Lafayette! by Nathan Hale
(Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #8)
The tale of the Frenchman, Layfayette, who played a pretty big role in the US Civil War. I had listened to a podcast about the US Civil War before so I am familiar with the name Layfayette, but Hale has a great gift in being able to take a complex subject and translate it to graphic novel format. As a non-American, it was a bit hard for me to follow the exact geography of how things were jumping around from battle-to-battle. The story was interesting, but it is hard to keep a story like this super interesting because it mostly follows Layfayette jumping from battle to battle, trying to get into battles, and also lobbying the French to send more ships.
If you’re into the US Civil War, definitely pick this up! If you aren’t, try some of Hale’s other books like # 9 about an explorer in the Grand Canyon.
Major Impossible by Nathan Hale
(Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #9)
Follow John Wesley Powell, a US war veteran and explorer, as he maps out the Colorado river in this adventure. The artwork was impressive in this book. You’d think that all rocks, valleys, and cliffs look the same, but they don’t. Hale actually traveled many times to the Grand Canyon, and his familiarity with the setting shines through in his artwork. I love explorer stories whether they be in big ships, or little boats, so I found a lot to enjoy here. It did get repetitive near the end of the book because a lot of what explorers do is keep dry, avoid the rapids, and keep scrounging for food. Hale can’t be blamed for the repetitive nature of that part of the book because he is only following the historical facts.
I only have one more Nathan Hale book on my bookshelf. I’ll be sad to finish the last one. I hope Hale is working on another. These kinds of books are so great for people who say they ‘don’t get history’, or ‘don’t like history’.
Blades of Freedom: a Louisiana Purchase Tale
(Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #10)
Well, I read the last book in the series. Now, it may be a long wait until the next Nathan Hale book for me. This book was about the Louisiana Purchase, but to get to that, Hale has to cover a lot of ground in the French Revolution and the goings on in Saint-Domingue (currently, Haiti).
This was a fun ride, from slave revolt, to battles with Napoleon, and beheadings! I learned a lot about how all these different world histories tie into each other. How the French gave (sold!) Louisiana back to the US for money, and because dealing with the slave revolts was just too costly. It was also great how he took us way back in the history of the nation of Haiti back from when the Taino were living there, and even hit upon some of their mythology, and the origins of ‘voodoo’/‘vodou’.
After reading one of these history books, I always find myself wanting to dig deeper into the history covered in the comic. For that reason, these books are excellent primers into complicated phases of world history.
Though I say this is the last book in the series, Hale does leave a hint that he’s saving the story of Lafayette and his part in the French Revolution for another story (!). I wish Mr. Hale Godspeed in making the next great book in this wonderful series about history!
Book #20-22 in my #ReadingChallenge2021