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Attack of the Political Cartoonists
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Inorder to review the history of political cartoons before examining this book, I surfed the Web and came upon a site which shares a wealth of information: [...] I now presume to suggest that this brief history be read first. (Some may find sufficient background information in Lucy Shelton Caswell's even shorter Introduction to this volume.) Credit J.P. Trostle with the selection and editing of the material which focuses on representative work by almost 150 political cartoonists, introduced in alphabetical order. Together, they do indeed offer a wealth of illustrated "insights & assaults from today's editorial pages."

Of course, our exposure to political cartoons is limited by the number of daily newspapers and weekly news magazines we read. For that reason, I especially appreciate seeing the works of cartoonists of whom I was previously unaware. That is one of the greatest benefits this volume offers. I also appreciate the wide range of perspectives on the most prominent public figures. As Caswell correctly notes, almost all of the selections will elicit one of two responses: an "ah" of agreement or "argh" of disgust. For various reasons, political cartoons have an immediate, often compelling impact which Op Ed articles, for example, seldom have. They often seem to me to be the visual equivalent of a sound bite. The most compelling measure up to standards which Pat Oliphant set for himself years ago:

To create "a graphic distillation of the personality of the strutting popinjay on last night's news. [His audience] wants a visual rendering of immediacy and endurance that can be cut from the printed page and saved on the refrigerator, or if disliked, can be ripped from the page, have rude recommendations scrawled upon it, and mailed back to the artist. Such people, pro and con, possess awareness and opinion, and as such are to be blessed." High standards indeed. Judge for yourself which of the cartoonists' works included in this volume measure up to them.

One final point. Whatever the political loyalties and inclinations may be, it seems imperative to me that those in the news media should do all they can to accommodate a wide and deep diversity of opinion. Many eminently qualified persons have refused to become involved in the political process because it is too often polarized and mean-spirited. (Colin Powell is only one of several such persons who come to mind.) On an admittedly personal note, I conclude with the hope that we follow Voltaire's suggestion: cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. That is as relevant to elected officials as it is to cartoonists who portray them with caricatures such as those presented in this lively, entertaing volume.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2004
I was pleased to see cartoonists that I loved as a child mixed in with those who I knew from college as well as those who I'd otherwise never see. Several cartoonists had me laughing out loud; others made me bristle, but the diversity of viewpoints provides something for people of every political stripe in these politically ludicrous times.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2004
Attack of the Political Cartoonists is a highly enjoyable overview. Offering a page per cartoonist, you get a few samples of their work plus roughly a quarter page of bio information. The book offers a nice sample of individuals with different viewpoints on the world. It is a quick read and a helpful way to learn more about the cartoonist from your paper's editorial pages or to discover new editorialists you'd like to learn more about. Quality of the book is as high as I've always come to expect from Dork Storm Press, even in this new area of publishing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
This book shows why the number of editorial cartoonist positions at daily newspapers has plummeted from over 300 when I began doing cartoons in the 1970s and something like 60 now. Yes, there are over 100 who are members of AAEC and there are a bunch hanging on by their fingernails trying to sell through the internet. But they are not "alive and well," they are on life support and the art form is dead as a doornail. I was in it for a few years, myself, even though I was a radical "alternative" newspaper political cartoonist. There is nothing interesting about this book and nothing exciting about the cartoons, much less "rapier wit" as the usual hype falsely promises. The cartoons I drew 30 years ago that are in Buy This Book and Buy This Too are still hotter than any of these--you would think they could have come up with some gonads by now. What kind of attack are these guys talking about? A narcolepsy attack???
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2004
this book does NOT disappoint. it's a compendium of numerous cartoonists with flavors, laughs, and insights from around the country. from extremely local issues to international issues, this book provides a portal to the work of many celebrated political cartoonists -- the ever-shrinking herd that they are. regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum this is a great book of cartoons and cartoonists.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2004
I found this book at Barnes & Noble and was going to buy a copy for $16.99, then decided to check out my local used book store. They didn't have a copy, so here I am at amazon.com. Buy it here, it's a bargain!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2004
Political Cartoons reflect the political attitudes of the period. The book is funny, insightful, and fresh. It has a wide variety of issues and will surely be a keeper in my personal library.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2004
"Attack Of The Political Cartoonists" doesn't disappoint. There are cartoons to satisfy every reader. With precision and skill the 150 cartoonists who contributed to this work hit their mark every time. Fun to read, fun to look at and fun to share. Three cheers for the cartoonists. Keep up the good work.
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Funny and insightful - I love it. Would make a great Christmas present for anyone interested in democracy in America!
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2004
If you're a big fan of political cartooning you might be wise to skip this book. It's really more of a glorified members directory than an interesting collection of cartoons. It profiles a vast array of cartoonists, yes, but they're only profiled because they're card-carrying members of the Association of American Political Cartoonists. Apparently membership isn't hard to get because there are a lot of terrible, unfunny cartoons in this book. The pros are in here as well, but every cartoonist only gets about four cartoons or so, so the good ones are often wedged between a lot of very mediocre drawings. Since there is no real thematic organization the cartoons' topics are all over the place, which can be a bit confusing. Even the pros I didn't feel had their best work showcased. The selection seemed random more than anything.

The profiles aren't interesting either. There's only so many times you can read "so and so grew up in city X and went to college Y before being hired by paper Z." I gave up reading them about halfway thorough.

To summarize, this book reads like some sort of free membership directory that they'd hand out at a convention. It's not worth the money it costs.
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