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Criticisms aside; this is one of the few great international animation overviews.,
This review is from: Cartoons: One Hundred Years of Cinema Animation (Paperback)
The American sections of this book are lighter than Maltin's "Of Mice And Magic" and Barrier's "Hollywood Animation" (and Japan is also weakly represented), but the balance is made with independent animators and many other countries you wouldn't think were animation-oriented. Figures as diverse as Ladislaw Starewicz and Will Vinton get more attention here than in other books.
This is not something you read from cover to cover... instead you seek out the areas you're most interested in first. However, skimming through it chronologically gives interesting insight on the effects of both politics and technology on cartoon-making. For example, sound was slower reaching Asian animation and had interesting consequences, while post-war Communism may have actually boosted eastern Europe's "golden age". Fittingly, the story ends in 1991-92, just as digital animation began replacing the more personal, time-consuming methods of cell and paper animation, puppetoon stop-motion and claymation, making it more difficult to distinguish cartoons made in different countries.
As with all film-related texts, it is easy to gripe about errors and unequal emphasis placed on different artists. Of course, some countries may be less well-documented for their animators than others. Nonetheless, this is one of those books you find yourself referencing frequently.