3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · history · non fiction · Uncategorized

The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee | ARC #BookReview

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The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the U.S. Government to Bring Their Husbands Home by Heath Hardage Lee 

Published: April 2, 2019 

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: non fiction, history, feminism 

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about strong military wives 

Foodie Vibes: coffee and a freshly baked coffee cake to offer guests even when you’re grieving the loss of your husband —- because you have to be a good Navy Wife

 

Synopsis: 

The true story of the fierce band of women who battled Washington—and Hanoi—to bring their husbands home from the jungles of Vietnam.

On February 12, 1973, one hundred and fifteen men who, just six years earlier, had been high flying Navy and Air Force pilots, shuffled, limped, or were carried off a huge military transport plane at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. These American servicemen had endured years of brutal torture, kept shackled and starving in solitary confinement, in rat-infested, mosquito-laden prisons, the worst of which was The Hanoi Hilton.

Months later, the first Vietnam POWs to return home would learn that their rescuers were their wives, a group of women that included Jane Denton, Sybil Stockdale, Louise Mulligan, Andrea Rander, Phyllis Galanti, and Helene Knapp. These women, who formed The National League of Families, would never have called themselves “feminists,” but they had become the POW and MIAs most fervent advocates, going to extraordinary lengths to facilitate their husbands’ freedom—and to account for missing military men—by relentlessly lobbying government leaders, conducting a savvy media campaign, conducting covert meetings with antiwar activists, most astonishingly, helping to code secret letters to their imprisoned husbands.

In a page-turning work of narrative non-fiction, Heath Hardage Lee tells the story of these remarkable women for the first time in The League of Wives, a book certain to be on everyone’s must-read list.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Heath Hardage Lee for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • I could see this making a good movie. 
  • Different women and their personalities represented 
  • Recognize some of the POWs as future politicians 
  • A not too political look at the Vietnam War 

Love:

  • The feminism
  • The wives went from shutting up, behaving themselves, and being good Navy Wives to forces of nature changing thoughts and minds during the Vietnam War #BadAssLadies

Dislike:

  • Many parts are boring and drawn out – the first 1/2 of the book 

Wish that: 

  • It was not as underwhelming 
  • Got to the interesting parts quicker 

Overall, a good interesting book about the strong women whose husbands were POW/MIA soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s a heartwarming story about a terrible event, but the details don’t interest me that much. 

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · non fiction · science

The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford | ARC #BookReview

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The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us by Adam Rutherford

Published: March 19, 2019 

Publisher: The Experiment 

Pages: 272 

Genres: non fiction, science, history

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about science – in particular evolution, looking at the world in a different way

Foodie Vibes: a nice chopped salad 

 

Synopsis: 

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but is there really anything special about us that sets us apart from other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox – that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special – lies at the heart of who we are.

In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.

THE BOOK OF HUMANS tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals, and reveals how we are extraordinary among them.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the Experiment, and Adam Rutherford for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Opportunity to learn even more about evolution 
  • Shows the specific genetics and behaviors that contribute to evolutionary change
  • Many visuals to help with understanding of the text

Love:

  • Everyone can learn something from this book
  • Complex information that’s written in an easy to understand way. You don’t need a college degree in science to understand the information 

Dislike:

  • Not so much a dislike, but more of a warning- there’s chapters on sexual activity ( because how else are new animals and humans created) It goes in depth into various sexual activities, mating practices, and genital touching. So heads up, if you end up listening as an audiobook without headphones. 

Wish that:

Overall, a well written, comprehensive book about the step by step process of evolution. Written in an interesting easily accessible manner. I definitely recommend if you’re interested in the topic!

 

In high school, did you love or hate science class?

 

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

3 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · non fiction · science

The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World by Paul Morland | ARC #BookReview

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The Human Tide: How Population Shaped the Modern World by Paul Morland 

Published: March 5, 2019

Publisher: Public Affairs 

Pages: 352 

Genres: non fiction, science, history

Rating: 3 stars 

Recommend to fans of: being a lifelong learner, sociological, political and cultural impacts on populations over time

Foodie Vibes: the precious potato that fed or sometimes starved so many people in Ireland 

Synopsis: 

A dazzling new history of the irrepressible demographic changes and mass migrations that have made and unmade nations, continents, and empires
The rise and fall of the British Empire; the emergence of America as a superpower; the ebb and flow of global challenges from Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia. These are the headlines of history, but they cannot be properly grasped without understanding the role that population has played.
The Human Tide shows how periods of rapid population transition–a phenomenon that first emerged in the British Isles but gradually spread across the globe–shaped the course of world history. Demography–the study of population–is the key to unlocking an understanding of the world we live in and how we got here.
Demographic changes explain why the Arab Spring came and went, how China rose so meteorically, and why Britain voted for Brexit and America for Donald Trump. Sweeping from Europe to the Americas, China, East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, The Human Tide is a panoramic view of the sheer power of numbers.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Public Affairs and Paul Morland for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • a wonderful mix of sociological, economic, political, cultural and science’s effects on population changes throughout history – Fascinating!
  • Can tell the author is knowledgable and passionate about the topics
  • Has me looking at history in a new way
  • Views the population changes in a new and completely interesting way

Love:

  • Readers can learn a lot from the book.

