Photojournalist Halli Casser-Jayne's book, Still Life images of Antietam is a startling look at the Civil War's most devastating battle ~ Antietam. Not your standard historical tome, or a wistful romantic view of the men who fought at the bloodiest single day in American history, Ms. Casser-Jayne's book instead starkly addresses the harsh realities of the Civil War. This is an emotional, gut-wrenching and often-poignant view of the historic battle that some say changed the tide of the Civil War. Featuring 70 duotone images and 70 Civil War era quotes, Antietam National Battlefield Superintendent John Howard, in the book's introduction, admits that he was stunned upon viewing the photographs. "They forced me to look in an unfamiliar way at that which I look at every day. The view is that of an artist's eye. Emotional? Yes!"
War. The word invokes heart-skips, makes jaws clench and minds question. "Wars start off emotionally, are fought tactically and end politically," Ms. Casser-Jayne said in a recent interview. "Historically, we look back in a thoughtful way at that which has been. Rarely, do we address the emotions behind wars."
Casser-Jayne knows something about war. A foreign correspondent in the 1980's, Ms. Casser-Jayne reported from war-torn El Salvador and guerrilla-infested Guatemala. In an airplane hanger in Guatemala, Casser-Jayne broke ranks with the pool reporters managing an exclusive interview with a freedom fighter on the brink of exile. The San Francisco Examiner ran the story, but Casser-Jayne never felt that she'd done the young man justice. "He believed to the core of his being that his cause was just. The story that I wrote was appropriately fact-based and informational," she said in a recent interview. "The large, coffee-bean eyes of the guerrilla -- today we would call hi a terrorist -- were all that I could see of his scarf-draped face;it was the closest to an emotional description that my editor allowed in the piece. Still, these many years later, I remain haunted by the young man's eyes. They spoke volumes. He cared. He was passionate, if misguided. Sometimes it feels as if American's have lost their passion. We forget what it is like to be the dispossessed. I hope to remind everyone by approaching Antietam from an emotional viewpoint."
Still Life images of Antietam is the first serious book of photographs taken of the Antietam Battlefield since Alexander Gardner's 1866 book Sketchbook of the Civil War. The 152-page book features an introduction by Dr. Thomas G. Clemens, the renowned scholar of Antietam history.
Still Life, images of Antietam, which sells for $32.95, is available at leading bookstores throughout the country.