World War II in Cartoons

Colin Seymour-Ure commends a unique record of World War II.

Colin Ure | Published in 17 Aug 2005
World War II in Cartoons
Mark Bryant
Grub Street  160pp  £14.99
ISBN 1904943063
Cartoons are often slapped into anthologies too sloppily, as though such ephemera do not need much bothering with. Mark Bryant’s anthology, on the contrary, is a model of the care that cartoons deserve; a tribute to the fact that an apparently frivolous medium can have serious consequences. His book is thoroughly researched, broad in range and attractively presented.
The three hundred cartoons are presented chronologically, with commentary on each and an introductory chapter. The author’s expertize is immediately apparent. He wrote a doctorate about Leslie Illingworth as a Daily Mail wartime cartoonist, and his experience as a publisher’s editor makes him a crisp and economical stylist. In a few pages his introduction sets out the origins and development of newspaper cartoons, their possible influence over politicians and readers, and some of the general issues about cartoons in the Second World War. The comments on particular cartoons are succinct and authoritative.

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