, 1976. As the city simmered with racial tension over forced school busing, newsman Stanley Forman photographed a white protester outside City Hall assaulting an African American attorney with the American flag. The photo shocked Boston, made front pages across the U.S. and won a Pulitzer Prize. Acclaimed historian Louis P. Masur has done extensive research, including personal interviews with those involved, to reveal the unknown story of what really happened that day and afterward. This evocative "biography of a photograph" unpacks this arresting image to trace the lives of the men who intersected at that moment, to examine the power of photography and the meaning of the flag, and to reveal how a single picture helped change race relations in Boston and America. The Soiling of Old Glory, like the photograph itself, offers a dramatic window onto the turbulence of the 1970s and race relations in America.
 

About Louis P. Masur

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Louis Masur, a professor of history at the City University of New York and the editor of Reviews in American History, is the author of Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865
 
Published August 1, 2010 by Bloomsbury USA. 244 pages
Genres: History, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Soiling of Old Glory

Kirkus Reviews

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The history behind the 1976 Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph of an enraged white man lunging to spear a black man with a pole holding the American flag.

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Publishers Weekly

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Historian Masur (1831: Year of Eclipse ) has written a gem of a book based on an iconic, Pulitzer Prize–winning photograph by Stanley Forman.

Dec 03 2007 | Read Full Review of The Soiling of Old Glory: The...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

He reveals the photograph's telling distortions -- the assailant was swinging the flag, not aiming it at Landsmark, and the man who appears to be restraining Landsmark was in fact helping him to his feet -- while contending that the nationally-circulated image ultimately brought about "progress a...

Mar 31 2008 | Read Full Review of The Soiling of Old Glory: The...

Newsday

One of his pictures showed a white teenager from South Boston - Joseph Rakes - trying to spear Landsmark with an American flag.

May 03 2008 | Read Full Review of The Soiling of Old Glory: The...

London Review of Books

In many respects, however, Rakes’s act was one of the last, desperate expressions of the anti-busing movement, which quickly faded in the late 1970s and 1980s, as whites withdrew their children from ostensibly integrated schools and moved to the suburbs, which, especially after Milliken, were per...

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Bookmarks Magazine

Boston, April 5, 1976: As the city simmered with racial tension over forced school busing, newsman Stanley Forman hurried to City Hall to photograph that day’s protest, arriving just in time to snap the image that his editor would title “The Soiling of Old Glory.” The photo made headlines across ...

Apr 10 2008 | Read Full Review of The Soiling of Old Glory: The...

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