A treasure trove for fans of the New Yorker, political satire, and graphic design.


Indelible images from one of America’s leading political cartoonists.

Though he claims that “my comprehension of politics was and remains superficial,” Blitt’s (The Founding Fathers!, 2016, etc.) magazine covers, especially for the New Yorker, have not only spurred considerable dialogue in the culture at large, but also helped frame the dialogue in American political discourse. There was the image of the Obamas giving each other fist bumps while dressed in terrorist garb; the one with the Monty Python–esque “silly walks” showing Brits walking off the cliff with Brexit; and the flooding of the Bush cabinet in the wake of Hurricane Katrina—not to mention the many involving the 2016 election of Trump in general, who has been the gift that keeps on giving. How does Blitt do it? He does his best to explain, showing his drafting table and sheets covered with inkblots. He offers a “neurotic’s diary,” the daily routine, and he provides revelatory glimpses of the process, the sketches, and drafts preceding the finished illustration. He also inventories the “tools of the trade”—not only the array of artistic supplies, but a pharmacy’s worth of prescribed medications. So here you have everything that goes into a Blitt cartoon, but unless you are Blitt, you will never achieve what he does with those ingredients. He admits that not even he knows how he does what he does or even exactly what a powerful image might mean. But accompanying these illustrations is plenty of testimony on what sets him apart. Frank Rich praises “the spontaneity, grace, and power of Barry’s art,” which often accompanied the columnist’s Sunday pieces for the New York Times. “Paying attention to small details, Blitt manages to make points about big issues,” says Francoise Mouly, the New Yorker’s art editor. Many of these illustrations remain fresh in memory, though the tossed-off sketches and previously unpublished work are every bit as illuminating.

A treasure trove for fans of the New Yorker, political satire, and graphic design.

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-57666-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.



A revealing biography of the fabled Manhattan hotel, in which generations of artists and writers found a haven.

Turn-of-the century New York did not lack either hotels or apartment buildings, writes Tippins (February House: The Story of W. H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten, and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof In Wartime America, 2005). But the Chelsea Hotel, from its very inception, was different. Architect Philip Hubert intended the elegantly designed Chelsea Association Building to reflect the utopian ideals of Charles Fourier, offering every amenity conducive to cooperative living: public spaces and gardens, a dining room, artists’ studios, and 80 apartments suitable for an economically diverse population of single workers, young couples, small families and wealthy residents who otherwise might choose to live in a private brownstone. Hubert especially wanted to attract creative types and made sure the building’s walls were extra thick so that each apartment was quiet enough for concentration. William Dean Howells, Edgar Lee Masters and artist John Sloan were early residents. Their friends (Mark Twain, for one) greeted one another in eight-foot-wide hallways intended for conversations. In its early years, the Chelsea quickly became legendary. By the 1930s, though, financial straits resulted in a “down-at-heel, bohemian atmosphere.” Later, with hard-drinking residents like Dylan Thomas and Brendan Behan, the ambience could be raucous. Arthur Miller scorned his free-wheeling, drug-taking, boozy neighbors, admitting, though, that the “great advantage” to living there “was that no one gave a damn what anyone else chose to do sexually.” No one passed judgment on creativity, either. But the art was not what made the Chelsea famous; its residents did. Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Robert Mapplethorpe, Phil Ochs and Sid Vicious are only a few of the figures populating this entertaining book.

A zesty, energetic history, not only of a building, but of more than a century of American culture.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-618-72634-9

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.



Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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