Friday, December 18, 2015

Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War by Ari Kelman

Less of a history than an examination of the lives of citizens caught in the maelstrom of the American Civil War, Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War uses its drawings very effectively to depict the horrors of war. Each chapter begins with a news report of Civil War events. The chapter then continues with an illustrated slice of life of ordinary people and the effect of war on their existence. Soldiers, wives, children, slaves, doctors, nurses, immigrants, gravediggers and farmers are some of the groups represented in the excellent drawings as they face fear, death, hunger, injury, amputation and all the other hardships that war brings to both civilians and soldiers. To write Battles Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War, artist Jonathan Fetter-Vorm and historian Ari Kelman formed a partnership and created a brief but accurate account of the four year struggle between North and South. They have created not a "graphic novel" but a "graphic history" in which art, as art should, depicts not just the facts but also the emotions of war.