- Hardcover: 164 pages
- Publisher: Elliott & Clark Publishing; First Edition edition (September 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1880216396
- ISBN-13: 978-1880216392
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 9.7 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Drawn & Quartered: The History of American Political Cartoons Hardcover – September, 1996
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It's hard to imagine a book on this topic that's better than Drawn and Quartered. Authors Stephen Hess and Sandy Northrop have created a history that is lucid, authoritative, and fun. The profuse illustrations are, as one would expect, varied and entertaining. Even better, the cartoons featured do an excellent job of demonstrating the evolution of political cartooning from Ben Franklin (America's first editorial cartoonist) to the present.
Hess and Northrop do an excellent job of relating cartoons to the political and social climate in which they were created. For example, "Caricatures of [Martin Luther] King, Malcolm X, and the other African American leaders who rose to prominence [in the 1950s and 1960s] are hard to find. Cartoonists and their newspapers grew so sensitive to the volatility of caricaturing black leaders, fearing that they would be perceived as racial slurs.... Instead, cartoonists employed generic situations and peopled them with generic black figures. Martin Luther King Jr. became an invisible man in the cartoons of the [era]."
Readers casually interested in the topic will find Drawn and Quartered an entertaining and unique book. Aficionados will be satisfied with the book's sagacity and depth, and may even discover illustrators that they did not know. All will agree that Hess and Northrop deserve a round of applause. --Michael Gerber
From Publishers Weekly
Although this book does not claim to be exhaustive, it offers an entertaining and enlightening survey of American political cartoons, illustrated by 269 examples from colonial times to the present. In their introduction, Hess (The Ungentlemanly Art of Political Cartooning) and Northrop, a PBS writer/producer, remind us of the political cartoon's role, from Thomas Nast's attacks on Tammany Hall to David Levine's memorable image of Lyndon Johnson pointing to a gallbladder-operation scar shaped like Vietnam. The authors proceed chronologically, explaining how Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty and John Q. Public entered national iconography, and they show how contemporary cartoonists reinterpret older images?as when Paul Conrad's tattooed Ronald Reagan borrowed from an 1884 Puck image. While the authors do not neglect underappreciated cartoonists like the groundbreaking African American Oliver Harrington, they cover all the recent greats; WWII imageer Bill Mauldin; Washington fixture Herblock; inner monologuist Jules Feiffer; Pat Oliphant, who uses an alter ego penguin commentator. The authors note that the rise of CNN and attendant American consciousness has allowed cartoonists to broaden their vision and comment more often on world events; still, as they lament, the rise of syndicates and the decreasing number of newspapers have shrunk the market for cartoonists.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The book does not take a politically correct approach in its presentation and simply explains the social mores of the times. The authors had no qualms about showing the missteps made by many cartoonists such as shying away from confronting McCarthyism or becoming Wilson Administration propagandists during World War One. There are plenty of wonderful illustrations between these covers which help clarify and support the history being discussed at that moment. A thoroughly enjoyable, well-written, fun book. If you are interested in understanding the history of this unique vocation, "Drawn & Quartered" will not disappoint you.
I was expecting more cartoons and less history, but am glad for the way it is presented. I found myself looking up bits of history in Wikipedia to expand on some of the issues in this book. I have never had a grasp of Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed, so this prompted a look at some of those issues.
Numerous cartoonists are presented along with some of their cartoons. I appreciate the quality of the printing of the cartoons in particular as the cross hatching and other details are very clear. Some cartoons would benefit from being printed larger.
With an average of three cartoons for every two pages, the reader is treated to a cornucopia of political debate across the epoch of America. There are some useful explanations in the text, for example, consider the Salt River cartoon. You may have seen this cartoon before: It features a boatload of candidates for the presidential nomination of 1848 (won by Zach Taylor), led by a guide dog that resembles Martin Van Buren. Unless you know a tale from the 1832 Presidential Race between Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson, the cartoon is hard to figure out. The story is that Clay missed a political rally because a boatman, who supported Jackson, steered the boat off-course into the Salt River.
The authors also discuss some of the amazing symbols that are featured in political cartoons. Who knew that Brother Jonathan was once a symbol of Americans? In fact, the way an American political cartoonist used a figure meant to lampoon Americans to lay the smack down on John Bull is a very American idea. The baseball legend Connie Mack created the familiar elephant-on-a-baseball logo of the Oakland Athletics much in the same manner as Yankee Doodle became a proud symbol of Americans. National League luminary John McGraw called the American League franchise in Philadelphia a white elephant, because they were considered sacred and could not be used for work. An owner of a white elephant was stuck with a large bill for feeding the animal, but couldn't use it for labor. There is, in fact, a white elephant depicted in the Dime Circus political cartoon published in Puck, and reprinted in this book. Mack made the white elephant a symbol of top-notch baseball, particularly when his Athletics defeated Muggsy's Giants in the 1911 and 1913 Fall Classics.
Readers of Drawn & Quartered are treated to snapshots of famous political cartoonists, from Thomas Nast and Joseph Keppler of the Gilded Age to recent legends familiar to many readers: Herb Block, Doug Marlette, Pat Oliphant, Mike Peters, and Jim Borgman. All of the last group of artists were syndicated, and staples of newspapers in recent vintage.
The aforementioned Dime Circus cartoon is rich in detail. The tattooed figure of James G. Blaine is mentioned later in the book, but there are also depictions of third party candidate Ben Butler, and future President Benjamin Harrison. The man holding the Tammany Tiger is probably John Kelly, and the Zulu Warrior appears to be Grover Cleveland. Is that a Mugwump snake charmer facing off the stalwart snake, or it is Chester Arthur? There are about twenty faces depicted in the cartoon, and wouldn't it be nice to know about all of them?
Someday I would love to see a book that explains the rich details of political cartoons like the Dime Store Circus. Still, this book by Hess & Northrup does a nice job of presenting political cartoons in America throughout the years and offers a good educational experience, along with entertainment for those inclined to reading about American History.