Against the Grain : Bombthrowing in the Fine American Tradition of Political Cartooning
by Sanders, Bill; Feiffer, Jules (FRW)

Foreword--'Citizen Bill'ix
1 Springfield, Tennessee
2 Odyssey
3 WKU: Football, Art, Music & Brotherhood
4 Korea and the Herblock Epiphany
5 Sayonara, Korea
6 The Buffalo's Nose
7 Dot Smith and Abraham Lincoln
8 Hot Roast Beef and Civil Wrongs
9 North Carolina and Terry Sanford
10 Hollywood and Jayne Mansfield
11 Lyndon Johnson to the Rescue
12 John Kennedy
13 Detour to Kansas City
14 Harry Truman
15 Extremism in Defense of...
16 The Ultimate Extremist Act
17 For Whom the Bell Tolls
18 Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society
19 On to Wisconsin
20 Vietnam, Up Close and Personal
21 Ours Not to Reason Why
22 Watergate and Beyond
23 In the Eye of the Beholder
24 Do You Know What IT Means
25 Enter Stage Right
26 Hiatus, Then George W. Bush
27 The Road to Iraq
28 The Government We Deserve

Editorial cartoonists are an endangered species, and even in their heyday they were rare birds - at the top ranks of print journalism, only a few hundred such jobs existed worldwide in the 20th century. Yet those who wielded the drawing pen had enormous influence and popularity as they caricatured news events and newsmakers into "ink-drenched bombshells" that often said more than the accompanying news stories. Bill Sanders, working in a liberal tradition that stretches back to Thomas Nast and in more recent times includes Herblock, Oliphant, Feiffer, and Trudeau, began his career in the Eisenhower era and is still drawing in the age of Trump. In Against the Grain, he shares the upbringing and experiences that prepared him to infflict his opinions on the readers of the three major newspapers he worked for, the 100-plus papers he was syndicated in, and now, an internet channel.Sanders's memoir is both personal and political. He reveals his small-town Southern roots, his athletic exploits and military service, his courtship and enduring marriage, and his life-long passion for music. These threads are woven into his main narrative, explaining how a cartoonist works and why: "The cartoon should be a vehicle for opinion and it should be polemical in nature - otherwise, it is a waste of time."Along the way he shares vignettes about people he encountered and events he witnessed, illustrated here with a few photos and scores of the cartoons he produced to meet daily newspaper deadlines. He notes that while a cartoon is a simple communication, it is based on reading and research, and only then comes the drawing. Finally, there is this:"While there may be - to varying degrees - two sides to some issues, don't bother looking for that posture on the following pages."

During a 60-year career crafting masterfully drawn editorial cartoons for three newspapers and an online blog, Sanders has often found himself bombarded with vicious hate mail, usually for expressing views unpopular to the assorted politicians he loves to skewer. As Sanders makes plain in this witty and engaging autobiography, the criticism rarely stung and, if anything, only inspired him to up his game. Growing up in Springfield, Tennessee, in the aftermath of WWII, Sanders nurtured his competitive spirit by playing basketball, then quarterbacking for Western Kentucky University, where he set multiple NCAA passing records. In 1959, after returning from the Korean War, Sanders launched his cartooning career with the Greensboro Daily News, stirring controversy from the outset and not backing off since. Sanders offers revealing insights into the makings of a bitingly good editorial cartoon while highlighting the juicy scandals and bureaucratic wranglings of the 10 presidential administrations from Eisenhower to Trump. Sumptuously illustrated with some of his best work, Sanders' memoir makes irresistible reading for humor buffs and political junkies alike. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A political cartoonist shares his work and memories of his career while lamenting the current state of journalism and politics.The tone of his writing suggests a genial man, but Sanders (b. 1930) spent an illustrious career wielding a sharp pen, angering segregationist-minded readers in the South during the civil rights struggles. In 1963, he began drawing for the Kansas City Star, where an editor told him, "we've had more letters to the editor in a month over your cartoons than we've had total in the last five years." He also received anonymous, viciously racist letters that were "dripping with what in most cases was illiterate venom." During the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign for president, the local John Birch Society launched a campaign to get 10,000 subscribers to cancel their subscriptions to the otherwise conservative paper because of the cartoons. But Sanders made a fan in Harry Truman, who previously hadn't seen much he liked in the Star, and the cartoonist also becam e a favorite of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Since his memoir is mainly professional—with some side trips into his obsession with traditional jazz as a fan and musician—it serves as an overview of the political currents that roiled the nation. His work has potently captured the tumult of the civil rights era, Vietnam War (where he made firsthand observations on a couple of tours), Watergate, and, most recently, what he considers the unfathomable election of Donald Trump. Yet his memory of the Reagan years is that it was almost as unconceivable that a glib actor of so little political accomplishment could be elected. Sanders retired from the Milwaukee Journal a quarter century ago but found himself recommitted to his calling as an internet blogger, one who has no dearth of material. Yet he acknowledges that "what is good for cartoonists is not necessarily good for the country." A solid encapsulation of a significant, occasionally controversial career. Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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