An American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Nominee
The period leading up to the Civil War was one of great change. Congress divided itself between Northerners and Southerners, citizens on the frontier took up arms against one another, and movements for secession and abolition were more urgent than ever.
In The Hammer and the Anvil, the award-winning author Dwight Jon Zimmerman and the renowned artist Wayne Vansant vividly depict the tumultuous time through the lives of two men who defined it: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. This full-color graphic history is an ideal introduction not only to two iconic Americans, but also to the most compelling moments in American history. With a foreword by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James M. McPherson, the book reveals that its protagonists each wrestled with the question of slavery from a young age. Douglass, a slave who was spared no brutality, once fought an especially cruel master and eventually escaped north to freedom. Lincoln, who was hired out by his father to do manual labor on neighbors' farms, found this harsh life intolerable. As a senator, Lincoln sought ways to end the westward spread of slavery, believing that adding free states to the Union would diminish the power of the Southern states and lead to the gradual disappearance of the "peculiar institution." Douglass was less patient. He had become a skilled orator and an influential editor of Northern abolitionist journals, and called on white Americans to honor their nation's founding commitment to liberty.
When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, Douglass hoped that the conflict would mean the end of slavery. But Lincoln delayed emancipation, and Douglass despaired—until he met the president face-to-face and recognized that their causes were one and the same. Featuring evocative and dramatic scenes of this seminal time, The Hammer and the Anvil will engage young people new to the study of American history.
“Clearly laid out, with a clever device that renders each story in a different color (until the two men meet and it switches to full color), the book is probably best for high schoolers . . . The book can serve as an excellent teaching tool to bring out the gray areas even in a discussion of the Civil War.”—Hillary Brown, Paste magazine “Dwight Jon Zimmerman and the renowned artist Wayne Vansant vividly depict the tumultuous time through the lives of two men who defined it: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln . . . Featuring evocative and dramatic scenes of this seminal time, The Hammer and the Anvil will engage both Civil War buffs and young people new to the study of American history.”—Corey Blake, The Comics Observer“This book was a surprise gift. I will never look at an illustrated book in the same manner, as a result. It is a new medium that offers the opportunity to open doors to a greater understanding of things. The gentle ‘wording’ within the text was appreciated too. This book is not too technical. Words do not become an impediment. Young readers can hold fast to their excitement and interest throughout the entire work, as a result. Yet, mature readers can share in the same amazement and learn new facts about the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. The Hammer and the Anvil (2012) sheds new light upon Americans and American history. Parents, teachers, and students add this work to your summer reading list. Also, this book can be a nice ‘back-to-school’ gift.”—Rosetta, Codling, The Examiner“An utterly ingenious graphic history of one of the most important stories in American history—the strikingly parallel lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln that eventually converged in friendship. Powerfully illustrated and written, The Hammer and the Anvil highlights for young readers, and anyone interested in graphic stories, the central debates of the Civil War era and of our own time: race, freedom, citizenship, state versus federal government, and the meaning of the American Dream.”—John Stauffer, author of Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln “A highly original, historically accurate, and utterly irresistible take on the lives and contributions of those two giants, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. This book raises the genre of ‘graphic history’ to a new level. Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Wayne Vansant have produced a page-turner that will engage young readers, and no doubt delight their parents, too.”—Harold Holzer, Chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation “An ingenious telling of the most important story in our nation’s history through the lives of the two greatest Americans of the nineteenth century, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Students, teachers, and general readers—even those who think history is not for them—will find this an exciting, compelling read. A brilliant work!”—James G. Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History “The Hammer and the Anvil makes the extraordinary moment that brought Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln together accessible to young students. It’s an eye-opener.”—Ira Berlin, author of The Making of African America “Engaging and insightful . . . A compelling look at two of the most important figures in American history.”—Publishers Weekly
Dwight Jon Zimmerman is the author of numerous works of military history and co–executive producer of the Discovery Channel’s miniseries First Command. Wayne Vansant has scripted and illustrated many graphic books on military history. Craig Symonds, historian and consultant, is the winner of the Lincoln Prize.