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Frank Reade Hardcover – February 1, 2012
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About the Author
Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett have been collaborating on comics and graphic novels since 1989, including the Eisner Award–nominated science-fiction comic series Heartbreakers and the critically acclaimed Boilerplate. They live in Portland, Oregon.
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Top Customer Reviews
When putting forth photos of the Reade family, why did the author select the Booths to be stand-ins? And in discussing "environmentally-safe" electric vehicles invented by Frank Reade Jr., why do we never discover the source of electricity for them? Electric cars don't simply go, they have to have their batteries charged. What external or internal combustion engine provided the charge? How environmentally safe was THAT?
On page 102 it talks about mercenaries... "or private contractors, as they're called today." The authors really should have gotten out a dictionary. A mercenary is a hired soldier. A private contractor is some one hired to do a job for the military or the government, whether it is building roads, acting as an interpreter or fixing the power grid. An obvious dig at Blackwater, it shows the danger of using Moveon.org as a literary resource.
Of course it uses other, contemporary sources such as War is a Racket, by Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler (USMC). Butler made his disenchantment with U.S. foreign policy very obvious. So obvious, in fact, that even FDR couldn't afford to return the man to active duty while the United States was fighting for its life during WWII.
Maybe I just worry too much about these things.
Once the most popular dime novel in the country, Frank Reade Weekly and the Frank Reade Library have faded into obscurity. Guinan and co-author Anina Bennett have spun the original concept out into a family of intrepid inventors who participated in some of America's greatest (and most regrettable) events.
Combining the coffee-table history book with the adventure story, "Frank Reade" entertains and slyly educates. From the Indian Wars of the 1860s to the run-up to WWII, the Reades and their amazing vehicles were constantly on the move, for causes both noble and greedy. It's quite revealing to see how much American history is left out of our textbooks.
Guinan's skillful Photoshop use creates realistic photos of the vehicles in use, and the original engravings from the Frank Reade dime novels are incredibly crisp.
In all, another rollicking good book from this Portland couple!
Reade Jr's aid to the government which, at the time, was a positive and exciting adventure for contemporary readers, is shown in a more modern light. As a result, Reade's bringing of "civilization" to uneducated savages is less of a holy mission and more of a pragmatic land-grab. Real Reade stories are set against the actual historical events, allowing the reader to learn more of the country's involvement in Central and South America.
Readers who are expecting a scholarly analysis of the dime novels will be disappointed. Just as with Boilerplate, Frank Reade creates a fictional protagonist who can be our focus through the time period. In Boilerplate's case, it was a wholly invented robot (and its inventor), and in Frank Reade it's the fictional hero of long-forgotten adventure stories. Reading Boilerplate first would definitely give you a good introduction into the world and style of Guinan and Bennett.