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The Graphic Truth: History

Our survey of graphic nonfiction continues with history. These books aren’t potted summaries for students seeking a shortcut but fully realized narratives with the illustrations enriching the historical record.

Some recent publications are quite innovative, such as Joe Sacco’s The Great War, July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, which is a 24-foot-long foldout panorama of the grim battlefield scene. In Bohemians: A Graphic Anthology, various comic illustrators take on historical figures ranging from Walt Whitman to Thelonius Monk. Nadja Baer and Nathan Lueth’s The United States Constitution: A Round Table Comic interweaves the full text of the Constitution with dramatization of the proceedings at the Constitutional Convention.

Check out the following titles from Richland Library’s collection to get your history with graphics.


Amazon Says: In the Great American Documents series, the teacher and graphic-book author Ruth Ashby and the renowned illustrator Ernie Colón tell the story of the United States through th more...
Amazon Says: In the Great American Documents series, the teacher and graphic-book author Ruth Ashby and the renowned illustrator Ernie Colón tell the story of the United States through the major speeches, laws, proclamations, court decisions, and essays that shaped it.The Great American Documents: Volume 1 introduces as series narrator none other than Uncle Sam, who walks us through twenty essential documents bookended by the Mayflower Compact in 1620 and the Indian Removal Act in 1830. Each document gets a chapter, in which Uncle Sam explains its key passages, its origins, how it came to be written, and its impact. In the chapter “The Maryland Toleration Act,” we learn that this document was one of the first blueprints for modern religious tolerance. “Common Sense” depicts the Boston Tea Party and the British response as the prelude to Paine’s stirring pamphlet. And “The Louisiana Purchase” closes with Lewis and Clark setting off to map Jefferson’s “empire of liberty.” As Ashby and Colón show, the creation of that empire resulted in immense prosperity but also meant the extension of slavery and the forcible removal of the Native Americans. Their balanced and teachable theme is that these twenty documents reveal our early struggles to live up to the principles of liberty and equality. This graphic primer is an indispensable resource for students and anyone else who wants the facts of American history close at hand. less...
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Amazon Says: The nineteenth-century countercultures that came to define the bohemian lifestyle spanned both sides of the Atlantic, ranging from Walt Whitman to Josephine Baker, and from Ge more...
Amazon Says: The nineteenth-century countercultures that came to define the bohemian lifestyle spanned both sides of the Atlantic, ranging from Walt Whitman to Josephine Baker, and from Gertrude Stein to Thelonius Monk. Bohemians is the graphic history of this movement and its illustrious figures, recovering the utopian ideas behind millennial communities, and covering the rise of Greenwich Village, the multiracial and radical jazz world, and West Coast and Midwest bohemians, among other scenes. Drawn by an all-star cast of comics artists, including rising figures like Sabrina Jones, Lance Tooks, and Summer McClinton, alongside established artists like Peter Kuper and Spain Rodriguez, Bohemians is a broad and entertaining account of the rebel impulse in American cultural history. featuring work by Spain Rodriguez, Sharon Rudahl, Peter Kuper,  Sabrina Jones, David Lasky, Afua Richardson, Lance Tooks, Milton Knight, and others. The ebook edition is expanded from the paperback edition, and includes additional chapters on the swing music scene, La Boheme and midwest bohemians, as well as expanded material on the Greenwich Village intellectuals, Walt Whitman and Harlem jazz club Minton's Playhouse. less...
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Amazon Says: From “the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman” (Economist) comes a monumental, wordless depiction of the most infamous day of World War I. Launched on July 1, 1916, the Ba more...
Amazon Says: From “the heir to R. Crumb and Art Spiegelman” (Economist) comes a monumental, wordless depiction of the most infamous day of World War I. Launched on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomize the madness of the First World War. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 were wounded that first day, and there were more than one million casualties by the time the offensive halted. In The Great War, acclaimed cartoon journalist Joe Sacco depicts the events of that day in an extraordinary, 24-foot- long panorama: from General Douglas Haig and the massive artillery positions behind the trench lines to the legions of soldiers going “over the top” and getting cut down in no-man’s-land, to the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers retreating and the dead being buried en masse. Printed on fine accordion-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe slipcase with a 16-page booklet, The Great War is a landmark in Sacco’s illustrious career and allows us to see the War to End All Wars as we’ve never seen it before. 24 plates less...
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Amazon Says: Normandy depicts the planning and execution of Operation Overlord in 96 full-color pages. The initial paratrooper assault is shown, as well as the storming of the five D-Day b more...
Amazon Says: Normandy depicts the planning and execution of Operation Overlord in 96 full-color pages. The initial paratrooper assault is shown, as well as the storming of the five D-Day beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. But the story does not end there. Once the Allies got ashore, they had to stay ashore. The Germans made every effort to push them back into the sea. This book depicts the such key events in the Allied liberation of Europe as: 1. Construction of the Mulberry Harbors, two giant artificial harbors built in England and floated across the English Channel so that troops, vehicles, and supplies could be offloaded across the invasion beaches.2. The Capture of Cherbourg, the nearest French port, against a labyrinth of Gennan pillboxes.3. The American fight through the heavy bocage (hedgerow country) to take the vital town of Saint-Lô.4. The British-Canadian struggle for the city of Caen against the “Hitler Youth Division,” made up of 23,000 seventeen- and eighteen-year-old Nazi fanatics.5. The breakout of General Patton’s Third Army and the desperate US 30th Division’s defense of Mortaine.6. The Falaise Pocket, known as the “Killing Ground, ” where the remnants of two German armies were trapped and bombed and shelled into submission. The slaughter was so great that 5,000 Germans were buried in one mass grave. 7. The Liberation of Paris, led by the 2nd Free French Armored Division, which had been fighting for four long years with this goal in mind. less...
