By Josh MacPhee

The New Soldier by John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War cover

The New Soldier by John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against the War cover

I was surprised to stumble on this really nicely designed book by and about the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, published in 1971 by Collier, a major publishing house. It’s a sad statement on the current book trade that none of the major houses would ever touch a book like this by a contemporary group like About Face (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War). I suspect this is for two reasons, the first being a fear of publishing anything so directly connected to social movements (politics are fine, but you’ll notice actual movement books are few and far between by major publishers), the second that doing any book that’s oversized and expensive to produce is increasingly rare, especially when politics is involved.
Regardless, this is a very cool book, completely filled with compelling photos laid out in a design with a lot of character that also knows when to take a backseat to the content. Enjoy!


I particularly like the use of both thick and thin vertical bars, to correspond to the thickness of the type face. You rarely see this kind of sensitivity, and when heavy framing design elements are used, they’re usually placed on top of the page regardless of content. All in all, the interactions here between type, design elements, and photography are very compelling.


Full bibliographic info:
John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (edited by David Thorne and George Butler), The New Soldiers (New York: Collier, 1971). Cover photograph by George Butler, design unattributed.

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