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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: A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up m more...
Amazon Says: A speck of dust is a tiny thing. In fact, five of them could fit into the period at the end of this sentence. On a clear, warm Sunday, April 14, 1935, a wild wind whipped up millions upon millions of these specks of dust to form a duster—a savage storm—on America's high southern plains. The sky turned black, sand-filled winds scoured the paint off houses and cars, trains derailed, and electricity coursed through the air. Sand and dirt fell like snow—people got lost in the gloom and suffocated . . . and that was just the beginning. Don Brown brings the Dirty Thirties to life with kinetic, highly saturated, and lively artwork in this graphic novel of one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl. less...
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Harvey Pekar's Cleveland by Harvey Pekar
Amazon Says: A lifelong Cleveland resident, Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) pioneered autobiographical comics, mining the mundane for magic since 1976 in his ongoing American Splendor series. Har more...
Amazon Says: A lifelong Cleveland resident, Harvey Pekar (1939-2010) pioneered autobiographical comics, mining the mundane for magic since 1976 in his ongoing American Splendor series. Harvey Pekar''s Cleveland is sadly one of his last, but happily one of his most definitive graphic novels. It combines classic American Splendor-ous autobiographical anecdotes with key moments and characters in the city''s history as relayed to us by Our Man and meticulously researched and rendered by artist Joseph Remnant. With an introduction by Alan Moore to boot! Published by ZIP Comics and Top Shelf Productions. 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: The period leading up to the Civil War was one of great change. Congress divided itself between Northerners and Southerners, citizens on the frontier took up arms against one more...
Amazon Says: The period leading up to the Civil War was one of great change. Congress divided itself between Northerners and Southerners, citizens on the frontier took up arms against one another, and movements for secession and abolition were more urgent than ever. In The Hammer and the Anvil, the award-winning author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and the renowned artist Wayne Vansant vividly depict the tumultuous time through the lives of two men who defined it: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. With a foreword by the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian James M. McPherson, The Hammer and the Anvil reveals that its protagonists each wrestled with the question of slavery from a young age. Douglass, a slave who was spared no brutality, once fought an especially cruel master and eventually escaped north to freedom. Lincoln, who was hired out by his father to do manual labor on neighbors’ farms, found this harsh life intolerable. As a senator, Lincoln sought ways to end the westward spread of slavery, believing that adding free states to the Union would diminish the power of the Southern states and lead to the gradual disappearance of the “peculiar institution.” Douglass was less patient. He had become a skilled orator and an influential editor of Northern abolitionist journals, and called on white Americans to honor their nation’s founding commitment to liberty. When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, Douglass hoped that the conflict would mean the end of slavery. But Lincoln delayed emancipation, and Douglass despaired—until he met the president face-to-face and recognized that their causes were one and the same. Featuring evocative and dramatic scenes of this seminal time, The Hammer and the Anvil will engage both Civil War buffs and young people new to the study of American history. 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: Round Table Comics' adaptation of the supreme law of the United States of America, created by the team at Round Table Companies, includes 100% of the original text from the Co more...
Amazon Says: Round Table Comics' adaptation of the supreme law of the United States of America, created by the team at Round Table Companies, includes 100% of the original text from the Constitution as well as a narrative to communicate the concepts from one of history's most important documents. Full color illustration throughout combines an entertaining read with the factual accuracy that readers of history expect. Adapted by Nadja Baer (Delivering Happiness: A Round Table Comic, Altucher Confidential: A Round Table Comic), illustrated by Nathan Lueth (Altucher Confidential, Everything's Okay), and overseen by former documentary filmmaker David Cohen, now VP of Round Table. Guidance provided by Dr. Katie Monnin, assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida. After releasing a variety of graphic works based on licensed bestselling business and motivational titles, Round Table Companies is turning to the educational market and releasing The Constitution. The full-color work includes the full text of the U.S. Constitution, brought to life by illustrations that examine its creation. Round Table Companies is best known for its line of Round Table Comics, comic adaptations of bestselling business titles like Chris Anderson's The Long Tail, or bestelling motivational titles like Robert Renteria's Mi Barrio (based on From the Barrio to the Board Room). Since 2010 the company has published multiple lines of nonfiction graphic adaptations of books by Tony Hsieh, Marshall Goldsmith, Tom Hopkins, Larry Winget and Chris Anderson. RTC worked with Dr. Katie Monnin, assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida, to produce a curriculum guide to supplement the comic book in the classroom. The curriculum guide has been released free of charge. less...
