- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Hill and Wang; First Edition edition (May 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809094746
- ISBN-13: 978-0809094745
- Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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From School Library Journal
A graphic novel that tells the history of the Civil War through a series of vignettes highlighting the experiences of ordinary people. For context, Fetter-Vorm and Kelman provide a brief prose account of the war—the politics, battles, and troop movements that are part of the standard history—broken into short pieces that introduce each graphic tale. But the true heart of the book is its 15 short stories of life during wartime, which encompass a wide variety of average American citizens. Here, readers meet blacks and whites on both sides of the battle lines, widows, nurses, runaway slaves, and many more. Perhaps the most resonant of many moving stories is "Ink," which shows the lives of soldiers in a prisoner-of-war camp and ends on a darkly ironic beat. The artwork has a rushed, sketchy feel, which matches the urgency of the stories, and washed-out blues and browns that comprise the bulk of the color give the book a strong sense of the period. VERDICT An excellent graphic-style introduction to the history and the reality of the Civil War.—Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA
“A remarkable achievement both as a work of history and visual literature, providing a broad overview of the complex circumstances that gave rise to the bloodiest conflict in American history, while simultaneously making those deaths meaningful by capturing fleeting moments amid the slaughter in panels so beautifully wrought as to beggar description.” ―Scott Eric Kaufman, Salon
“Academic history at its finest . . . a remarkable―and beautiful―book . . . Battle Lines should be required reading in graduate historiography and teaching courses. It is a tribute to Fetter-Vorm and Kelman that I want copies of the book displayed on my academic bookshelf, in my classroom, and on my coffee table.” ―David Schieffler, The Civil War Monitor
“[A] really beautiful, gorgeous graphic novel about the Civil War . . . Lovely, evocative and harrowing . . . I would recommend this book highly.” ―Gene Demby, NPR’s “Pop Culture Happy Hour” podcast
“An amazing piece of work.” ―Virginia Prescott, New Hampshire Public Radio, “Word of Mouth”
“A graphic rendering of epic destruction and intimate despair, as the authors make Civil War scholarship come alive for readers young and old. The artistry of Fetter-Vorm powerfully captures the devastation that the war wreaked on the country, extending well past the armistice, while the historical context by Bancroft Prize winner Kelman provides the contextual depth . . . . In this gripping graphic narrative, the complexities of history achieve clarity, and the depth of the tragedy has a visceral impact.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“In 15 harrowing chapters, Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman's graphic take on the Civil War brings home the shattering costs of America's epochal conflict like almost no other single-volume history . . . Poignant and heartbreaking.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Battle Lines is not the first graphic novel about the Civil War, but it is one of the most ambitious. Rather than following a single wartime plot, Battle Lines spans from Congress's 1808 ban on the importation of slaves to the end of Reconstruction in 1876. Readers get concise and useful overviews of seminal moments in the war via newspaper pages that precede each chapter. But the authors smartly forgo comprehensiveness by grounding this bold historical spread in episodic chapters . . . This framework helps balance a useful breadth with striking depth” ―Kenyon Gradert, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Powerful and evocative . . . This book belongs in every school library in the country and on the shelf of anyone interested in good art, excellent storytelling, and careful scholarship.” ―Matthew Helmke
“A fascinating look at one of the biggest events in United States history . . .The gut-punches started and they simply didn't end until the conclusion of the book . . . I'd highly recommend it.” ―Janelle Asselin, Comics Alliance
“Battle Lines brings us the Civil War as we've never seen it before. An inspired blend of images and words, this fresh, vivid history is the perfect primer for students and devotees of America's greatest conflict.” ―Tony Horwitz, author of Confederates in the Attic and Midnight Rising
“Battle Lines is the best film about the Civil War that has never been made. It is a penetrating account of the war's deepest dramas, told in the fewest words imaginable. It is history as poetry.” ―Stephen Kantrowitz, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of More Than Freedom
“Featuring inspired storytelling and haunting images, Battle Lines is the best graphic novel ever produced about the Civil War.” ―Josh Neufeld, author of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
“Battle Lines is thoughtful, sophisticated, and beautifully wrought. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and Ari Kelman offer further proof that the graphic novel is a powerful medium for exploring the nuances of history.” ―Gene Luen Yang, author of American Born Chinese, finalist for the National Book Award
Top customer reviews
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This is storytelling at its finest. The illustrations pull you deeper into the personal history of historic events, and they manage to fool your senses into believing you might actually be there. My eyes lingered on them, and I found myself flipping back to previous panels to review them for subtleties I missed the first time.
I teach middle school history, and I've been yearning for a book that would dare to cover the scope and breadth of the American Civil War. The authors have written a page turning graphic novel that will appeal to all ages, and will grip even those with a brief knowledge of U.S. history.
This should be on the reading list of every American history class, and in the library of every school in the country. The history is first rate.