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American graffiti

The cult of America is scattered in its iconography. A sprawling book full of images that capture the spunk of an idea that also happens to be a country.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2008 17:23 IST

Iconic America
Universe
Rs.2400

Much before there was Rage Against the Machine and furious talk about the American hegemon, there was love for Americana. Everything that is alive and against-the-grain, both edgily mainstream but predicatably cutting edge we associate with the iconic images of America.

For every pair of jeans, there is the Platonic ideal pair worn by the half-falling figure of the 'Blue-collared' Bruce Springsteen. For every blonde, there is the prototype: Marilyn. The jukebox is as much a piece of 'American metal' as the Colt revolver.

The cigarette, whether hanging between Humphrey Bogart's lips or those much more inviting film noir ones created by Tom Wesselmann, are legends we have picked up without knowing who to thank for. And if there is a modern prototype for Rodin's Kiss, it is the straight-from-the-lips black and white photo taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt of a sailor kissing a nurse in New York's Time Square on August 15, 1945 celebrating the victory over Japan.

These are only a few iconic images in this sprawl of a book, Iconic America (Universe, RS 2,400). Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and advertising guru George Lois have got together to bring America in a roller-coaster flip-book journey. From the sublime to the ridiculous, these wryly captioned images are America between two hard covers. We love America - this way.

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