Drawn & Quartered: The History of American Political Cartoons

Stephen Hess, Author, Steven Hess, Author, Sandy Northrop, With Black Belt Press $29.95 (164p) ISBN 978-1-880216-39-2
Although this book does not claim to be exhaustive, it offers an entertaining and enlightening survey of American political cartoons, illustrated by 269 examples from colonial times to the present. In their introduction, Hess (The Ungentlemanly Art of Political Cartooning) and Northrop, a PBS writer/producer, remind us of the political cartoon's role, from Thomas Nast's attacks on Tammany Hall to David Levine's memorable image of Lyndon Johnson pointing to a gallbladder-operation scar shaped like Vietnam. The authors proceed chronologically, explaining how Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and John Q. Public entered national iconography, and they show how contemporary cartoonists reinterpret older images--as when Paul Conrad's tattooed Ronald Reagan borrowed from an 1884 Puck image. While the authors do not neglect underappreciated cartoonists like the groundbreaking African American Oliver Harrington, they cover all the recent greats; WWII imageer Bill Mauldin; Washington fixture Herblock; inner monologuist Jules Feiffer; Pat Oliphant, who uses an alter ego penguin commentator. The authors note that the rise of CNN and attendant American consciousness has allowed cartoonists to broaden their vision and comment more often on world events; still, as they lament, the rise of syndicates and the decreasing number of newspapers have shrunk the market for cartoonists. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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Paperback - 978-1-57966-081-9
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