THE TIGER'S TAIL by Nancy Veglahn


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This is a half and half sort of book. Nast is a natural for juvenile biography. The superb draughtsmanship of his famous political cartoons are a part of almost every American history or civics text and often their only eye-catching features. Nast created enduring symbols -- Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, Columbia, the Tammany Tiger. His detailed, yet uncluttered, cartoons told a pointed story that seldom needed captions or labels. The effect of his work, which appeared in Harper's Weekly during the Civil War and after, is attested to by the legislation introduced in New York State by politices who wanted his pictures outlawed. His caricatures were a prime factor in bringing Boss Tweed to book. Nast's reward was endless vilification, attempted bribery and physical abuse from his N. Y. City adversaries -- more than balanced by public respect. This biography reads with ease and will be further enhanced by Nast's cartoons. Unfortunately, the author, faced with a lack of verified material on her subject, fell heavily back upon the execrable conventions of juvenile biography -- invented characters, incident and dialogue. These are shortcomings that must be weighted against the obvious uses and unquestionable eye appeal of the book.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1964
Publisher: Harper & Row