Sunday, August 16, 2015

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #5) by Nathan Hale

I can't recall a graphic novel series where I've read five books and given them all four or five stars. This guy just nails 'em every time infusing humor with his own creative juices to create a fictional account of history that is loaded with accurate facts. How the heck he takes grizzly information and makes it entertaining is the work of an author that knows his craft. I didn't even realize this book was about Harriet Tubman. I know... black woman on cover with the word, "underground." Duh. Must have been the jet-lag. I miss details on a normal day. Toss in a 20 hour door-to-door trip with a 12 hour time gain and my brain responds like a zapped zapata. Wherever your lightning bolts zap, make sure they hit this winner.

Speaking of messed up neurons, zappings, and lightning, Harriet was a bit scrambled in her brains too after an angry overseer accidentally fast-pitched several pounds of lead into her skull while she was protecting another black man. The injury left her with narcolepsy, a disease where she nods off to sleep. Imagine being on the run with slave-catchers and dogs hunting you, and your guide or abductor falls asleep in the middle of it! Yet, Harriet was one of the most successful abductors and when she did nod off she'd wake up and tell people she had a vision from God and usually it was a warning that danger was ahead.

The author doesn't gloss over the brutalities and continues to use the hangman for comic relief. Different people in history used violence to try and end slavery and they justified killing others to accomplish their means. Nat Turner and John Brown died violently but they did inspire others to seek changes in laws. Hangman reacts to their violence in shock even asking if Nat Turner got knocked on the head with a piece of lead like Harriet. Their suicidal strategy to end slavery is ripe for discussions and can be compared with current events.

Harriet, on the other hand, started her career in rescuing people because she was trying to save her family. Under the ownership of an oppressive white family, she was abused as a young girl and mistreated by other owners. Her amazing ability to not get caught as an abductor, led to her helping other families and at one point she helped Colonel James Montgomery on a raid where 800 families escaped north. The Colonel used more violence with his methods, burning down homes and Harriet shows she wasn't opposed to it. Again, I think the contrast between violent means and the later civil disobedience during the 1960s is interesting. Is there a best way to enact change in societies? How do people get laws changed? If they don't have access, how do they get societies attention? These are just a few questions that electrically discharged in my brain. You could pair this with the picture book, "Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family's Fight for Desegregation" by Duncan Tonatiuh. A thunderbolt series.

5 Smileys

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