War buff storms the archives, liberates powerful D-Day images

June 02, 1994|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Staff Writer

Like many of his peers born in the latter half of the 1940s, Blaine Taylor loved movies about World War II.

But his infatuation didn't end when the theater lights went up. In fact, it grew.

"I caught the whole first wave of World War II movies, and that's when my interest really got started," says Mr. Blaine, 47.

Over the past 25 years or so, he has made countless trips to the National Archives and Library of Congress, sorting through thousands of WWII photographs and reading hundreds of books on everything from Hitler's invasion of Poland to Hiroshima and the dawn of the Atomic Age.

To help commemorate this month's 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, Mr. Taylor has put together two magazines: D-Day -- and Onward to Victory, published by Starlog Telecommunications out of New York, and D-Day +50, published by Challenge Publications out of California. Both are largely picture magazines, with accompanying text by Mr. Taylor.

A former reporter for the Baltimore Afro-American and press aide to U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley R-2nd, Mr. Taylor has spent the better part of his life researching World War II. By the time he was discharged from the Army in 1967, after serving with honors in Vietnam, reading about the conflict had become almost an obsession. And when he heard that thousands of war photographs were stored in Washington, including some taken by Hitler's mistress and eventual wife, Eva Braun -- well, Mr. Taylor may not have discovered heaven, but it was close enough.

"Beginning in 1967 and ending in about 1991, I either bought or took a photograph of about 50,000 photographs," says Mr. Taylor, whose personal archives were used for not only the magazines, but also two books. The first, "Guarding the Fuhrer," was published recently by Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., out of Missoula, Mont. A second, "Mercedes-Benz: Cars of the Third Reich," is set to be released in January. His plan, he says, is to release 20 books over the next 10 years.

Such a schedule, Mr. Taylor predicts, should be no problem. He turned around the two D-Day magazines between November 1993 and January, he says, and "a book to me is just a bigger version of the magazines."

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