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Infinite Satellite

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Gettysburg: The Graphic Novel - C.M. Butzer This book would be nice to have on the shelves in a junior high social studies classroom. It gives a brief overview of the Battle of Gettysburg without ever going in-depth, and then an illustrated reading of the Gettysburg Address.

I felt that the book lacked detail. The pictures definitely outweigh the story. It's a Union-biased work, giving plenty of attention to the abolitionist aspect of the Civil War and none to its other causes, such as States' rights. Lincoln is made out to be an entirely sympathetic character. All of the leaders of both the Union and Confederacy are drawn as dignified, respectable men. The Union soldiers all are drawn with the same care, but the Southern troops all look like hayseeds in mountain man attire. Also, the artist paid so much attention to the black troops in the Union army that the reader could come away with the impression that black men made up a huge portion of the Union forces, which is historically incorrect.

Readers are given a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, which led me to expect a complicated work with a lot of dialogue. However, the list is unnecessary; the reader can easily work out who the important players are.

Overall, despite the bloodshed and amputation, I found this version of events highly sanitized and simplified. I loved the panels depicting the march for rights: abolitionists blending into suffragettes blending into many other movements all the way up to Chicanos and gay rights activists. However, I didn't feel it was appropriate to include that panel without ever mentioning that Lincoln didn't even free all the slaves in the Emancipation Proclamation, only the ones in Confederate states who would be hurt by the loss of slave labor. The book never mentions the crimes committed against the American Indian population under Lincoln, either, even though there is a Native American rights group in the freedom march.

Recommend to: Reluctant history students.

Don't recommend to: Historians.