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MONDAY, JULY 04, 2011
 
     
Dr. Seuss needs no introduction - just about everyone has their particular favorite Dr. Seuss story, whether it's about the Grinch, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton, or my personal favorite - Oh, The Places You Will Go!, Dr. Seuss is a staple of childhood: those crazy named animals, flowers, places, with funny rhymes, and all caped with bizarre illustrations that you find yourself staring at well into adulthood. The Places You Will Go sticks out particularly for me, as I came across it right during my high school graduation, when one teacher decided to send us off by giving us the final "story time" of our lives.

Recently, when I was walking through a Barnes and Noble and passing the War History novels I came across something that stood out among the other history books: "Dr. Seuss Went to War" a series of editorial comics by Dr. Seuss from the second World War. For me, it was a different side to Seuss - while I never knew much about him, he was always associated with innocent childhood silliness. Curious about the book, I opened it up to reveal an entirely different Seuss. An angry Seuss, a darker Seuss, a Seuss impassioned by principle, a Seuss advocating America's entrance into the war to put an end to the Nazi's attempts at world domination. No Stroodles, no Vrooms, no Thidwicks or Zellars. No Jill-icka-Jast, Findow or Wellars.

Seuss was in strong opposition to Mussolini, Tojo, and Hitler. Moreover, he despised appeasers and isolationists who wanted no part in the war - particularly of Charles Lindbergh, who appears in many of Seuss' editorial comics. Many of the comics urged the need to be involved, showcasing the shame of those who wanted to keep America from entering the war. Furthermore, Seuss held nothing back when it came to those who had a more indifferent, and neutral stance - arguing that the disunity caused by criticizing Roosevelt and aiding the Soviet Union was aiding the Nazis. Even the Press was attacked.

Some comics were particularly controversial - some racially depicting Japanese Americans as traitors to America, while other comics condemned the racism against blacks and Jews. By the time America entered the War, Seuss turned his efforts in direct support to the war effort - drawing posters for the War Production Board, and later in the Army, Seuss wrote and made propaganda pieces, as well as some documentary pieces which would later win him an Academy Award.

As trite as it may sound, the book is a window to the past: offering an entirely different look at Seuss, as well as a unique perspective of America during the time of the second world war. It also casts an entirely new light on the current state of the world, and all with that trademark style of Seuss' drawings.
Comments

PhilWalker

PhilWalker

It's pretty surprising to see a more racial Dr. Seuss, particularly his depictions of the Japanese. It's hypocritical when he advocates for Jewish and Black rights, and then uses the derogatory term for Japanese, and uses a racially stereotypical imagery....



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