Book Review: “Herblock: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist” by Herbert Block

I’m not much a comics fan but I’m always attracted to the cleverness and satire of political cartoons, probably because it’s usually smart and sometimes throws a serious punch to social issues, pokes fun at political figures and others. “A picture is worth a thousand words” cannot be more true with this kind of cartoons.

I came across this book in the new-book section of the library and was immediately attracted to the pictures. I don’t believe I know or recognize Herbert Block and his work but based on what I read of his work from 1920’s to 2000, he impressed me as an insightful liberal with a keen eye toward social justice and the plight of the people. Due to the longevity of his career, you can see the history of the entire 20th century being played out through Herbert Block’s lens: The depression, World War II, civil unrest, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and finally Bush 2. What a great span of work! Besides, his drawings are always full of subtlety and meaning – inspiring to someone who wanted to become a cartoonist. The DVD that comes with the book includes almost all of his work in his entire life: 2.4GB worth. Not a bad deal.