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Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons Hardcover – January 7, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

One of the great pleasures of Halloran's biography is watching Nast go from being a mere artist to a political-cartooning superstar. In the process, we also get a more concrete look at what cartooning meant for Nast—not just as art, but as a means of wielding political influence and making money. Halloran captures the intensity of the period, in which Nast churned out cartoon after cartoon, sometimes as many as seven per weekly issue. The process resembles nothing so much as modern-day political blogging. One might forgive a biographer for exaggerating the extent to which her subject's art brought down the tyrant but Thomas Nast is still a powerful public case study of the unique power of art, and a saga of Gilded Age politics. —Josh Fruhlinger

Review

[An] intriguing and rich portrait.--Journal of American History



Halloran's new biography of Nast fills a conspicuous void by supplying an engaging and erudite account of the life and times of the celebrated artist.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society



Thomas Nast may be known as 'The Father of Modern Political Cartoons,' but history teacher Halloran's thorough biography of the 19th-century journalist is much more than mere caricature. . . . [A] rich portrait of the multifaceted artist, social crusader, political commentator, and devoted father and husband.--Publishers Weekly



[A] bright book.--Michael Kammen, Los Angeles Review of Books



One of the great pleasures of Halloran's biography is watching Nast go from being a mere artist to a political-cartooning superstar.--Bookforum



Recommended. With reservations. Graduate students, researchers, professionals.--Choice



If you have any interest in Thomas Nast, or in late 19th century American politics or political cartoons, Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons is definitely an important purchase.--Fred Patten



This detailed biography will appeal to historians of the Gilded Age and to scholars interested in the development of the political cartoon. . . . The book is beautifully illustrated with Nast's work.--Library Journal



Halloran has produced a biography exploring Nast's drawings in the context of his life as an artist whose drawings had a strong Republican slant. She shows convincingly how Nast expressed his identity both in his sentimental home scenes and his cutting political satires.--H-SHGAPE



Extremely effective in illuminating Nast as an artist and an individual. . . . Will inform as well as amuse.--Galveston Daily News



[A] cogent and highly readable biography.--Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly



The most exhaustive and well-researched look at Nast to date.--Salt Lake Tribune



Halloran has contributed to the literature on nineteenth-century social and political observers with an in-depth examination into the life of Nast as an artist and political analyst who created masterpieces of commentary.-- The Historian



This book brings [Thomas Nast] back to his highly deserved place in American cultural history.--Journal of American Culture

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; 1 edition (January 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807835870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807835876
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mary Zuzan on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Halloran has written a lively, really-I-never- knew -that" account about the life and times of Thomas Nast. Concentrating mostly on his political cartoons, a man and his environment comes to life. The book has wonderful drawings showing how Nast evolved as a cartoonist.
I am pleased with Amazon's service, also. The book arrived quickly and in pristine condition.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Frizzell on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
If you are searching for an art book reproducing Thomas Nast's beautiful illustrations, you might look elsewhere. There are only 63 illustrations in this new book and some are only half-a-page in size (4 to 5 inches across).

Since this new book is rather small in size (6x9 inches), any reproduced images will be much too tiny to properly showcase Nast's delicate and detailed linework. For example, the famous Nast Harper's Weekly cartoon "The American River Ganges" (which depicted alligators/Roman Bishops crawling out of the river to threaten American schoolchildren) is reproduced at only 5 inches across in this book -- the original illustration was printed at 11 inches across using a metal plate engraving on slick paper.

True, this new book focuses more on telling Nast's life story, however his artwork was so influential that it's a shame the book couldn't have been in a larger format so as to offer a better appreciation of Nast's distinctive and historically-important cartoons.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book does an excellent job of bring Thomas Nast to life. Nast, a German immigrant, was the right man at the right place at the right time with the right skills. His sketches during the Civil War in the new-style illustrated periodicals helped to rally and focus support for the Union cause in ways that mere words could not. Later, he was to use those skills to support President Grant and to oppose those who would turn their backs on Lincoln's legacy. At the high point of his career he brought down the Tammany Hall Ring, a political machine which ran New York City.

A skilled artist, Nast also created the image of modern Santa Claus. He used analogies and avoided the confusion of previous cartoons by minimizing how many people spoke in them.

Halloran does a good job with this book. It is a little repetitious in places, but does hit the high points of the man's career and his personal life. It is well-illustrated, although you might find yourself wishing to see some of the cartoons only described in the text.
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Thomas Nast: The Father of Modern Political Cartoons
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