So maybe you don’t have time to read a 782-page history of America?  Maybe you’d like something a little more pungent, precise, pictorial?

If you think graphic novels are just for kids, check out these seven.  Amazing artwork.  Solid storytelling.  America packaged not just for beginners but for all.  


Thoreau: A Sublime Life: by A. Dan and Maximilien Le Roy — Follow Thoreau through his idealistic life from before, during, and after Walden.

And the Pursuit of Happiness, by Moira Kalman, — In 2008, graphic artist Kalman traveled to Washington DC and came home with a 12-part meditation on American democracy.  First published serially in the New York Times, And the Pursuit of Happiness is now a full-length graphic novel.

Studs Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation, by Harvey Pekar — Takes a few dozen of the stirring oral histories from Terkel’s classic on the working life, and jazzes them up with woodcuts, pen and ink, and power.


Fallout: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb, by 9 authors —. The story of how post-war politics engulfed the father of the atom bomb and jumpstarted the Cold War arms race.

The Life of Frederick Douglass, by David F. Walker, Damon Smyth, and Marissa Louise — Douglass himself should get a byline because the words, in cartoon balloons, are all his, but the graphics capture the savagery of slavery and drama of escape

Sally Heathcoate: Suffragette, by Mary M. Talbot, Kate Charlesworth, Brian Talbot — The saga of the women who won the vote, told through the eyes of a fictional suffragette.

The March: Book One — by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell — CIvil Rights veteran and Congressman John Lewis co-created this poignant memoir of the 1965 Selma March.  Books Two and Three provide the backstory, with accounts from the Freedom Riders through Freedom Summer.


The list goes on with graphic novels about Gettysburg, the Donner Party, the Depression, the world wars, Apollo 11, 9/11. . .

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