NonFiction: The Titanic, Vintage Clothing, A Scottsdale Artist, Political Posters and “Blown Covers” at The New Yorkerby Larry Cox on Apr. 18, 2012, under Uncategorized
Titanic: The Tragedy That Shook the World – One Century Later by the editors of LIFE (LIFE Books, $29.95)
You might think with all the coverage that we’ve gone a little overboard with books and television programs about the sinking of the RMS Titanic. What is incredible is how this event continues to fascinate even after the passage of a century. Although dozens of books have been published this spring about the ill-fated luxury liner, the one from the editors of Life is exceptional.
This profusely illustrated book chronicles the ship’s rapid descent into the icy Atlantic, the botched distress communications and the horror as thousands of passengers and crew members scrambled to survive. Although there are no photographs of the actual disaster there is a remarkable record of images of the ship’s final days thanks to Father Frank Browne, an Irish cleric and vocational photographer. His photos taken while a passenger on the ship, bring into focus all of the romance, drama, and tragedy of the great vessel.
In addition to the story of Father Browne, other colorful characters featured include the “unsinkable” Margaret “Molly” Brown of Denver, John Jacob Astor IV, one of the richest men in the world, Isador Strauss, co-owner of Macy’s, who died with his wife as the ship sank, and Millvina Dean, a nine-week-old baby, the youngest and ultimately the oldest survivor.
This is a fascinating book. The final chapter, “At Rest,” features recent images of the ship in its final resting place at the bottom of the Atlantic.
Titanic Voices: 63 Survivors Tell Their Extraordinary Stories by Hannah Holman (Amberley, $29.95)
There were over 700 survivors of the Titanic disaster.
Hannah Holman, a British writer who has been fascinated by the story of the Titanic since childhood, has gathered the personal accounts of 63 survivors in a highly readable book that is as informative as it is extremely dramatic. For example, the accounts document what it was like for a woman to leave her husband behind on the sinking ship, the experiences of being in a lifeboat, and, of course, the frightening reality of fighting to survive in the icy waters of the Atlantic.
This comprehensive collection includes many unpublished and long-forgotten accounts, all unabridged and with a narrative placing everything in context.
This is the first book to include extensive statements from female survivors and those traveling third class. Supplemented with rare images, this book includes such graphic accounts as this statement from Archibald Gracie, of Lifeboat B:
“I was in a whirlpool of water, swirling round and round, as I still tried to cling to the railing as the ship plunged to the depths below. Down, down, down, I went.”
Style Me Vintage: A Guide to Sourcing and Creating Retro Looks by Naomi Thompson (Pavilion, $15.95)
There is a trick to being able to pull off wearing vintage clothing without looking like a bag woman.
People throughout the country are searching thrift stores and specialty shops for vintage pieces they can fit into their day-to-day wardrobe. Old movies and such TV hits as “Mad Men” have popularized what is called “The Look.” This book reveals how to create authentic vintage clothing looks, whether from the 1920s or the 1980s.
Why, you might ask, would anyone be interested in clothing from the 1930s and 40s? Think glamour and quality. Much of the pre-WWII clothing features classic styles and fabrics. What woman wouldn’t want to copy the look of Jean Harlow or Lauren Bacall or man in a suit like the ones wore by Bogie?
If you go in search of vintage clothing, look for labels from such designers as Alice Pollock, Lillie Anne, Hattie Carnegie, and Frank Usher. Examine each piece carefully for wear or damage. If you find a piece that is beyond wearing or repair, don’t despair. The buttons can often still be salvaged and added to an existing garment that needs a little sprucing up.
This guide reveals the different looks from each decade from the 1920s through the 80s, reveals where to find, maintain, and repair vintage clothing, in addition to dating pieces. Almost anyone can develop a vintage style with a little help from this book.
Naomi Thompson is a stylist, vintage expert, and vintage shopper who runs the acclaimed website vintagesecret.com.
The Artist’s Safari: Capturing Africa in Pen, Lens, and Paintbrush by Fred Krakowiak (Maverick Brush Strokes, $40)
When some people go on an African safari, they bring along a gun. Fred Krakowiak, on the other hand, arms himself with a camera and ample art supplies.
