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By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design Paperback – August 11, 2005

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By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design + The Art of American Book Covers: 1875-1930
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The authors have assembled the first collection of Modernist cover art and a short history of Modernism's evolution in America." -- Veronique Vienne in Print Magazine, October, 2005

"This is one release I’m really looking forward to adding to my permanent collection." -- Bookslut.com, June 2005

(Drew and Sternberger) lump dust jackets with paperback covers and trace their intertwined development in terms of modernism and postmodernism. -- John Updike, The New Yorker, October 17, 2005

...a loving survey of top-notch work by several dozen late greats, inspired unknowns, and rising hotshots of book design. -- Boston Globe, October 16, 2005

...well-researched and concisely written... -- Print, October 2005

An engaging look at literature and the progression of American design and typography. -- Dwell, April 2006

Drew and Sternberger lump dust jackets with paperback covers and trace their intertwined development in terms of modernism and postmodernism. -- The New Yorker, October 17, 2005

It is a literate, informative book, complemented by 200 telling illustrations. -- Lancaster New Era, 10/07/05

Serves as a good overview of the high and low points of Modernism in 20th-century design. -- Communication Arts, April 2006

About the Author

Ned Drew and Paul Sternberger teach graphic design history at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (August 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568984979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568984971
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,101,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on June 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
The two authors have written a first class study of the dust jacket and presented it in an elegantly designed paperback, too. From my experience this sort of title is heavy with cover images with lightweight copy or even just captions but here Drew and Sternberger have really researched their subject and produced what might well be the standard book on the subject. The review starts in the thirties from the craft movement oriented designs through the modernism of the forties, fifties and sixties to the post-modern late eighties, nineties and the start of this century. The covers are mostly placed with their relevant text so it is easy to follow the authors' comments about each designer.

I'm old enough to remember seeing plenty of these sixties covers in bookshops (my favorites were Rudy De Harak, Roy Kuhlman, Paul Bacon and the brilliant Herb Lubalin and considering how influential he was I'm surprised he only gets one cover) and I certainly appreciated the modernist creativity of the past decades rather than contemporary market-driven covers whose design owes so much to the liberating effect of computer technology.

As well as an interesting read the book is elegantly designed (though with perhaps just a bit too much white space for my taste) with the covers presented as cutouts with a subtle drop-shadow. Nicely several of the older titles are second-hand copies that betray well read handling. A minor annoyance is the footnote numbers printed in tiny type and in blue, nearly impossible to read in a domestic lighting environment. Actually all the notes in the back could easily have been placed on the relevant pages, there is that much white space around.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Conneely on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Excellent well illustrated history of Dj design, the text was a bit up itself, but still informative.
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