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The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation

Overview

A fully illustrated graphic adaptation that offers a new look at the Gettysburg Address, the bloody battle that prompted it, and the Civil War

Most of us can recall "Four score and seven years ago," but much of what we know about this historic speech, and what it has to say about the Civil War itself, has been lost since we left grade school.

The Gettysburg Address offers a revolutionary way to experience Lincoln's masterwork. Striking at the ...

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Overview

A fully illustrated graphic adaptation that offers a new look at the Gettysburg Address, the bloody battle that prompted it, and the Civil War

Most of us can recall "Four score and seven years ago," but much of what we know about this historic speech, and what it has to say about the Civil War itself, has been lost since we left grade school.

The Gettysburg Address offers a revolutionary way to experience Lincoln's masterwork. Striking at the underlying meaning of Lincoln's words, it uses the Address to tell the whole story of the Civil War. We see how bitter seeds sown by the Founding Fathers sprouted into a bloody war, and ultimately blossomed into the progress and justice of the Civil Rights era. The book depicts pivotal events that led to the upheaval of the secession crisis, the crucial Battle of Gettysburg, and the conflict's still-unfolding legacy with firsthand accounts from Americans from all walks of life: slaves, soldiers, citizens, and, of course, Abraham Lincoln himself—the most transformational president in U.S. history.

Writer Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Aaron McConnell illuminate history with vibrant, detailed graphics and captions that will give you a fresh understanding of this vital speech, which defined America's most tragic war and marked a new path forward.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Many of us will admit to sleeping through history class but we might have stayed awake if we’d been taught by the crafters of this graphic novel, which examines one of our nation’s most oft-quoted presidential speeches. We are all familiar with “four score and seven years ago” and most of what follows—but how much of it have we ever really paid attention to or even attempted to understand? Hennessey’s text pores over Lincoln’s address and breaks down its 271 words into 17 sections, explaining the meaning of each passage from both historical and philosophical viewpoints, bolstered with exhaustive amounts of historical information. McConnell’s artwork lends the text considerable evocative gravitas and relates the stark truth of the Civil War and the years leading up to it, avoiding the larger-than-life, emotionally manipulative tropes sometimes found in depictions of that dire period. A real revelation that puts the speech’s content in proper context rather than presenting it as a bunch of pre-recorded hoary platitudes issuing from the mouth of an animatronic figure in a gaudy theme park. (June)
Village Voice (A Best Book of 2008)
“Intelligently written, lushly illustrated . . . Hennessey interweaves the Framers’ intent with contemporary battles over constitutional law, while McConnell colors history with masterful strokes. A civics lesson no one should miss.”
(A Best Book of 2008) - Village Voice
"Intelligently written, lushly illustrated . . . Hennessey interweaves the Framers’ intent with contemporary battles over constitutional law, while McConnell colors history with masterful strokes. A civics lesson no one should miss."
Rachel Maddow
Praise for The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation:“The coolest thing since Schoolhouse Rock.”
Cory Doctorow
“A sweet, quick, thoroughgoing history of the U.S. Constitution . . . You’d be hard-pressed to find a better primer for bringing the kids, foreigners and forgetful in your life up to speed.”
Charles Moss
“Before Obama is sworn in as the next U.S. president in January, let Hennessey and McConnell’s The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation be your refresher course.”
Jonathan Valania
“[A] must-read graphic novel treatment of the history, meaning and evolution of the United States Constitution. It should be a staple of every high school history class.”
Chris Wilson
“Aaron McConnell’s illustrations are brilliant in their effectiveness of depicting complex themes and ideas in discernable ways. The style is reminiscent of the political cartoons of yore and his use of iconography is clever and informative.”
Booklist
“A stellar nonfiction graphic novel. ... McConnell’s detailed and highly textured art. ... shows the variety of class-based, racial, and historical perspectives creating the mismatched lenses through which Americans view their own history.”
Slate Political Gabfest
“A very nuanced historical argument…”
Library Journal
This title may be way shorter than Hennessey and McConnell's earlier, successful graphic collaboration, the U.S. Constitution, but is no less meaty. Lincoln's 271-word speech acts as a lens to U.S. history, economics, and politics. As Hennessey and McConnell present in a clear narrative, both visually and metaphorically, we follow the historical and philosophic sources of North-South bipartisanship, some stemming from disharmonies between the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Numerous quotations from the period plus additional primary source information support the discussion. VERDICT Not a simplification but a detailed and nuanced analysis of Lincoln's famous speech, this excellent work will be much appreciated by educators and high school through postgraduate students. As the content reflects shades of gray rather than simple black and white, the realistic art varies the color for different periods and themes. A first-rate compendium of supporting references and information appears at www.graphicgettysburg.com.—M.C.
Kirkus Reviews
Where the format might lead some readers to anticipate a simplified primer, this second collaboration by Hennessey and McConnell (The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation, 2008) again finds them probing the implications of history through incisive analysis and compelling art. What the narrative terms "probably the most famous and influential speech in American history," "just 271 words in length and requiring no more than a few minutes to recite out loud," might not initially seem like enough of a hook for such an expansive examination. Yet practically every one of those words proves significant, as the scope of the book extends from the American Revolution to the present day, casting the Civil War as tragic and transformative but likely inevitable as well. It finds the country's two most revered and renowned documents--the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution--at odds with each other, as the equality celebrated in the former (though the degree to which that equality was intended to extend remains open to interpretation) finds itself on a collision course with the rights of the states (and distrust of a strong central government, after the tyranny of England) inherent in the latter. Add the profound differences between the North and South--in demographics, climate, economy, political orientation--and the intensification of those with the passage of time, and you've got an explosion waiting to happen. Resisting the temptation to reduce the conflict to a morality play--the evil of slavery vs. the ideal of emancipation (though there is that)--or to make President Abraham Lincoln more enlightened on race relations than a man of his time was likely to be--the authors combine historical depth with art that also finds shades of gray amid the black and white. Even Civil War buffs should find this graphic adaptation engaging, provocative and deftly nuanced.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061969768
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 309,123
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Hennessey is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Los Angeles.

Aaron McConnell is a freelance illustrator living in Oregon.

Jonathan Hennessey is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. He lives in Los Angeles.

Aaron McConnell is a freelance illustrator living in Oregon.

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