Summary: Sophisticated history and political science in graphic novel form.
I like the idea of being someone that reads graphic novels. And I have enjoyed most of those that I have read, but I rarely read them for some reason.
The Gettysburg Address was highlighted in some article or podcast when it first came out and I put it on my watch list (along with a gazillion other books.) When it went on sale right before Christmas I picked it up, in part to give myself something to read on my new Amazon Fire HD 6 to help justify the purchase price. (It is back on sale for $4.99 as of posting)
I was expecting the Gettysburg Address to be more simplistic, a well done 6th grade history in graphic novel form. But it was much more than that. It started out with a fairly long, fairly violent look at the reality of the Civil War before pulling back and really introducing the book.
The Gettysburg Address uses the text of the speech as an organzing principle and take it line by line to give history and background on the text. Starting with ‘four score and 20 years ago’ the book looks at Lincoln’s choice of referencing the declaration of Independence instead of the Constitution as the birth of the nation. And the inherent tension between the ‘All men are created equal’ of the Declaration and the acceptance of slavery that is written into the Constitution’s 3/5 compromise.
Telling both the story of the war and the political and social history that led up to the war, the authors do not gloss over uncomfortable realities of American history, the reality of war or the inherent evil of slavery.
I spent a couple weeks slowly reading this. The art is well done, the political science is subtle in explaining what needs to be explained without being didactic or condescending. So this would be appropriate for a high school student that is being introduced to the Civil War and does not have a lot of background as well as the person that has a good history background.
My one real complaints is that the entire text of the speech is not printed anywhere as a complete text. I would have liked to have been able to read it straight through and refer to it occasionally as I was reading the rest of the graphic novel.
My reading was split between my iPad 1 and my Amazon Fire HD 6. It was much more comfortable to read on the iPad because the screen is approximately the intended size of the page. The Amazon Fire HD 6 was big enough to read and see all the detail, but just a bit too small to be really comfortable.