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Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi
Amazon Says: Two of America’s greatest explorers embark on the adventure that made their names—and sealed their fates.In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis, Mi more...
Amazon Says: Two of America’s greatest explorers embark on the adventure that made their names—and sealed their fates.In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed St. Louis, Missouri, for one of the greatest adventures this nation has ever known. Appointed and funded by President Jefferson himself, and led by a cadre of experts (including the famous Sacajawea), the expedition was considered a success almost before it had begun. From the start, the journey was plagued with illness, bad luck, unfriendly Indians, Lewis’s chronic depression, and, to top it all, the shattering surprise of the towering Rocky Mountains and the continental divide. But despite crippling setbacks, overwhelming doubts, and the bare facts of geography itself, Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific in 1806.Nick Bertozzi brings the harrowing—and, at times, hilarious—journey to vivid life on the pages of this oversized black-and-white graphic novel. With his passion for history and his knack for characterization, Bertozzi has made an intimate tale of a great American epic. less...
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Amazon Says: Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics formSince its landmark publication in 1980, A People’ more...
Amazon Says: Adapted from the bestselling grassroots history of the United States, the story of America in the world, told in comics formSince its landmark publication in 1980, A People’s History of the United States has had six new editions, sold more than 1.7 million copies, become required classroom reading throughout the country, and been turned into an acclaimed play. More than a successful book, A People’s History triggered a revolution in the way history is told, displacing the official versions with their emphasis on great men in high places to chronicle events as they were lived, from the bottom up.Now Howard Zinn, historian Paul Buhle, and cartoonist Mike Konopacki have collaborated to retell, in vibrant comics form, a most immediate and relevant chapter of A People’s History: the centuries-long story of America’s actions in the world. Narrated by Zinn, this version opens with the events of 9/11 and then jumps back to explore the cycles of U.S. expansionism from Wounded Knee to Iraq, stopping along the way at World War I, Central America, Vietnam, and the Iranian revolution. The book also follows the story of Zinn, the son of poor Jewish immigrants, from his childhood in the Brooklyn slums to his role as one of America’s leading historians.Shifting from world-shattering events to one family’s small revolutions, A People’s History of American Empire presents the classic ground-level history of America in a dazzling new form. 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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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 some of the comic world's leading talents. From legendary creators such as Will Eisner and Harvey Pekar to new talents on the cutting edge of the comics medium such as James Kochalka and cover artist Frank Cho, over 80 cartoonists from all areas of the cartooning world have joined together in this community effort. Released January 2002 from Alternative Comics, 9-11: Emergency Relief is a collection of these cartoonists' personal non-fiction accounts of their experiences related to the tragedy. 100% of the profits from the 9-11 Emergency Relief trade paperback will be donated to the American Red Cross. 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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Fax from Sarajevo by Joe Kubert
Amazon Says: In 1945, we told the world, Never again. In 1992, the promise was broken into bloody shards. That was the year the war broke out in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the year that genocide re more...
Amazon Says: In 1945, we told the world, Never again. In 1992, the promise was broken into bloody shards. That was the year the war broke out in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the year that genocide revisited the planet. It was the year that Ervin Rustemagic -- an international businessman whose clients included author Joe Kubert -- found himself and his family trapped in a city under siege. Ervin`s only means of communication to the outside world was via his fax machine. As Joe began to receive these messages from Ervin, he did what he had done for years -- he put the story to paper. less...
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