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Amazon Says: Presenting the American Revolution in a fun, easy-to-understand fashion, Stan Mack’s illustrated rendition makes history entertaining while providing lucid insight into the more...
Amazon Says: Presenting the American Revolution in a fun, easy-to-understand fashion, Stan Mack’s illustrated rendition makes history entertaining while providing lucid insight into the revolution’s real-life participants, as well as its successes and failures. This graphic account of the birth of the United States stars a chubby, insecure King George III, rebellious and misunderstood colonists, and loudmouthed and insensitive aristocrats, providing information about the Boston Tea Party and the revolt against the status quo. Uncannily relevant to today’s world, this whimsical and informative pictorial history tells the story of the original peoples’ insurgence. less...
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Amazon Says: The History of SDS as You've Never Seen It Before   In 1962 at a United Auto Workers' camp in Michigan, Students for a Democratic Society held its historic convention and pre more...
Amazon Says: The History of SDS as You've Never Seen It Before   In 1962 at a United Auto Workers' camp in Michigan, Students for a Democratic Society held its historic convention and prepared the famous Port Huron Statement, drafted by Tom Hayden. This statement, criticizing the U.S. government's failure to pursue international peace or address domestic inequality, became the organization's manifesto. Its last convention was held in 1969 in Chicago, where, collapsing under the weight of its notoriety and popularity, it shattered into myriad factions. Through brilliant art and they were-there dialogue, famed graphic novelist Harvey Pekar, gifted artist Gary Dumm, and renowned historian Paul Buhle illustrate the tumultuous decade that first defined and then was defined by the men and women who gathered under the SDS banner. Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History captures the idealism and activism that drove a generation of young Americans to believe that even one person's actions can help transform the world. less...
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Amazon Says: The Cartoon History of the Modern World is a wickedly funny take on modern history. It is essentially a complete and up–to–date course in college level Modern World Histor more...
Amazon Says: The Cartoon History of the Modern World is a wickedly funny take on modern history. It is essentially a complete and up–to–date course in college level Modern World History, but presented as a graphic novel. In an engaging and humorous graphic style, Larry Gonick covers the history, personalities and big topics that have shaped our universe over the past five centuries, including the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the evolution of political, social, economic, and scientific thought, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, the Cold War, Globalization––and much more. Volume I of the Cartoon History of the Modern World picks up from Gonick's award winning Cartoon History of the Universe Series. That series began with the Big Bang and ended with Christopher Columbus sailing for the New World. This book starts off with peoples that Columbus "discovered" and ends with the U.S. Revolution. less...
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Amazon Says: The 9/11 Report for Every American On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government's fulfillment of the recommendations issued in Ju more...
Amazon Says: The 9/11 Report for Every American On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government's fulfillment of the recommendations issued in July 2004: one A, twelve Bs, nine Cs, twelve Ds, three Fs, and four incompletes. Here is stunning evidence that Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, with more than sixty years of experience in the comic-book industry between them, were right: far, far too few Americans have read, grasped, and demanded action on the Commission's investigation into the events of that tragic day and the lessons America must learn. Using every skill and storytelling method Jacobson and Colón have learned over the decades, they have produced the most accessible version of the 9/11 Report. Jacobson's text frequently follows word for word the original report, faithfully captures its investigative thoroughness, and covers its entire scope, even including the Commission's final report card. Colón's stunning artwork powerfully conveys the facts, insights, and urgency of the original. Published on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, an event that has left no aspect of American foreign or domestic policy untouched, The 9/11 Report puts at every American's fingertips the most defining event of the century. less...
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9-11: Emergency Relief by Harvey Pekar
Amazon Says: The terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 touched people worldwide, and cartoonists have turned to art to express their grief an more...
Amazon Says: The terrorist attacks in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001 touched people worldwide, and cartoonists have turned to art to express their grief and support. 9-11: Emergency Relief is a comic book project to benefit the American Red Cross featuring over 80 of the comic world’s leading talents. less...
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Amazon Says: The winner of the 2001 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album. Sacco spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, research more...
Amazon Says: The winner of the 2001 Eisner Award for Best New Graphic Album. Sacco spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage, emerging with this astonishing first-person account. Praised by The New York Times, Brill's Content and Publishers Weekly, Safe Area Gorazde is the long-awaited and highly sought after 240-page look at war in the former Yugoslavia. Sacco (the critically-acclaimed author of Palestine) spent five months in Bosnia in 1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage. The book focuses on the Muslim-held enclave of Gorazde, which was besieged by Bosnian Serbs during the war. Sacco lived for a month in Gorazde, entering before the Muslims trapped inside had access to the outside world, electricity or running water. Safe Area Gorazde is Sacco's magnum opus and with it he is poised too become one of America's most noted journalists. The book features an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, political columnist for The Nation and Vanity Fair. less...
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