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World War II Memorial: Jewel of the Mall

Published : 2005-03-15

Stephen R. Brown published his World War II Memorial photo book a full three years ago this month, but it somehow never ended up on the Traveler’s Fireside Read list. It’s high time to fix that, so let’s just dispense with the “better late than never” weasel-speak and get on with it.

Stephen Brown is a photo hound and wordsmith with a resume spanning a quarter-century. His professional peers consider him a true master of his craft, and you’ll get no argument from anyone who’s seen his work on the covers or inside National Geographic books, Smithsonian, Life, Fortune, Time, Newsweek, American Photo, the New York Times, and other A-list publications.

When Mr. Brown decided to do a photo book on the World War II Memorial, something very special was sure to result. He even got access to the memorial while construction was underway. The end product, World War II Memorial: Jewel of the Mall, is a full-color photo book with an introduction by former U.S. Senator Bob Dole followed by 75 pages of panoramic views and close-ups plus 15 pages of photos that document the creation and installation of the sculptures, marble ornamentation, and accouterments.

This is a powerful book. It will please your eye and bring your patriotic juices to boil. One caveat: If you have fancied yourself a fair photographer, paging through this book may make you want to take your camera out of the case and throw it away.

I’m not sure how many photo books of the World War II Memorial you think you need, but if you can only get one, this should be it. There are copies for sale at the Smithsonian Museum bookstores and at several other places on or close to the National Mall, including the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. (You can’t buy it at the World War II Memorial, since nothing is sold there.)

You’ll pay 25 bucks plus postage and handling if you order a copy from the author. Mr. Brown will sign copies on request, and he’ll even personalize them for you if you want to gift veterans or other special someones. If you’re too darn thrifty to buy a copy, you’re not completely out of the picture (is there a pun in there?). The same website that offers the book for sale offers large format previews of the photos free of charge.

Veterans get a break, too. Mr. Brown sells the book at cost to the Honor Flight Network, the fundraising NGO that enables hundreds of WW II veterans to travel to DC to see the memorial built in their honor.

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