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Camouflage

Tim Newark, Author, Jonathan Miller, Introduction by , intro. by Jonathan Miller. Thames & Hudson $45 (192p) ISBN 978-0-500-51347-7

Miller, the medical doctor and stage director, introduces this volume with an essay on camouflage in nature. Newark, editor of the magazine Military Illustrated, writes the history of camouflage in its military context starting in the 19th century and ending with the present war in Iraq. A final chapter touches on camouflage in popular culture, fine art and fashion. The development of long-range weapons taught armies the advantages of blending in rather than standing out on the battlefield. Air reconnaissance in WWI introduced the need for the disruptive pattern techniques still used by armies worldwide. Inspiration for patterns came from both nature and modern art, and scientists and artists at different times took the lead in developing techniques and materials. Cubist-inspired "Dazzle" designs covered warships, and factories disappeared under acres of netting. Newark acknowledges that camouflage has always been more effective on equipment than on men, but soldiers identify intensely with their national patterns—frog skin, oak leaf, chocolate chip, etc. Current experiments involve iridescence and fiber optics. Newark's text is informative, but the story is told best by the 248 color and 32 black-and-white illustrations drawn from photographic archives, military training manuals, street culture and fashion layouts. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/09/2007
Release date: 06/01/2007
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