Latin America in Caricature (Texas Pan American Series) Paperback
by John J. Johnson (Author)
“Not many readers will thank the author as he deserves, for he has told us more about ourselves than we perhaps wish to know,” predicted Latin America in Books of Latin America in Caricature—an exploration of more than one hundred years of hemispheric relations through political cartoons collected from leading U.S. periodicals from the 1860s through 1980.
The cartoons are grouped according to recurring themes in diplomacy and complementing visual imagery. Each one is accompanied by a lengthy explanation of the incident portrayed, relating the drawing to public opinion of the day. Johnson’s thoughtful introduction and the comments that precede the individual chapters provide essential background for understanding U.S. attitudes and policies toward Latin America.
Series: Texas Pan American Series
Paperback: 340 pages
Publisher: University of Texas Press (March 1, 1993)
Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.7 x 8.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
A unique book, as entertaining as it is informative.
By A Customer on July 16, 1999
This book genuinely deserves a 5-star rating. Johnson not only gives fine insights into the nature of US stereotypes about Latin America/ns, he provides dozens of samples of a key source: editorial cartoons from US newspapers. They both intentionally & unintentionally reveal our prejudices & preconceptions about the regions & peoples who share the Western Hemisphere with us. The book has a sound introduction, but the heart of it is the cartoons themselves, which appear on odd-numbered pages with 1/2 to 1-page commentary opposite. These commentaries are essential to the book’s success, because they give context to many old cartoons which are otherwise as obscure as the long-ago events they depict. The emphasis is on major episodes in US-Latin American relations (Spanish-Cuban-Philippine-American War; Mexican Revolution; Good Neighbor Policy; Castro’s Cuba, etc.). While the cartoons are overtly political to a great extent, Johnson’s accompanying analyses skilfully reveal the cultural, ethnic & racial essentialism underpinning our perceptions of Latin America. Many readers will be surprised to learn how deep are the roots of such attitudes. Less surprisingly, the images, which have both influenced & reflected US attitudes, mostly portray negative stereotypes, but even these have varied over time with the shifting course of events. This book would be an outstanding text to use in a general Latin American Studies class, and also in courses on US-Latin American foreign relations. It is hardly a dryasdust academic treatise, & would be enjoyed by interested members of the general public. However, it could also be supplemented by works with a fuller discussion of the topic, such as Frederick Pike, “The United States and Latin America: Myths and Stereotypes of Civilization and Culture” (U of Texas Press, 1992).