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It is just a photograph of a body at the side of a road—another death among the millions of deaths of World War II. Yet this photo, long lost and never before published, has surprised historians. The dead man in the picture is Ernie Pyle, the famed war correspondent whose dispatches painted vivid portraits of the lives of common GIs. Pyle famously covered several theaters of war, including the brutal Italian campaign of 1943-1944, and was killed on April 17, 1945 on the island of le Shima, off Okinawa in the Pacific.

 Even historians who have specialized in studying Pyle’s work and collecting his correspondence had never seen the image. The negative is long lost and only a few prints were known to exist.

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