from graphic novel guest blogger, Francisca Goldsmith:
Authentic students of history recognize that what is past doesn’t just stand: it shifts and changes shape as interpreters armed with the present look back. And those same interpreters look back from a landscape shaped by that same set of events, circumstances and changes created by that history.
Stan Mack, who has been a chronicler and interpreter of history, through comics, for decades, understands this well; even an event as far past the eighteenth century American Revolution echoes in the present world of politics, cultural identity and individual beliefs. In this new edition of his clever and accessible presentation of the people and events that created that watershed period, he draws attention to its reverberation in the 21st century’s Occupy Movement as well as exposing the typically neglected roles of disenfranchised Colonial classes and the connections between economics and civil law. That may sound heady, but Mack’s clarity and concise style of showing action and then discussing underlying meaning carries the reader—whether a sophisticated historian or a high school student fulfilling requirements for graduation—through the abstract concepts as well as the concrete facts of the birth of the United States via rebellion from a distant tax assessor.
Adult/High School–This republication of Stan Mack’s Real Life American Revolution (o.p., Ballantine, 1994) brings a much updated focus to class and socio-economic politics at play under the events and personages most high school students presumably know. The pun in the title sets the stage for readers to look at events as highly influential even to this day (unlike others in the Western World, the United States has a kind of cultural allergy to taxes) and the relationship between the 18th-century rebels and the people who have created, fostered, and been attentive to the Occupy Movement. As ever, Mack’s cartoons give real characters distinguishing features (e.g., Jefferson’s freckles) while including serious attention to the “little people,” here being the women and Africans and Native Peoples who also acted in various capacities during the war that, as Mack notes, gave “revolution” a whole new meaning. Accessible, thought-provoking , and highly discussable, this version of how the United States became independent of the British Crown may well inspire readers to see the relevant aspects of studying history as well as reading nonfiction comics.–Francisca Goldsmith, Infopeople Project, CA