Marc Aronson

Author, Professor, Speaker, and Publisher

Category: Adult

Eyes of the World

Eyes_of_the_WorldEyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism

Coauthored with Marina Budhos

Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were young Jewish refugees, idealistic and in love. As photographers, they set off to capture their generation’s most important struggle—the fight against fascism. Among the first to depict modern warfare, Capa and Taro took powerful photographs of the Spanish Civil War that went straight from the devastation to news magazines. In so doing, they helped birth to the idea of bearing witness with technology, bringing home tragedies from across the world.

Packed with dramatic photos, posters, and maps, this compelling book captures the fascinating story of how photojournalism began.

Some photographs published in this book are part of an online collection at the International Center for Photography. Visit the to view the collection

Read an excerpt from the novel in TIME Magazine.

Want to learn more? See here for more background on the Spanish Civil War.

Teachers: A curriculum guide is now available for Eyes of the World

Forthcoming from Henry Holt and Company on March 28, 2017. Order on Amazon or Barnes& If you are interested in a review copy or in an event around Eyes of the World, please contact:



Horn Books, Starred Review

“This passionate, sprawling, multilayered biography begins like a Robert Capa photograph: right in the middle of the action. Readers are thrust into the D-Day landing, with all the terror, fatigue, bloodshed, and danger of that harrowing day as Capa photographs the Normandy Invasion.”

Washington Post

“Eighty years on, the Spanish conflict stands as a daunting historical episode to explain, but co-authors Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos skillfully set the scene in a way to draw in young readers.”


“Budhos and Aronson honor the couple’s vision by giving photographs as much space in the book as the text. Only by reading the textual narrative and studying the photographs alongside it can we grasp the full picture of Capa and Taro’s legacy. The photographers’ lives cannot be separated from their art, just as Capa’s story cannot be told without Taro’s.”

Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

“Collaborating as their subjects did, Aronson and Budhos (Sugar Changed the World) vividly and intimately recount the story of pioneering war photojournalists Robert Capa (1913–1954) and Gerda Taro (1910–1937)…Capa and Taro, Jewish immigrants with leftist leanings from Hungary and Germany, threw themselves into the Spanish Civil War with idealism, talent, intuition as photographers, and an exceptional willingness to take risks. Their photos—whether of fleeing civilians, snipers, refugees, bombed buildings, or soldiers—conveyed an immediacy never previously achieved and established a new standard for war reportage.”

Booklist, Starred Review

“The team behind Sugar Changed the World (2010) presents a fascinating look at the evolution of photojournalism during WWII by getting behind the lens with photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro…Rather ambitiously, Aronson and Budhos address the escalating tensions between socialist and fascist regimes, the emergence of photographic news magazines and compact cameras, and the lives of Capa and Taro into one seamless discussion. Readers not only get a strong sense of who these photographers were as people, they will understand what made their pictures so special….Dense but never dull, this book exposes art and humanity in history.”


“Going beyond details of the two lives, the complex account also explores issues surrounding refugees of war, the relationship between journalists and soldiers, the nature of artistic collaboration, and the overlap of photojournalism and propaganda. The writing offers clarity while also evoking emotions and the senses. The present-tense narrative gives a sense of immediacy, although it also leads to sometimes-awkward juxtapositions with the past-tense quotations from those who knew the couple…Captivating, powerful, and thought-provoking.”


“This is a must-have purchase for high school libraries, and it may also be a surprise hit among readers of wartime adventure”

Project Muse

“This is a must-have purchase for high school libraries, and it may also be a surprise hit among readers of wartime adventure.”

Electric Literature

“While Donald Trump and his administration play loose with facts and figures, a substantial number of authors and illustrators are presenting American history to students in all of its gory, complicated, and fascinating glory. Akin to the golden age of realistic YA fiction that began in the early 1970s, this approach to American history veers away from what we might wish had happened to focus on what actually happened. These books grapple with volatile issues that have shaken the country for hundreds of years — among them the displacement of American Indians, the mistreatment of women, minorities, and immigrants, and governmental malfeasance — and emerge on the other side with an idealism that is energizing as well as critical and questioning.”


“Considered some of the first to depict modern warfare, Capa and Taro brought a human face to war. It’s the subject of a new book, “Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism” by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos.”

An interview with Wired New Jersey:



School Library Journal, Guest Blog by Marc

“Marina and I have just published Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism (Holt, 2017). Recounting the desperate, tragic, heroic lives of Capa and Taro we (along with our brilliant designer April Ward and devoted editor Sally Doherty) needed to consider every page and page turn as textual description interwoven with visual narration. This required three separate processes: first, we wrote the main text – which needed to work entirely on its own, as propulsive narrative. But in order to write the book, we immersed ourselves in Capa’s and Taro’s contact sheets, prints, and magazine layouts – living in their sequences of shots (the two-volume Mexican Suitcase book published by the International Center of Photography is invaluable for those who want that deep dive). Images and sequences of images thus inspired words.

