Capa's Cross follows the author, Kotaro Sawaki, as he unravels the mystery behind the historic photograph "The Falling Soldier," attributed to the legendary photojournalist Robert Capa. The photograph was taken during the Spanish Civil War and shows a soldier being shot down on a hillside. Very little is known about this masterpiece of photojournalism, and Capa himself refused to discuss it. The photograph became a symbol of war and the horrors of the 20th century.
Sawaki, a writer who developed a keen interest in Capa in the course of translating his biography, wants to find the answers to some key questions. When and where was the renowned photograph taken? Who is the "falling soldier"? Was it even Capa who took the photograph? His investigations lead him back and forth between Japan and Spain, visiting the spots where the photograph could have been taken, researching the history of the Spanish Civil War, and meeting scholars and photographers in both countries. His brilliant deductions lead Sawaki to some surprising conclusions?namely, that "The Falling Soldier" was taken during a training day, not in battle, and that the soldier isn't being shot at all, but has simply tripped. The biggest discovery is that it wasn't taken by Capa, but by his assistant, the photographer Gerda Taro. Capa wrongly claimed the photograph was his until his death. Like a detective in a great whodunit, Sawaki employs methods that are fascinating and original, using the clouds, the shadows, and even the angle of the rifle as a means of reconstructing the conditions of a Spanish landscape as it was almost a hundred years ago. Capa's Cross brings together the worlds of early photography, European history, and the personal life of an artist in an unforgettable work.