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This is one of the three pre-war Tintin books which are not in general circulation in English, and for fairly good reason; it's not all that good. Tintin goes to America in 1931, briefly captures Al Capone (who was still just about at liberty in real life at that stage), is himself captured by the Blackfoot tribe, and then has a series of unlikely and disjointed adventures ending with him rolling up the entire Chicago Syndicate of Gansters and sent back to Belgium as a hero. The only African-Americans in the book (at least in the current version) are lynched off-screen (apparently even this is omitted in the English translation), and the Blackfoot are kicked off their land because Tintin discovers oil on it; Hergé is at least offering a critique of racism, though not a very elegant one. It's interesting as a fore-runner of the much better stuff to come. It's a very long time since I last read Cigars of the Pharaoh, the next album in sequence, but my memory is that it is a massive upshift in quality and coherence compared with this.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
>>(apparently even this is omitted in the English translation)<< And also the German translation I have.

>>Hergé is at least offering a critique of racism, though not a very elegant one.<< I did like the detail of how they offer Tintin money when they think it's his land, but just kick the Blackfoot off when they realise it's their land.

You're right about Cigars of Pharaoh. The next few books contain most of my favourites.
Apr. 29th, 2011 09:56 am (UTC)
I'm surprised: in the eighties in the UK my local library had this in the same uniform edition as all the rest (which did not acknowledge the existence of "Land of the Soviets" or "Congo"). Maybe it's become considered more politically dodgy since then?
Apr. 29th, 2011 10:07 am (UTC)
I confess that I don't have current information about its avalability in the UK. I don't think it was easy to get hold of in the 1970s. Probably the publishers considered that deleting the lynching references and whitening up the stereotyped black characters made it All Right Then.
Apr. 29th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC)
I don't remember if those were excised in the copy I read, and was probably too young to notice.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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