Second, we had to locate and select every image that we wanted to show – we had resolved the rights issues, but we still needed to find who had each image (this was not always clear, even to the rights-holders). Third, came the real challenge: designing each page, page-turn, and chapter so image plus text would have the right pace – chapters were by turns romantic, hectic, celebratory, cinematic, meditative, bellicose, tragic, triumphant and, finally both culminating and inspirational– leading from the story we’d told to now, the present, the future.”

“The Siege of Madrid Through Photographs”, The History Reader, by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos

“ON THE LEFT BANK of the Manzanares River , the scrub grass is stiff with frost. Capa, Regler, and an officer peer across the water, trying to make out the enemy’s position. The three are in the northwest corner of the city, in a group of farm buildings belonging to the agricultural school in University City. Franco’s troops have already crossed the river on footbridges, stationed themselves in the School of Architecture, and are now in a large manor, the Palacio de la Moncloa. This stretch of campus is no-man’s-land. Somewhere in these abandoned horse stables and granaries, the invisible enemy lies in wait. Capa follows the men into rooms fortified with sandbags, then through an old slaughterhouse, where the soldiers tilt their rifles through broken patches in the wall.

A scout arrives to tell them that Moroccans are on the top floor of a barn, shooting through holes in the floor and killing government soldiers. Suddenly, a burst of shelling breaks out, and the three men dive to the ground. Bullets whistle and screech overhead. “You’ve got me trapped by the Moors!” Capa shouts, half-frightened, half-joking to Regler.

When the shooting stops and the three men get up, a shaken Capa asks to pause, having soiled his pants. “My intestines were not so brave as my camera,” he jokes.”

“The Awful Relevance of Photographs from Franco’s Fascist Takeover in the 1930s”, History News Network by Marc Aronson

Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Spice, Magic, Slavery, Freedom, and Science

Eyes_of_the_WorldSugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science

Coauthored with Marina Budhos

Published in 2010, by Clarion Books.

An LA Times Book Award finalist and a Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award

Available now on Amazon or IndieBound

We were inspired to write this book when we discovered that we each have sugar in oue family backgrounds. Those intriguing tales inspired Marina and I to trace the globe-spanning history of the essence of sweetness, and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. As we discovered, the trail of sugar runs like a bright band through world events, making unexpected and fascinating connections.

Sugar leads us from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, when Christians paid high prices to Muslims for what they thought of as an exotic spice, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas.

Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans, who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the vary popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. Planters then brought in South Asians to work in the cane fields, just as science found new ways to feed the world’s craving for sweetness. Sugar moved, murdered, and freed millions.

Check out the book’s microsite:

Chicago Tribune

“For a family or classroom wanting to talk about the human consequences of how food comes to our tables, Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos have prepared a bountiful feast, the broad scope of which is captured in their subtitle: “A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom and Science.” These authors, husband and wife, look at sugar, focusing on the human costs, especially in the 18th century, of bringing it from field to table.”

The Washington Post

“Circling the globe and spanning millennia, this eye-opening book is the first collaboration between Marc Aronson, a top historian for young readers, and his wife, Marina Budhos, a novelist with roots in sugar (her father’s family left India for work on a sugar plantation in the Caribbean). Central to sugar’s story is the brutality involved in its manufacture, and the authors use all sorts of sweeteners – personal stories, archival photos, maps and historical anecdotes – to help the medicine go down.”

Beyond the Pale: New Essays for a New Era

beyond_the_paleEllen A. Greever, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

This excellent book should be required reading for anyone who cares about young adults and their literature.

Exploding the Myths: The Truth about Teens and Reading

exploding_the_mythWe are in the midst of the largest teenage population boom since the nineteen sixties, and all of the media are scrambling to reach this alert, savvy, wealthy, and self-conscious generation. But for authors, editors, parents, teachers, and librarians this large group of readers poses a series of special problems: what is too old, or too young for teenage eyes? Should there even be a literature for teenagers, or wouldn’t they be better off skipping ahead to adult books? Do boys read at all? Can books offer moral instruction, role models, or guidance on the path to adulthood? Where do books fit into the ever-growing set of multimedia options that are this generation’s birthright?

Marc Aronson, Ph.D. has won the LMP, the industry award for editing, and the Boston Globe Horn Book award for writing books for teenagers. Here, in a series of probing, innovative essays he marshals a decade of insights earned in practice as well as his knowledge as a scholar of publishing history, to pose and answer these key questions. As he explores the true potential of Young Adult literature and revels in the passion of its readers he exposes the real problem with teenagers and reading: adult myths, projections, and blind prejudices.”Exploding the Myths” is a provocative book that will be necessary reading for everyone who deals with this burgeoning generation of readers.


As a YA publisher, editor, writer, and critic, Aronson is an eloquent, passionate advocate for high-quality YA books. The collection comprises 13 of his speeches and articles from the past six years, including “The Challenge and the Glory of YA Literature,” which originally appeared in Booklist. He opens up the intense arguments about censorship, audience (how adult is young adult?), authenticity, popularity versus quality, and more.

Buy Exploding the Myths: The Truth about Teens and Reading at, at Barnes and Noble at

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