Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Frontby Todd DePastino
A self-described “desert rat” who rocketed to fame at the age of twenty-two, Bill Mauldin used flashing black brush lines and sardonic captions to capture the world of the American combat soldier in World War II. His cartoon
“A deeply felt, vivacious and wonderfully illustrated biography.” Clancy Sigal, Los Angeles Times Book Review
A self-described “desert rat” who rocketed to fame at the age of twenty-two, Bill Mauldin used flashing black brush lines and sardonic captions to capture the world of the American combat soldier in World War II. His cartoon dogfaces, Willie and Joe, appeared in Stars and Stripes and hundreds of newspapers back home, bearing grim witness to life in the foxhole. We’ve never viewed war in the same way since. This lushly illustrated biography draws on private papers, correspondence, and thousands of original drawings to render a full portrait of a complex and quintessentially American genius.
Historian DePastino (Citizen Hobo) eloquently memorializes cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who won fame as "the leading spokesman for the American combat soldier" during World War II, in this authoritative biography. Mauldin (1921-2003) grew up in Depression-era New Mexico in a dysfunctional family. After studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts for one year, he joined the newly mobilized 45th Infantry Division of the Arizona National Guard. Mauldin then became the 45th Division News's cartoonist. Deployed to North Africa in 1943, Mauldin participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy. In 1944, while on staff at the GI newspaper Stars and Stripes, Mauldin created his signature characters, the weary and disheveled infantrymen Willie and Joe. Willie and Joe became soldiers' heroes and anathema to brass such as Gen. George Patton, who threatened to throw Mauldin in jail for his characters' indolence. After the war, Mauldin published bestselling cartoon collections, worked briefly as an actor, ran unsuccessfully for Congress and ended his career with two Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning. Thoroughly researched and sprightly written, DePastino's balanced biography is a solid introduction to an American original. Classic Mauldin cartoons are an entertaining bonus. (Feb.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
DePastino (history, Waynesburg Coll., Pittsburgh; Citizen Hobo) offers the first biography of Mauldin, creator of the wildly popular cartoon strip Upfront, which featured ordinary GIs Willie and Joe during World War II. Unflinchingly, the author writes of the New Mexico boy with little education but plenty of talent and drive who joined the Arizona National Guard for rent money and then entered the army's 45th Infantry Division in World War II. Shipped to North Africa, then Italy, he drew about the grinding war for the soldiers' newspaper, Stars and Stripes, from the soldiers' viewpoint. His lifelong distrust of authority and a penchant for deflating egos led to noisy confrontations with powers such as George Patton, who wanted him arrested. Mauldin was awarded the Pulitzer Prize at age 23. After the war, he was a political cartoonist, editorialist, and favorite on the veterans' circuit. In the Sixties, he first supported the Vietnam War, then turned determinedly against it. This biography does not flinch from Mauldin's tumultuous personal life, marked by three wives and serious alcohol use, but does concentrate on his drawing and writing careers. A lively and thoroughly readable account of an American original illustrated with 90 of Mauldin's drawings; recommended for all libraries.
Edwin B. Burgess
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Todd DePastino is the author of Citizen Hobo: How a Century of Homelessness Shaped America and Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, and the editor of the cartoon collections Willie & Joe: The WWII Years and Willie & Joe: Back Home. He teaches history and writes and lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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Even though I heard his name all my life and saw many of his drawings; I never realized the scope and depth of his life and talent and the positive influence he has had in America [outside his war-time experience]. Anyone who can 'stare-down' Patton [and survive in tact] has great strength of character [and not a few friends in high places]. If you have ever been 'talked to' by a four-star general in an unpleasant [for you] circumstance then you know first-hand of what I speak. Too bad there is some sort of legal/publication restrictions in the eBook version that prevents seeing his work [but you get a glimpse of his talent on the cover]. He is a brilliant color in the [quickly fading] fabric of American history.
I really enjoyed this biography of the iconic WWII cartoonist Sgt. Bill Mauldin, creator of Willie & Joe, composites of the American soldier fighting in Europe. While it's a great read, "due to permissive issues," none, absolutely none of Mauldin's artwork is published. Wouldn't readers have a right to expect to see the very art that defined the man? I consider myself ripped off. To Barnes & Noble: If you can't publish an E-book in its full print version to include graphics, photos, etc., don't publish an e-version at all. I would appreciate if B&N would send me a gratis hard or softback version... one with all the illustrations. Thanks. JD Leipold