We all learn about the man Nat Turner in American History, but it wasn’t until I read the blurb on the bookjacket that I even realized who exactly this novel was about. The author comments in the foreword about how all these great civil rights leaders (Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman) all cite this man and the rebellion he led as a great inspiration, yet in my American history class there might have been a total of three sentences about him. Telling his story in this format is a good way to get people’s attention.
I like how Nat Turner is formatted, with the story mainly being told in illustrations. The few words that are present are quotes and excepts from scholarly publications about the slave trade or Nat Turner’s life. The backstory of his youth and devout belief in the bible which contributed to his construct of the Rebellion was very detailed and in parts horrifying. The first image that really sticks with me is the author’s portrayal of Nat Turner’s mother’s journey to America on the slave ship, with the dead woman laying next to her and her trying to throw the newborn to the sharks instead of having it live whatever life it may have to lead in the Americas. The illustrations of the actual rebellion were a lot more violent than I had imagined they were going to be, I suppose that’s fitting though because rebellions aren’t typically peaceful gatherings.