In the mid 50s, Swiss-born New Yorker Robert Frank embarked on a ten-thousand-mile road trip across post-war America, capturing thousands of photographs of all levels of a rapidly changing society. The resultant photo-book, The Americans, represents a seminal moment in both photography and in America's emerging understanding of itself. To mark the book's fiftieth anniversary, Jonathan Day revisits this pivotal work and contributes a thoughtful and revealing critical commentary. Though the importance of The Americans has been widely acknowledged, it still retains much of its mystery. This comprehensive analysis places it thoroughly in the context of contemporary photography, literature, painting, music and advertising.