Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey & Aaron McConnell

It is amazing how a graphic novel can take a complex subject and not only make it understandable but truly enjoyable. My first thought was how could they make a graphic novel from a such a short speech (lasting less then 300 words). The author expands upon the speech's text by examining the meaning behind each line. It is a trip through a sad, violent and shameful part of our history where slavery was legal and by some people's arguments moral.

I have never read an account that covers the events leading up to the civil war, the war itself and the aftermath with such clarity. Looking from our current place in history,  it is hard to read some of the arguments made in favor of slavery. People used economics, religion, politics and any other number or reasons to keep the institution of slavery preserved. People passionately believed in the reasons, too. It's why the Civil War was so bloody and much longer than people predicted.

But the Civil War was not driven just by slavery. The long struggle (going back to the creation of the Constitution) is also about the role of the federal government and how much power it should wield over state governments. Like so many other times in history, this is a complicated series of events involving many people across many decades.

The words Lincoln spoke 150 years ago are still relevant. We live in a world full of people who are persecuted, held captive and killed for nothing more than their race or gender or sexual orientation. I highly recommend this to anyone - it may help us understand where we have been and how we can shape where we are going.

For more info, check out the Evergreen Library catalog.

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