I must admit, my knowledge of United States history is pretty abysmal. I grew up in a different country, so when most of you were learning about Christopher Columbus, George Washington and the Civil War I was learning about James Cook, Maori culture and the Treaty of Waitangi (bonus points if you can figure out where I grew up!). Lately, I’ve been trying to brush up on my US history by reading Doris K Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” and Shelby Foote’s “Civil War”. While both of these books are fantastic and informative, they are admittedly incredibly long and somewhat of a chore to plod through (I’m 300 pages into “Team of Rivals” and Lincoln has just been elected, sheesh!).
Enter Chris Schweizer’s “Crogan’s Adventure Series”. Not only are his books far shorter than the tomes mentioned above (under 200 pages instead of well over a thousand pages) they are also in my favorite format: the graphic novel. “Crogan’s Loyalty” is the first book I’ve read in the series. It is about two brothers, Willam and Charles Crogan, who are on different sides of the American Revolutionary War. Charles is still loyal to the British Crown, fighting the American rebels while Will has joined forces with those very rebels, fighting for an independent America. Their paths cross and they both need to decide what is more important: fighting for their beliefs or fighting for each other.
Obviously, in a book that is only 175 pages and filled with more pictures than words there is only a snippet of information about the actual Revolutionary War in here. But what “Loyalty” lacks in facts it makes up for in telling a great story and putting the reader in the shoes of those fighting the war. Previously, I had always thought of the anti-revolutionary forces as being purely British and as the “bad guys.” Schweizer dispels this image, demonstrating that the war was not purely good vs. evil, that even some Americans believed that America should stay a British colony. They feared that if the rebels succeeded the country would be thrown into lawless chaos, a justifiable belief as many rebels tarred and feathered those who disagreed with them (a much more painful and fatal type of torture than what cartoons may lead you to believe). War is never as simple as Good vs. Evil, and the Revolutionary War is no exception as both sides thought they were fighting for what was right.
I thoroughly enjoyed Crogan’s Loyalty and look forward to reading his other books on history: Crogan’s March about the French Foreign Legion and Crogans Vengence about pirates (arr!). If you’re interested in history, or like a good graphic novel, you’re sure to love this series as much as I did!