Every Pulitzer Prize-winning photo is special. But one is so special it was declared a winner almost immediately after it was taken, without having to go through the usual selection process the following year.
That photo, the stirring image of six U.S. Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima, was taken by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in February 1945 and has become one of the most famous images in photography's history.
Rosenthal's photo is among the memorable and historic images in "Moments: The Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photographs'' (Black Dog & Leventhal, $29.98), one of several recent photo books of note.
Back home, the Iwo Jima photo had a huge impact. It buoyed patriotism, and fueled the war's seventh and most successful bond drive. It appeared on a 3-cent stamp, despite postal policy prohibiting images of living people on stamps. And it inspired the creation of the world's largest bronze sculpture, located in Arlington, Va.
In ''Moments,'' author Hal Buell, longtime photo executive with the Associated Press, tells the story behind every Pulitzer photo. They range from Milton Brooks' 1942 image of violence on a Detroit picket line, to 1999's co-winners -- AP's coverage of terrorist attacks on U.S. Embassies in Africa, and of the Clinton-Lewinsky saga.
Among other events captured in winning photos are the sinking of the Andrea Doria, Russian President Boris Yeltsin dancing at a rock concert, Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, and Babe Ruth's farewell at Yankee Stadium.
"Magnum Degrees'' (Phaidon, $69.95) offers a collection of recent work by the Magnum Photo Agency, which has recorded on film just about every major event and historical moment since its founding in 1947.
The book contains 617 photos -- 163 in color -- from among those made by the agency's members since 1989, beginning with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The book's images represent the work of 69 photographers, who chose photos that express their personal view of the current political and social climate. Some photos were made especially for the book.
Taken all over the world, the photos show wars and other tragedies, but also depict everyday people, landscapes and street scenes: people-watching on a Brazilian beach; a mother and her nearly skeletal child in a hospital in Somalia; a bride and groom on the shore of Tory Island, off Ireland's coast; and a woman waiting patiently inside a nightclub in Shenzhen, China.
"Daybreak 2000'' (NorthWorld Press, $24.95) features the work of more than 100 nature photographers who spent New Year's Day in various parts of the world, ready to record the dawn of the new millennium.
Among the book's 125 color images:
--In Hawaii, Bronwyn Cooke went to the state's largest palm grove to capture coconut palms illuminated by the late afternoon sun.
--A dense forest of Western hemlocks, Pacific silver firs and other conifers, some more than 250 years old, is draped in snowy white, in Wendy Shymanski's photo made in the Shames River Valley in British Columbia, Canada.
--In Royal Natal National Park in South Africa, a baboon surveys the savanna scene, in Roger de la Harpe's photo.
--Mark Strickland photographed three black-and-white-striped bannerfish as they swam among the coral reefs in the Similan Islands Marine National Park, off Thailand's coast.
--In Spain's Catalonia region, the walls of a castlelike rock formation called ''La Cova del Drac'' catch the first light of day in a photo by Francesc Muntada.
"The John F. Kennedys: A Family Album'' (Rizzoli, $45) is a revised and expanded edition of a volume of photographs by Mark Shaw that was published shortly after President Kennedy's death in 1963. Shaw, official photographer for the Kennedy White House, died in 1969.
This edition contains 145 photos, including 15 in color and some published for the first time.
A photo made in pre-White House days shows Jackie Kennedy standing by admiringly as her husband, seated at his desk in the Old Senate Office Building in Washington, examines some papers. In another photo, made in Georgetown, Va., just weeks before the presidential election, the end of a busy day finds Mrs. Kennedy in a rarely seen pose, slumped in an easy chair and with a cigarette in hand.
The first lady and daughter Caroline hold opposite ends of a broomstick so the family dog can show off its high-jumping skills, in a photo series taken at the Virginia estate of Jackie's mother. And color shots made at Hyannis Port, Mass., for a Life magazine cover story show a president and first lady looking youthful, dignified and confident.
Also included is the official White House photograph of John-John at 1, a color image that shows the smiling baby seated on the floor with his proud mother and a rather serious-looking Caroline.
And in a picture taken in the White House nursery, Caroline turns the tables and takes a picture of the photographer as he takes a picture of her.
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