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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » On the Money: The Economy in Cartoons, 1925-2009 (New Yorker on the Money) » User review

Overall It's Not Quite On the Money

  • Sep 2, 2010

THE NEW YORKER is just as famous for the pieces of written prose found within its pages as it is for the cartoons that are scattered throughout. The magazine has cartoons that comment on everything from education, religion, sex, and pop culture. But the economy is probably the issue that cartoons in the magazine tackle most often. THE NEW YORKER: ON THE MONEY is a collection of cartoons selected from the magazine from 1925-2009. It contains work by over 60 different artists covering a span of over 8 decades. Some of the cartoons are seen from the vantage point of business people, some from the viewpoint of the working class, others from the poor and destitute. Like the magazine in general and the cartoons in each issue specifically, some of the cartoons are hilarious and some make very little sense at all.

Upon reading the book, two things intrigued me the most. The first is how one could both gain a bit of historical perspective by reading the comics. There are a few comics in every decade which are very time-specific. Jokes about the Great Depression won't make sense to someone in the 21st Century who has no direct connection to that time, nor will jokes about the super inflation of the 1970s or jokes from the late 1990s and early 2000s about the "dot com" boom and bust. A person with some knowledge about history will appreciate these cartoons more than someone with not historical interest.

The other thing I found interesting is how little the humor of THE NEW YORKER cartoons have changed over time. Other than first few years of strips from the 1920s and the handful of strips from each era that require some historical knowledge, the majority of the cartoons could have been written anytime from the 1920s until today. It could be said that this shows that the cartoons in THE NEW YORKER are just as relevant today as they were 85 years ago. I disagree. I think it shows that the editors of the cartoons in THE NEW YORKER just like to keep with things they know are safe; you can see the same joke retold in a different format told not only across the different decades, but told several times in the same decade. The jokes are funny the first few times you read them, but after awhile I found myself thinking, "Can't these guys come up with something new?"

THE NEW YORKER: ON THE MONEY includes a nice introduction by author Malcolm Gladwell (he of THE TIPPING POINT fame). I enjoyed the essay. It gave me a more appreciation for some of the comics than I would have had if I had just read the book without reading the introduction.

Overall, THE NEW YORKER: ON THE MONEY is a decent collection of economic cartoons. Some of them provide a glimpse into the historical record, but the many are just rehashes of the same joke told over and over. Fans of THE NEW YORKER cartoons might enjoy the book and anyone who enjoys cartoons and comics in general might want to examine the book.

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September 03, 2010
I've never actually enjoyed the New Yorker cartoons, so this is probably not the book for me. Nice review, though.
More On the Money: The Economy in C... reviews
review by . September 30, 2009
This compendium of New Yorker cartoons concerning money span the decades from the 1920s through the present. Going through the book, it's interesting to see how stlyes and attitudes change, particularly as regards money and our financial system.    Some of the cartoons from the earlier decades clearly show their age and the way folks perceived money and business. Even through the latest ones, there is an undercurrent of anti-business in these drawings. The rich and powerful are …
review by . September 23, 2009
The New Yorker Economy in Cartoons is a pleasant little collection of jokes about wealth.    The collections crosses era after era, we see the excess of the 20's the Crash of the 30, the war in the 40s and the ups and downs that follow.    In terms of the quality of the cartoons themselves we see the subtle changes in style as the decades pass but the quality is always there.. Until the 80's these variations are small but once we get toward the end of the …
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About this book


The New Yorkerhas been at the forefront of social commentary since it was first published in 1925. Even when the markets have been down, its famous single-panel cartoons have found a way to add humor to the economic landscape.

In On the Money, fans can revel in over 350 of The New Yorker's best cartoons on the theme of money, culled from the past 80+ years. From bossy businessmen to crooked creditors to slighted stockholders, no one in the financial world has escaped humorously critical jabs from the master of cartoon humor. The collection is edited by The New Yorker's cartoon editor, Robert Mankoff, and includes an introduction by the best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell.

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Books, Cafe Libri, Economy, Cartoons, New Yorker, New Yorker Cartoons


ISBN-10: 0740784900
ISBN-13: 978-0740784903
Author: The New Yorker
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

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