Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel

( 3 )

Overview

Meet Boilerplate, the world’s first robot soldier—not in a present-day military lab or a science-fiction movie, but in the past, during one of the most fascinating periods of U.S. history. Designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 as a prototype, for the self-proclaimed purpose of “preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations,” Boilerplate charged into combat alongside such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia. Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, ...

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Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel (PagePerfect NOOK Book)

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Overview

Meet Boilerplate, the world’s first robot soldier—not in a present-day military lab or a science-fiction movie, but in the past, during one of the most fascinating periods of U.S. history. Designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 as a prototype, for the self-proclaimed purpose of “preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations,” Boilerplate charged into combat alongside such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia. Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, trekked to the South Pole, made silent movies, and hobnobbed with the likes of Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla.
 
You say you’ve never heard of Boilerplate before? That’s because this book is the fanciful creation of a husbandand-wife team who have richly imagined these characters and inserted them into accurate retellings of history. This full-color chronicle is profusely illustrated with graphics mimicking period style, including photos, paintings, posters, cartoons, maps, and even stereoscope cards. Part Jules Verne and part Zelig, it’s a great volume for a broad range of fans of science fiction, history, and robots.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Melissa Moore
Robots have existed for centuries, dating back at least to the first century AD, and the topic frequently captures the imagination of the public. Boilerplate—the creation of Professor Archie Campion—made appearances around the world for twenty years, and then he was lost. Campion lost his brother-in-law in the 1871 Korean War and created Boilerplate as an example of a robot-soldier, who could go in to battle and prevent the loss of human lives. Boilerplate made his debut at the Chicago World's Fair, traveled with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders, and met Laurence of Arabia in the desert. He appeared in silent films and rode with the Buffalo Soldiers. Or did he? Boilerplate actually never existed. He is the fictional creation of Guinan and Bennett, veterans of the comic book industry. They accurately retell twenty years of the nation's history and cleverly inserted Boilerplate into dozens of photos. The format is similar to the DK Eyewitness books, with an overall narrative frequently interrupted by sideline stories, maps, and pictures. The text is well-written, historically accurate, and engaging, with the interweaving of personal experience. The only problem this reviewer actually has with the book is that it looks too authentic; there is no note, no addendum to acknowledge that much of the book is a spoof. Only those familiar with history would know that Boilerplate is fake, which makes independent reading of this text potentially problematic for much of its audience. Reviewer: Melissa Moore
The Barnes & Noble Review
Supposedly invented by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 to prevent "the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations," the titular Boilerplate is a robot whose exploits this lavish coffee-table book documents in fun if exhaustive detail. An impressive array of visuals -- from black-and-white photos of Boilerplate at the South Pole to commemorative paintings of Boilerplate charging up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders -- support text that playfully places what Roosevelt calls "my mechanical 'mule' " in the middle of dozens of pivotal historical events. The Boxer Rebellion? The Second Battle of the Marne during World War I? Lawrence of Arabia's guerrilla campaigns? Boilerplate was there, sometimes in the starring role, sometimes as part of the backdrop. The doctored images and the original art replicating styles from various periods will delight readers, but it's the text that stops Boilerplate from being just lavish eye candy. The authors have cleverly used their robot as a delivery system for sometimes detailed analysis of historical events, even including maps of battles or spheres of influence. A section called "Popular Depictions of Boilerplate" provides much-needed contrast from the main narrative, with an imaginative parade of old magazine covers, posters from Boilerplate-inspired movies, Cubist representations of the robot, and even comics and collectible figurines. As for Boilerplate himself, he passed out of history during World War II, his fate connected to the so-called "Lost Battalion," but his legacy lives on in this wonderful book suitable for all ages. --Jeff VanderMeer
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810989504
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 905,186
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett have been collaborating on comics and graphic novels since 1989, including the Eisner Award–nominated science-fiction comic series Heartbreakers. Paul is an artist and writer whose clients include the History Channel and the Cartoon Network. Anina is a writer and editor who has worked with Dark Horse Comics and international publisher Egmont. They live in Portland, Oregon.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Where is Boilerplate?

    I first heard about this book because J.J. Abrams was looking to turn it into a movie. So I ordered it and I love it. It is seeing history through Boilerplate the first robotic man. It is like Forrest Gump for the early 20th Century. Riding to TR in the Spanish-American War, fight with and against Pancho Villa, and then disappearing in World War I. This book is for the history buff and the sci fi buff. But, I would like to know what happened to Boilerplate. Sequel?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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