The first graphic history to capture the full scope of the Civil War, gorgeously drawn and expertly told.
The graphic novelist Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and the award-winning historian Ari Kelman team up to create a unique portrait of a brutal and defining event in American history: the Civil War. The result is Battle Lines, a monumental graphic history—rendered in Fetter-Vorm’s sweeping full-color panoramas, and grounded in Kelman’s nuanced understanding of the period—offering a series of wholly new perspectives on the conflict that turned this nation against itself.
Each chapter in Battle Lines begins with an object; each object tells its own story. A tattered flag, lowered in defeat at Fort Sumter. A set of chains, locked to the ankles of a slave as he scrambles toward freedom. A bullet, launched from the bore of a terrifying new rifle. A brick, hurled from a crowd of ration-starved rioters. With these objects and others, both iconic and commonplace, Battle Lines traces a broad and ambitious narrative from the early rumblings of secession to the dark years of Reconstruction. Richly detailed and wildly inventive, its stories propel the reader to all manner of unlikely vantages as only the graphic form can: from the malaria-filled gut of a mosquito to the faded ink of a soldier’s pen, and from the barren farms of the home front to the front lines of an infantry charge.
Beautiful, uncompromising, poignant, and utterly original, Battle Lines is a daring vision of the war that nearly tore America apart.
Ari Kelman is also the author of A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Harvard University Press, 2013), recipient of the Avery O. Craven Award, the Bancroft Prize, the Tom Watson Brown Book Award, and the Robert M. Utley Prize, all in 2014, and A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans (University of California Press, 2003), which won the Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize in 2004.
Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War
“In this gripping graphic narrative, the complexities of history achieve clarity, and the depth of the tragedy has a visceral impact.”
A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek
“Vividly captures the controversy and pain that accompanied this reopening of a dark chapter in American history.”