In this blend of historical and scientific perspective, Fetter-Vorm explores the race between several countries to create the Atom Bomb, starting with the theoretical exploration of splitting atoms, to the realization of the theory under the Manhattan Project. Fetter-Vorm particularly focuses on the American efforts, so there is little detail from other countries involved in the race. The beginning of the novel focuses heavily on the science behind how it's possible to split an atom and what happens on a molecular level. The historical perspective is sprinkled throughout this section, but really becomes the major focus during the second half of the book. Particular attention is given to Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves as the leaders of the project. Fetter-Vorm also goes into quite a bit of detail about the dropping of Little Boy, the Uranium atom bomb, and Fat Man, the plutonium atom bomb, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively, and how each of the different types of atomic bombs' explosions affected the cities and people.
Kleist presents the true story of champion boxer, Emile Griffith.
One day while at work, in a most oppressive heat, Emile Griffith was stuffing hats in boxes, singing to himself, when several people noticed that his physique was that of a boxer. His boss, Mr. Arnold, took Emile to a local boxing gym and got him set up with a trainer and his first match. Even though Emile didn't want to hurt anyone, he found he was really good at boxing. His strategy? Hit the other guy before he has a chance to hit you. Emile would go on to win many championships and start his own line of Ladies Hats with his former shop. Emile also took several lovers along the way, but, despite their encouragement, he never wanted to get into activism or anything outside of the ring that would draw attention to his personal life. His major rival was Benny "Kid" Paret, who hurled a homophobic slur at Griffith before one of the title matches. Paret later died from his injuries sustained by Griffith during the match.
Illustrated by Nate Powell
In this second volume of the life of former Senator John Lewis, we see Lewis as a college student who is getting more and more involved in the racial protests in the South. Lewis was one of the first and longest members of the Freedom Riders group who bought tickets on buses going between several states and challenged bus company's rules that buses needed to be segregated. This was in direct violation of the Supreme Court ruling in Morgan v. Virginia where the court found segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Lewis narrowly missed being on one of the buses that was attacked and torched by KKK members. On several occasions, Lewis and other riders were jailed and refused to post bail, saying that paying it would then fund the racist policies they were fighting against. Lewis gets more involved with Dr. King, and is selected as one of the six representatives to meet with President Kennedy on the racial tensions in the south. Lewis is elected the president of SYNC, and later is the last speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where King delivered his famous, "I Have a Dream Speech." Included in end notes is the full text of Lewis' speech, called "This is It".
Illustrated by David Namisato
Sandy is a young Boy growing up in British Colombia who loves baseball. It’s one of the things he and his father enjoy together, that is when is father isn’t off providing medical treatments to folks. Sandy’s family and of Japanese decent, and they live in a thriving Japanese community in BC, who all root for the Asahi, the local baseball team who just lost the championship, but are hopeful to get it back next season. Then, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, and things start getting more complicated for Sandy and his family. They have to give up some of their possessions “for safekeeping”, knowing full well they will be sold off; they have to be in their homes by sundown, which makes the father’s job much harder; and there are certain areas of port cities they are no longer allowed to live in. Soon enough, the families are transported to camps that have been set up at abandoned mining facilities.
Illustrated by Marcus Kwame Anderson
Presented here is a history of the Black Panther Party from its inception by Bobby Seal and Huey Newton, to its demise in the 70s. Along the way, Walker presents information on the FBI’s mission against the Panthers, spearheaded by COINTERPRO, Counterintelligence program for the FBI. Across the United States, there were several different chapters of the Panthers that had their own ideologies and philosophies about how to bring about political change in the country. These differences contributed to internal struggles in the party throughout its history, which contributed to its implosion. Also presented is detailed information of many of the party’s prominent figures.
Illustrated by Nate Powell
On the morning of Barack Obama’s inauguration to his first term as president, Congressman John Lewis readies himself in his office in Washington D.C. A lady with two kids stops by the office, obviously not expecting the Congressman to be there, but they are delighted to find him and ask questions about his life and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. This launches Lewis down memory lane as he recounts his childhood from growing up on a farm, raising chickens, to going to school and getting involved in sit ins at local department store lunch counters. The work isn't done with those demonstrations, as later volumes promise to hold other activism and demonstrations Lewis took part in and led.
Mei and her father work in the kitchen for a logging camp in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the late 1800s, where they expertly make delicious meals for the loggers after a long day of hard work. Mei makes wonderful pies that everyone craves, and at night, she entertains the camp's children by telling fanciful stories. One such stories is the legend of Po Pan Yin, an elderly Chinese woman logger who watches over the camp and works in the forest with her giant blue ox. The children accuse Mei of stealing the American legend of Paul Bunyan, but Mei makes Auntie Po into her own myth and a guardian spirit for the camp and herself. With the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act limiting the opportunities and safety for Chinese immigrants, Mei and her father must navigate an increasingly hostile community where violence against Chinese workers is not uncommon. On top of all of this, Mei must work out her feelings for her best friend Bee, which are becoming increasingly romantic, as well as plan for her future away from the logging camp.
Illustrated by Tim Foley
Dan Rather's original prose book, What Unites Us, is a collection of essays, musings and observations with lots of autobiographical details, about American history and political climate. This graphic novel adapts many of the essays from the prose version. The historical events are not told in any sort of chronological order. Instead, Rather uses his perspective on key historical moments to illustrate bigger ideologies; things like "courage", or "patriotism." Rather attempts to explain what is special about America, what brings us together as a nation, but also what has worked to separate us, especially partisan bickering and political turmoil.
Illustrated by Stacey Robinson
This book seeks to chronicle the success that was Greenwood, Oklahoma, a portion of the city of Tulsa that was a completely segregated Black community. Several Black business owners, entrepreneurs, and real-estate investors had a vision for a community that could be sustained entirely without white businesses, and they went about creating a thriving town with grocery stores, entertainment venues, mortgage offices, banks, and just about everything else you need in a town. Because so much was offered, much of the Black community spent their money in Greenwood, rather than in Tulsa, and money was spent several times over inside Greenwood before going to white businesses. Greenwood got the nickname "Black Wall Street" from Booker T. Washington when he came on a visit. Then, a race war came to Tulsa, with claims that a young Black man touched a white woman. Residents of Greenwood armed themselves and marched on the courthouse to protect the young man. But white residents of Tulsa were also marching on the court house, and the ensuing battle resulted in the destruction of most of Greenwood, the implementation of a military state, the deputization of hundreds of armed white Tulsans, and the systematic execution of many of Greenwood's residents.
Backderf's latest novel is a meticulous account of the events of May 1-4, 1970 at Kent State University. The storyline follows Jeff, Allison, Bill, and Sandy, the four students who were killed during anti-Vietnam-war, anti-military conflicts on Kent State's campus, as well as several of the wounded students and a few of the soldiers of the National Guard. Rising tensions between student protestors and National Guardsmen were stoked by sleep-deprived soldiers and commanding officers, a governor infused with law-and-order politics, and persistent student protests that were unrelenting for several days. Throughout, there are pages of exposition offering insights from Backderf's extensive research.
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