Fred Krakowiak, based in Scottsdale, is recognized as a leading wildlife artist and safari expert. His artwork is commissioned internationally by both private and corporate collectors. His love of African wildlife is evident and reflected in his impressive work.
In “The Artist’s Safari,” Krakowiak takes readers on an exciting journey to various regions of Africa through his personal stories, photos, and paintings. From the tender bonding of a newly born giraffe and its mother, to a lazy afternoon spent with silverback gorillas in their mountaintop paradise, this wonderful collection is the next best thing to actually visiting Africa.
With a foreword by Dr. Laurie Marker, founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the artwork is breathtaking and the narrative crisp and pertinent.
To view Fred’s amazing artwork visit his website at www.maverickbrushstrokes.com.
Prizewinning Political Cartoons 2012 Edition edited by Dean R. Turnbloom with a foreword by Mike Keefe (Turnbloom/Pelican Books, $19.95)
Nothing can bring a situation into sharper focus than a political cartoon. Whether it is the loose, expressive style of Pulitzer Prize-winning Mike Keefe of The Denver Post, or the satirical works of Matt Wuerker, staff cartoonist of Politico, some of the most heated political controversies of the past year have been the focus of our most gifted, insightful cartoonists. The hot button issues covered in this collection include gays in the military, the Gulf Coast oil spill, the war in Iraq, George W. Bush, Obama, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and America’s 1%.
The featured cartoons represent what various panels of judges deemed the best of 2010-11. While that is a subjective call, these are, indeed, exceptional and provocative cartoons.
Dean P. Turnblook, based in Santee, California, has had his cartoon published in numerous publications including USA Today and CNN.com.
Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant to See by Francoise Mouly (Abrams, $24.95)
Some New Yorker covers become instant classics. For example, who can forget the covers depicting the White House fist-bumps of Obama and Michelle, Palin viewing Alaska from the window of her Wasilla home, or the totally black cover that followed 9/11, but what about the covers that didn’t make the cut, the ones we were never meant to see?
Francoise Mouly, an artist and designer, takes us behind the behind the scenes of the New Yorker to reveal how the magazine creates its signature covers and reveals many of the shocking and hilarious sketches that seemed to be too over-the-top to grace the cover of the magazine. These rejects address such topics as Michael Jackson and babies, gay marriage (again), Martin Luther King’s “bad dream,” Ahmadinejad on the toilet, and the “Ground Zero” mosque, and the work of artists such as Barry Blitt, Art Spiegelman, R. Crumb, and Ian Falconer. The chapters cover seven basic subjects: Race & Ethnicity; Sex; Religion; Politics; Celebrities; War & Disasters; and Is Nothing Taboo.
Mouly, who has been at The New Yorker since 1993, lets us peek at into the creative process at the magazine, showing how many artists have “blown” their covers while others have made the cut to contribute witty, funny, touching, and, yes, outrageous covers week after week that capture the aspects of our culture that sometimes seem to be just beyond conscious grasp.
Presidential Campaign Posters from the Library of Congress, Including 100 Ready-to-Frame Posters with a preface by Brooke Gladstone (Quirk Books, $40 softbound)
According to W. Ralph Eubanks, the Library of Congress’ publishing director, the American campaign poster was born when George Washington decided not to run for a third term. As Eubanks explains, the only way that opposing parties could convey their different messages was through handbills, broadsides, and other ephemera. It wasn’t long before the political poster made its way into our campaigns and evolved.
Eubanks believes that an iconic presidential poster must have several factors including a great slogan that is short and easy to remember, bold graphics, and a dignified portrayal of the candidate being promoted. A perfect modern example is Obama’s “Hope” poster used in the last presidential campaign.
This incredible collection features such classic examples as Ronald Reagan as “Ronbo,” the peace and prosperity design that promoted Eisenhower, the colorful Theodore Roosevelt/Charles W. Fairbanks poster of 1904, a psychedelic Bobby Kennedy, and the anti-Nixon parody that featured a pregnant woman and the phrase “Nixon’s the One.”
From the mudslinging of some of this country’s dirtiest campaigns to the more subtle ones, this book reveals the best and worst of American politics. Backed with colorful historical commentary and additional artwork from the elections that they came from, this is a visually stunning and historical intriguing overview of art that helps elect our presidents.