HERBLOCK by Herbert Block

HERBLOCK

A Cartoonist's Life

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Block--a.k.a. ``Herblock''--is a national institution. His drawings--appearing in The Washington Post since 1945--have been cited as factors in the discrediting of McCarthyism (a word he invented), the promotion of racial equality, the warning against nuclear war, and the toppling of Nixon. Here, in a lively memoir, Block rehashes many of his battles against abuses of power and the public trust; especially interesting are his assessments of the Presidents he's caricatured during his seven decades of political commentary. Block rarely second-guesses his earlier opinions, even on Eisenhower, whose posthumous reputation he attributes largely to our forgetting Ike's inaction on civil rights and his pandering to McCarthyism. The author is more charitable to JFK and LBJ, without airbrushing their political and personal flaws. But he reserves his full contempt for Nixon and Bush, whom he portrays as unprincipled opportunists interested only in winning and in helping themselves to the spoils. Sprinkled among the professional memories are anecdotes of Block's early days in Chicago, his army stint, his heart attack, his unsuccessful attempt to learn to swim, and his rubbing elbows with a fair number of the famous, in and out of politics. While Block the cartoonist has always been in the thick of things, his off-duty persona seems to have lived a comparatively placid life. And except for a few scattered comments on the tools and techniques of his trade, he has disappointingly little to say here about the art of cartooning itself (although his comments on a number of his fellow cartoonists are illuminating). Outspoken, unashamedly liberal, and thoroughly readable. (Enriched by 200 vintage Herblock cartoons, plus an eight-page photo insert--not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1993
ISBN: 0-02-511895-1
Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1993




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionTHE ART OF CONTROVERSY by Victor S. Navasky
by Victor S. Navasky