cover image The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation

The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation

Jonathan Hennessey and Aaron McConnell. Morrow, $15.99 ISBN )978-0-06-196976-8

Many of us will admit to sleeping through history class but we might have stayed awake if we’d been taught by the crafters of this graphic novel, which examines one of our nation’s most oft-quoted presidential speeches. We are all familiar with “four score and seven years ago” and most of what follows—but how much of it have we ever really paid attention to or even attempted to understand? Hennessey’s text pores over Lincoln’s address and breaks down its 271 words into 17 sections, explaining the meaning of each passage from both historical and philosophical viewpoints, bolstered with exhaustive amounts of historical information. McConnell’s artwork lends the text considerable evocative gravitas and relates the stark truth of the Civil War and the years leading up to it, avoiding the larger-than-life, emotionally manipulative tropes sometimes found in depictions of that dire period. A real revelation that puts the speech’s content in proper context rather than presenting it as a bunch of pre-recorded hoary platitudes issuing from the mouth of an animatronic figure in a gaudy theme park. (June)