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Nat Turner Paperback – Bargain Price, June 1, 2008

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Paperback, Bargain Price, June 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up—Originally self-published in four installments, Nat Turner follows the dark legacy of the Virginia slave rebellion and subsequent murders of at least 55 white slave owners and their families in 1831. Baker presents a cinematic reel that integrates beautiful sepia-toned panels, newspaper headlines in period font, photographs, and historical texts; most heavily drawn from is the recorded Confessions of Nat Turner. The book begins with the brutal capture, mistreatment, and direct and indirect murder of native Africans by white fortune seekers, with disturbing detail such as the sharks following slave ships for the plentiful corpses thrown overboard. These images, as described by a young Turner to his astonished first-generation relatives, were apparently some of the first in a number of "visions" that the staunchly religious man experienced throughout his short life. Turner is presented as a fiercely intelligent, angry, yet steadfast individual whose potential was dashed in an era of hate and inhumanity. Those characteristics are mirrored in the actions of the slaves' rebellion, in illustrations that are not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. The ideas brought forth here are sure to ignite debate and discussion, and this book would be a most interesting companion to other studies of antebellum history such as Edward P. Jones's The Known World (HarperCollins, 2003).—Shannon Peterson, Kitsap Regional Library, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Kyle Baker—writer, artist, animator, director, and publisher—has written and illustrated thirteen graphic novels and won multiple Eisner and Harvey Awards. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Esquire, Spin, Rolling Stone, The Voice, EW, and Details, and he has worked for Disney, Warner Bros., HBO, Dreamworks, Cartoon Network, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Random House, Nickelodeon, and Scholastic. He lives in New York City.







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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810972271
  • ASIN: B002CMLQF2
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,399,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rob O on July 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is easily one of the most stunning graphic novels of the past decade, and Baker might just be one of the most important graphic novelists around now. The book is virtually wordless, except for minimal sound effects and dialog, along with historical source notes. Baker doesn't ignore the violence of his source material, but his portrayal of one of the most controversial moments in the history of slavery in America is safe enough for even very young readers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sharon M. Galbraith Ryer on April 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Not for the squeamish. Baker's art is graphic and pulls no punches. The brutality inherent in the Turner uprising, as well as in the conditions that led to it, are brilliantly and painfully depicted with few words other than Turner's own. A haunting portrait of the hate that hate built in the American South.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeremiah M. Bear on July 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
For Kyle Baker, Nat Turner represents a new era of depth and artistic vision. Before, there was no cartoonist wittier but now Baker has taken his talents another step forward by producing one of the most moving graphic novels in print.

I imagine there's a temptation to take an historic event this dramatic, one that starts and ends with heart-rending horror, and tie it up neatly with a cute moral or explanation. Thankfully, Baker offers neither and allows us to think for ourselves about the events described.

From a technical standpoint, the book is a marvel. A massive, moving work told almost completely without dialogue... a technique that enhances the mood rather than squelching it.

Thanks, Kyle, for Nat Turner. The bar has been raised in biographical cartooning.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mindmatters on April 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hated Shakespeare until a teacher suggested consulting the "No Fear Shakespeare" series first. Her advice gave me a newfound appreciation for the bard. I'm willing to bet a similar miracle can happen here. Kids who view Ambrose with contempt, may very well change their minds after reading Baker's book. Its a somber tale to be certain. But it's told with beautiful illustrations and compassionate sensibility. Revolutionaries aren't born, they're created. This book does a good job of conveying that sentiment to a younger audience. It should be noted that Kyle Baker takes a few liberties with the story. But his artwork and intent are above reproach.
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Format: Paperback
The story of Nat Turner is, in many respects, a difficult one to come to terms with. Like John Brown, who followed later, he was a man faced with an intolerable truth (even more so, of course, considering Turner had no choice but face it) and responded with extreme measures that, 190 years later, we here today have trouble justifying to ourselves. It is most decidedly not a pretty picture in any way, shape or form. But there it was.

And here it is, in a moving, gut-wrenching graphic work that fuses Turner's own words (as conveyed in his Confession by Thomas Grey) wedded to remarkable visuals by Kyle Baker. What Baker has achieved here is, I think, an emotional masterpiece.

This is, yes, a graphically violent book, but unlike some others here, I praise Baker for his restraint. His choice of color palate, size and location of images on the page, serve not to sensationalize the gore here, but rather to mute it. It is here, we look it straight in the face, but we in no way wallow in it. It is in the rest of the story, the rest of the visuals, where we are really forced to confront the horrors of Turner's reality - the reality of millions of men and women around him - and the choice he made to fight back in the only way allowed. Baker's skill allows us to see, often wordlessly, the fear, desperation, anger, sadness and hypocrisy of the world Turner inhabited, at least a little - at least to the extent we can imagine all these years on.

Baker does not present Turner as some sort of Super Hero Avenging Angel. Far more compellingly, he presents him as a man living in a nightmare, who's rebellion was a direct consequence of that nightmare. And he does so with a very uncommon grace and visual eloquence that cannot help but touch a sensitive reader.
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Format: Paperback
The best graphic novel I read in February. The really hard part of using comics to tell history is that once you start adding dialogue you move into historical fiction as opposed to historical fact, Baker solves this problem brilliantly (albeit with I expect a lot of difficulty)by doing most of the novel without word balloons or captions - just occasional segments of Turners confession and testimony after he was caught,
To do a story as complex as this in that format is incredible. it also presents the facts visually and leaves it up to you to interpret and judge them. Finally it makes the history available to a lot of people with low level reading skills. I wish this was available when I ran an adult literacy program in the 1980's.
A remarkable book
#18 in my attempt to review every graphic novel I read in 2013
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a history teacher, and I purchased this because I was debating using it in my classroom. I've always been skeptical about using graphic novels in the classroom, but after trying out (and having huge success) using Maus by Art Spiegelman in the classroom, I decided to try using them more often. This one worked excellently as well. There is very little in the majority of history books about Nat Turner, so this was an enlightening read for both myself and my students. I issue all of this praise with a WARNING though: It is very graphic. While the novel is entirely in black and white, some of the images are very graphic and students could find them anywhere from slightly disturbing to highly disturbing depending on the student. I would make sure the students are mature enough for this before assigning it.
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