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Nat Turner Paperback – June 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 has authored more than 15 graphic novels and illustrated hundreds more in a career that extends over three decades. He is the winner of eight Eisner Awards and four Harvey Awards, among others. A pioneer in the graphic novel format since the 1980s, Baker helped define and evolve the medium with works such as Nat Turner, Why I Hate Saturn, and King David. Other titles include The Cowboy Wally Show; Truth: Red, White & Black; and Birth of a Nation. Baker has lectured at Dartmouth, Howard University, the Library of Congress, and the School of Visual Arts, and he regularly teaches homeless teens for the City of New York.









 
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810972271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810972278
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received it today in pristine condition and was very happy with the purchase! OUTRAGEOUS artwork and great story line! I would highly recommend buying from this seller again due to their quick response and conscientiousness to satisfy a customer! Very Satisfied! The Graphic Novel is the perfect medium for this famous historical figure.
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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 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Masterful strokes and shading produced a remarkable visual account of the circumstance of this historic figure. It has the feel of both a documentary and movie combined. Very little to read yet it wasn't a barrier in communication in the slightest. An instant classic and collectors item.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A violent and inspired interpretation of the Nat Turner saga from the enslaving of Africans to the death of the last of Turner's troops. For those who are not squeamish this rings with a truth that African Americans in particular will find truly inspirational. Illustrated in black and white and with few written captions, this books captures the story in haunting visuals that make it a visual masterpiece.
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