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Drawn to Extremes: The Use and Abuse of Editorial Cartoons in the United States Hardcover – December 29, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0231130660 ISBN-10: 023113066X

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (December 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023113066X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231130660
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #601,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The insightfully selected cartoons alone are worth the book.

(Kathleen Hall Jamieson)

Lamb's research, however, pays off in his enlightening history of cartooning, loaded with entertaining incidents beyond the well-known.

(James Poniewozik Bookforum)

If political cartoonists were to draw Chris Lamb, it might be as their knight, charging into battle.

(Nina C. Ayoub Chronicle of Higher Education)

[Lamb's] book is passionately argued...and the dozens of reproductions are fantastic.

(Financial Times)

A book that will serve as a wake-up call to those who refuse to acknowledge the diminution of freedom of expression and democratic ideals in the U.S....Essential


A thoughtfully composed and well-illustrated investigation of the role of those who serve as society's watchdogs.

(ForeWord Magazine 1900-01-00)

An important step forward for scholarship concerning editorial cartooning.

(David W. Park Political Communication)

Lamb's book is a welcome look at a type of journalism that is given extraordinary latitude.

(H.J. Kirchhoff Globe and Mail)


Judiciously balancing the mission of American editorial cartoonists with the restraints imposed by their editors and publishers, shrinking opportunities in print journalism, and public censorship in times of crisis, Professor Lamb has produced a volume rich in its insights and perspectives.

(Roger A. Fischer, author of Them Damned Pictures and professor emeritus of history, University of Minnesota-Duluth)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By rvfifthbeatle on February 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some $70 and no cover! For Pete's sake!! The material covered is fine but I was expecting a larger format at that price.
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Format: Hardcover
Professor Lamb's overview of political cartoons and how they have gone from very important to marginal reflects a changing society,and a markedly declining newspaper readership.Lamb's volume is replete with political cartoons,both old and new,which is fine for a mere coffee table show book,but his comments intend to portray the way in which this decline in good political cartooning reflects the way in which the modern reader has abandoned traditional political satire in the same way that he/she has largely abandoned the newspaper as a primary source for news.While well-written,the book bemoans reality,and because of this cannot actually reflect the reasons why both the newspaper and the political cartoon are going the way of the Dodo bird,that is to say towards extinction.In an age of instant news instantly available,on the teevee,on the radio,on the internet,both the power and the relevance of a political cartoon has lost a good deal of its ability to influence us,but Lamb,who apparently has not accepted this new reality,refuses to see this as fact,which,in my opinion,is the main failing of his book.
Also lost in Lamb's considerations is the fact that here,in America,fewer and fewer people even bother to read a newspaper,let alone seek out a political cartoon that may be posted on an internet site..The news itself,usually bad,usually beyond the scope of any one individual to influence with his or her vote,has become something that no longer excites the average person..A terrorist act,like9/11,may glue a person to the teevee set,and it may temporarily increase the sales of daily newspapers,but overall,the average person is seemingly content to be fed snippets of news,sans political satire,in-between commercial at six or at eleven on the idiot box..
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Betty Burks on January 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As newspaper readership stagnates, publishers are reducing staff. As a result of the deteriorating newspaper industry, cartoonists are losing jobs and few are finding new ones. At the 2003 Pittsburgh convention of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Rob Rogres, the conference's organizer, observed "that the shrinking number of cartoonists reflects the economics and priorities of the newspaper industry. He's one of the lucky ones, as staff cartoonist for Pittsburgh's 'Post-Gazette.'

This book is full of editorial cartoons plus a few comic strips, some old but still relevant, some of more recent vintage. "If things continue as they have [been]," one frustrated cartoonist said, "they may be forced to do as they did in colonial days: sell their work on the streets." Kevin Kallangher, a former president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, "predicted that editorial cartooning would rise and fall with daily newspapers. The future of cartooning is inextricably bound to the future of newspapers."

At the Pittsburgh gathering in 2003, the fact that "the number of editorial cartoonists working full time for daily newspapers had dropped to a 30-yr. low. These annual conventions have become more and more like reunions of WWII veterans," fewer return and those who do "wonder which of them will be the next one to go." The profession has compromised itself by using subs instead of the real thing. "Paul Conrad [of the 'Los Angeles times'] once told a gathering of cartoonists that they had shrunk from their responsibilities because they were ill informed on either the issues of the day or the classics of antiquity.
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