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Private Eye a Cartoon History Hardcover – 23 Sep 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Private Eye Productions Ltd.; 1st Edition edition (23 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901784614
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901784619
  • Product Dimensions: 21.2 x 3.2 x 26.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Oct. 2013
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Excellent book and cut above the usual cartoon anthology. For a start this is printed on a decent bit of paper because colour is used throughout the pages: for photos, cartoons and panels with several biogs of artists and a sampling of their work. Each decade gets a chapter with relevant jokes and also those regular strips that appeared over the years like Grocer Heath and his pals, Hom Sap, Yobs, Great bores of today, Celeb et cetera.

Book editor Nick Newman must have had a hard job selecting these few hundred from the 30,000 published in the Eye over the years but page after page shows he made a wise choice every time. Especially in the art from earlier years relating to a contemporary event back then which is still funny now.

The Index is a long listing of great British cartoonists with very generous helpings from Dave Austin, Michael Heath, Martin Honeyset, Tony Husband, Ed McLachlan (just brilliant) Nick Newman and Robert Thompson. The others get between one and twenty-five or so cartoons though my favourite Ray Lowry only has sixteen!

This is a nostalgic treat for PE readers, non-readers will enjoy it too.
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This is one of those books where you already KNOW whether you want it or not. When people ask me whether I still read Private Eye, I challenge the word 'still'; for, while I dipped in and out as a teenager in the 60s, and can still recall some of the items in this volume, it was the Hislop era - still esoteric, but not quite so - that made me a more regular reader (ironic, since IH has callously rejected all of my own submissions, not just to the Eye - including one ultimate 'Try Punch' rebuttal - but also when script editing at Spitting Image!) I was actually attracted circa 1990 by the quality and topicality of the cartoons, as well as, I admit it, the easy-to-read items like Colemanballs; again, some of those cartoons are here. Nick Newman admits to finding a gargantuan task in choosing representative cartoons from half a century: every reader would choose differently - from each other, not just from Nick. Some of the material I've seen before (in reprints, I mean, otherwise that's a daft comment) - including in the more-or-less companion volume, `Private Eye - the First 50 Years' - but not with enough duplication to spoil the read. The sections are organised decade by decade, with capsule biogs interspersed for the higher-profile cartoonists; revealing a mix of backgrounds, blending public school with comprehensive and `respectable' office workers with more casual types. It's funny how Willy Rushton's drawings, with those distinctive `uncloven-hoof' feet, seemed bang in vogue at the time; as did others like Scarfe, whose style, like denim, hasn't really run out of date. I was chuffed to see that at least four Eye cartoonists are from my old stomping-ground - proving that you need a sense of humour to live (and, regrettably, pass away) in Leicester.Read more ›
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By Bluecashmere. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Feb. 2014
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Any collection of cartoons which includes the wonderful talents of Steadman, Heath, McClachlann, Honeysett, Woodcock and Larry amongst others cannot be anything other than a treasure. Humour is a personal thing, but for myself I can’t think of anywhere I’d go with more certainty of being reduced to helpless laughter again and again.

The collection is also no less than a social history in miniature. It is a particular joy for me to see how before political correctness took its stranglehold we could laugh without malice at personal, social and national foibles now seized on quite unreasonably as offensive and likely to bring odium down upon us, if not a fine or a prison sentence!

A book to return to over and over and over and……
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It came as a shock to realise, as I perused the early pages of this book, that I vividly recall reading not only the first few issues of the Eye, but even Mesopotamia - which Richard Ingrams edited at Oxford before starting up the Eye. One comes to take the Eye's excellent journalism and muckraking for granted after the first few decades, and it's easy to forget how many truly wonderful cartoons it has included. As editor Nick Newman, a frequent contributor himself, remarks in his Foreword, "They come in all shapes and sizes - and range from the hilarious to the frankly deranged. Some are offensive - or in the most appalling taste: these are invariably published". Right at the start, in the section on the 1960s, I was amazed to recognise Willie Rushton's "Special peculiarities, Sir, a mole on the head?" - "Great Powers!" (as the gent in question removes his bowler hat to reveal an actual mole). Down the years, the styles and favourite topics vary: all that remains constant is the high quality and the refreshingly appalling taste.

This book stands on its own as a treat for any cartoon-lover. But it also complements such previous epics as Private Eye the First 50 Years: An A-Z and Private Eye Bumper Book of Covers. As with them, as soon as you dip into "A Cartoon History" you will be strongly reminded of Private Eye's unique qualities, and why you keep reading it. In the words of the back cover blurb, 'With an introduction by TV's Ian Hislop, it is the perfect companion piece to the pot plant in your downstairs loo (surely "Private Eye - The First 50 Years" by Adam Macqueen? Ed.)'
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