Angel 's Reviews > Posters for the People: Art of the WPA

Posters for the People by Ennis Carter
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's review
Nov 20, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: art-and-photography, history, pop-culture
Recommended for: history buffs, esp. if interested in New Deal era and WPA, art fans
Read from November 10 to 20, 2011 , read count: 1

This is an excellent book that I think more people should be reading and looking over. The book is a collection of posters made by the agencies of the WPA during the New Deal. The neat thing is a lot of the posters have not been seen before. According to the WPA Living Archive (a preservation project and compilers of the book), most of the posters that still exist are being preserved in the Library of Congress. Now, the LOC has about 900 posters out of an estimated millions out there; according to the book, about 35,000 designs were made and two million posters printed. Many of the remaining posters are in private collections, or lost. The Living Archive seeks these out, and this book compiles some of the best they have found.

The book has some introductory text, and a small statement about the Living Archive at the end. The rest is just the posters. The book is arranged by topics, say work, health, democracy, and travel. Now some people may simply denigrate the work as propaganda; after all, these posters were made to promote various government programs, so they would fit the definition (technically) of propaganda. However, we could see this as positive propaganda. For one, this was the New Deal, a time when the government put a lot of people to work, including artists, in order to keep the nation alive in a time of depression (maybe kind of what the government in the U.S. should be doing now, a new national work program, but that is a separate discussion). Also, the posters do display great art; there is a variety of art styles present which makes them just beautiful works of art as well. The book is a pleasure to browse through.

If you are a history buff, or you appreciate good art, this is a book you may want to add to your collection. Libraries definitely need to have this in their collections not only in the interest of art but also in the interest of preserving a small piece of history and sharing it with the community. Worth seeking out.

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Reading Progress

11/11/2011 page 28
11/14/2011 page 90
38.0% "So far, a very fascinating and neat book."

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