“This book is both magnificently illustrated and beautifully written. I of course had known of Thomas Nast’s powerful illustrations and their impact on 19th Century political figures from Ulysses Grant to the Tweed Ring. But I had no idea of the breadth of his reach, the intricacy of his art, and the genius of his entrepreneurship. This is a book whose every page I will turn and then go back to again and again.”

— Paul Steiger, Executive Chairman of ProPublica, Former Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal

“John Adler, who brought us the invaluable digital resource HarpWeek, has now produced an outstanding biography that chronicles the life and times of the nineteenth century’s preeminent popular artist. America’s Most Influential Journalist and Premier Political Cartoonist fulfills our long-deferred need for a comprehensive biography of Thomas Nast, the towering figure in the history of political cartooning in the United States. Prodigiously researched and closely observed, this study offers us an unsurpassed compendium of Nast’s work and succeeds in capturing the man in all his dimensions, commitments, and passions. At the same time, through Adler’s sharp eye and detailed guidance, it illuminates the contexts, representations, meanings, and purposes of Nast’s extraordinary images. An informative introduction to those unfamiliar with the man and his times, even the most-informed reader will find cartoons and accounts they have not previously encountered. An impressive achievement, Adler’s book fills a previously yarning gap in the historiography of American politics and visual culture.”

— Joshua Brown, professor of history emeritus, former director of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, author of Beyond the Lines: Pictorial Reporting, Everyday Life, and the Crisis of Gilded Age America along with other studies on U.S. visual culture

“After more than 100 years of having to rely on Albert Bigelow Paine’s entertaining but hagiographic and error-filled Thomas Nast: His Period and His Pictures (1904), we finally have a biography of America’s greatest political cartoonist worthy of replacing it. John Adler’s America’s Most Influential Journalist and Premier Political Cartoonist: The Life, Times and Legacy of Thomas Nast. Adler has created a meticulous, comprehensive, fair, and accurate biography of the father of American cartooning. With more than two decades devoted to studying Nast’s entire massive output behind him, Adler is the perfect guide for 21st century readers interested in understanding Nast’s cartoons, learning about the politics that prompted them, and discerning the impact they had. At the end of journeying through this massive tome, we are left with an appreciation of Nast and his extraordinary achievement like never before”

— Richard Samuel West, Cartoon historian and biographer of 19th century cartoonists and publications

“John Adler’s America’s Most Influential Journalist and Premier Political Cartoonist: The Life, Times and Legacy of Thomas Nast brings together for the first time over 1000 of the famous political and social cartoons created by Thomas Nast. Nast is best remembered for his unrelenting visual campaign against William “Boss” Tweed. But Nast’s cartooning covered a far wider territory than Tweed alone. The Civil War, slavery, Reconstruction, Presidential campaigns, the currency — all were fat targets for Nast’s barbed drawing-pen.

Although Nast did not invent the political cartoon, he transformed it into the sharply-hewn iconographic weapon that it is today. Adler introduces us to the artist who wanted to be known as a history painter and book illustrator as well as a cartoonist, and this generously-proportioned collection of Nast’s images creates what could almost be a Nast encyclopedia. But it is, at the same time, an encyclopedia of hilarity — from Adler’s work, we learn the political history of Nast’s times, but we also cannot suppress more than a few laughs at a satiric wit that crosses the decades. It is a book to peruse for the sheer fun of Thomas Nast — and for the history of his times.”

— Allen C. Guelzo, Director, Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and prize-winning author of several books about the Civil War and nineteenth century American history

“While Nast’s creations are still familiar, Nast himself is not. But thanks to the exhaustive result of John Adler’s twenty-seven years of research, Nast steps out of the shadows, to stand side-by-side with more of his cartoons than have ever been collected in a single volume. The Nast that emerges is a complicated man whose progressive politics was usually in alignment with Mark Twain’s. In addition to organizing this broad sweep of visual and factual information, Adler also devotes attention to small details, such as establishing the correct date of Nast’s birth, once and for all, reproducing Nast’s Bavarian birth certificate. Of the more than 800 pages of this book, hardly a page does not contain one or more Nast cartoons, at times giving the reader the sensation of reading a graphic novel. The volume concludes with 70 pages of endnotes, a subject index arranged in outline form under themes and topics, an index to proper names, and a comprehensive bibliography. The general reader desiring to document Nast’s astonishing political influence, study his artistic techniques, track the social movements of that era, sort out Nast’s complicated relationships with the political and literary figures of his time, or simply learn more about Nast’s family life and personal struggles, will find it all in this handy hefty five-pound volume. Nast once wrote that he wished to be a “visual historian” and Adler’s stated aim is to “provide today’s readers with the same degree of insight and comprehension of his work that his original viewers had” (iii). Thanks to Adler’s hard work and grand presentation, Thomas Nast has been granted that wish.”

— Kevin MacDonald, The Mark Twain Forum

“John Adler acquired a large collection of Harper’s Weekly magazines from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and with it, a long term fascination with the illustrator, cartoonist and political commentator who captivated the nation with his superbly drawn caricatures and powerful images depicting corruption — Thomas Nast. Now, after nearly 30 years in the making and weeks before reaching his 95th birthday, Adler has produced the largest and most comprehensive overview of Thomas Nast — America’s Most Influential Journalist and Premier Political Cartoonist: The Life, Times and Legacy of Thomas Nast — a monumental work of more than 700 pages, complete with hundreds of Nast’s drawings. ‘My aim is to get Thomas Nast known to the public. He was the most influential journalist in American history,’ said Adler, a long-time Greenwich resident. ‘His cartoons display history the way it was. And they are as apt today as they were back then.'”

— Robert Marchant, Staff reporter for Hearst Media (Greenwich Time, August 14, 2022)