Recommended byNY Journal of Books
A lavishly illustrated, witty, and original look at the awesome power of the political cartoon throughout history to enrage, provoke, and amuse.
As a former editor of The New York Times Magazine and the longtime editor of The Nation, Victor S. Navasky knows just how transformative—and incendiary—cartoons can be. Here Navasky guides readers through some of the greatest cartoons ever created, including those by George Grosz, David Levine, Herblock, Honoré Daumier, and Ralph Steadman. He recounts how cartoonists and caricaturists have been censored, threatened, incarcerated, and even murdered for their art, and asks what makes this art form, too often dismissed as trivial, so uniquely poised to affect our minds and our hearts.
Drawing on his own encounters with would-be censors, interviews with cartoonists, and historical archives from cartoon museums across the globe, Navasky examines the political cartoon as both art and polemic over the centuries. We see afresh images most celebrated for their artistic merit (Picasso's Guernica, Goya's "Duendecitos"), images that provoked outrage (the 2008 Barry Blitt New Yorker cover, which depicted the Obamas as a Muslim and a Black Power militant fist-bumping in the Oval Office), and those that have dictated public discourse (Herblock’s defining portraits of McCarthyism, the Nazi periodical Der Stürmer’s anti-Semitic caricatures). Navasky ties together these and other superlative genre examples to reveal how political cartoons have been not only capturing the zeitgeist throughout history but shaping it as well—and how the most powerful cartoons retain the ability to shock, gall, and inspire long after their creation.
Here Victor S. Navasky brilliantly illuminates the true power of one of our most enduringly vital forms of artistic expression.
About Victor S NavaskySee more books from this Author
Although the first four chapters of Navasky’s book amount to an engaging meditation on cartoon history, the remainder is too disjointed to offer much in the way of reading pleasure.Read Full Review of The Art of Controversy: Polit... | See more reviews from NY Times
Among the best reasons to come to “The Art of Controversy” is that as it rolls along, Mr. Navasky strews, like breadcrumbs, a minimemoir of his own busy life and times.Read Full Review of The Art of Controversy: Polit... | See more reviews from NY Times
Had "The Art of Controversy" book widened its scope to include today's most biting satire, we may have been treated to a fascinating trajectory of parody-criticism.Read Full Review of The Art of Controversy: Polit... | See more reviews from WSJ online
For the political junkie, journalist, artist, cartoonist, or student, The Art of Controversy is a wonder story of an amazing art form.Read Full Review of The Art of Controversy: Polit... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
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