Dislike:

-Some sections didn’t interest me or were repetitive (This could definitely be a personal preference, and may not be the case for you.)

Wish that:

  • There was more science based information. Based on the book description, I expected a better balance of science and history. 

Overall, an interesting and educational book that’s filled with so much information. The author makes the topics accessible. 

 

Which do you find more interesting: history or science?

#ScienceNerd all the way!

 

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Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

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Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · non fiction · politics

Justice in Plain Sight: A Small Town Newspaper and Its Unlikely Lawyer Opened America’s Courtroom by Dan Bernstein | New Release

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Justice in Plain Sight: A Small Town Newspaper and Its Unlikely Lawyer Opened America’s Courtroom by Dan Bernstein

Published: January 1, 2019

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press

Pages: 280

Genres: non fiction, history, politics

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: the First Amendment, equality and justice for all, unknown parts of history, politics 

Foodie Vibes: black coffee and donuts 

 

Synopsis: 

Justice in Plain Sight is the story of a hometown newspaper in Riverside, California, that set out to do its job: tell readers about shocking crimes in their own backyard. But when judges slammed the courtroom door on the public, including the press, it became impossible to tell the whole story. Pinning its hopes on business lawyer Jim Ward, whom Press-Enterprise editor Tim Hays had come to know and trust, the newspaper took two cases to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980s. Hays was convinced that the public—including the press—needed to have these rights and needed to bear witness to justice because healing in the aftermath of a horrible crime could not occur without community catharsis. The newspaper won both cases and established First Amendment rights that significantly broadened public access to the judicial system, including the right for the public to witness jury selection and preliminary hearings.

Justice in Plain Sight is a unique story that, for the first time, details two improbable journeys to the Supreme Court in which the stakes were as high as they could possibly be (and still are): the public’s trust in its own government.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, University of Nebraska Press and Dan Bernstein for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

So many great aspects to this book. It definitely makes me want to stand up and do what’s right for all people. I really liked the concepts.

A small town newspaper demanding an open court system and winning. #LoveIt

Journalism making a positive impact on their community. #AnotherWin

Learning about the inner workings of journalism, the court system and Supreme Court case processes. #Fascinating 

You will learn so much about all of this and more, by reading Justice in Plain Sight. I think it’s a great book for people, especially students, who want to learn more about these concepts in a more example driven manner. I also liked that the transcripts from portions of the Supreme Court cases were provided. It really helped me to understand. It also gave the true feel of the atmosphere, during that era. The process may not have been flashy, but it was necessary and impactful for years to come. 

However, the material is fairly dense so reading requires good concentration. It’s not a book to read when you’re tired or distracted. Also a few times I got a little lost, but ended up figuring it out. 

Overall, I learned a lot about a concept in history that I previously knew nothing about. An informative, strong book that made me more appreciative of all the journalists in the current political climate.

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

What’s your go to newspaper?

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Archeology · biography · Book Reviews · history · science · sociology

New Release | The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt by Randall Sullivan

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The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World’s Longest Treasure Hunt by Randall Sullivan 

Published: December 11, 2018

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press

Pages: 396

Genres: non fiction, history, archeology, biography 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: history mysteries that are unsolved, conspiracy theories and legends

Foodie Vibes: fish and coconuts 

 

Synopsis: 

In 1795, a teenager discovered a mysterious circular depression in the ground on Oak Island, in Nova Scotia, Canada, and ignited rumors of buried treasure. Early excavators uncovered a clay-lined shaft containing layers of soil interspersed with wooden platforms, but when they reached a depth of ninety feet, water poured into the shaft and made further digging impossible.

Since then the mystery of Oak Island’s “Money Pit” has enthralled generations of treasure hunters, including a Boston insurance salesman whose obsession ruined him; young Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and film star Errol Flynn. Perplexing discoveries have ignited explorers’ imaginations: a flat stone inscribed in code; a flood tunnel draining from a man-made beach; a torn scrap of parchment; stone markers forming a huge cross. Swaths of the island were bulldozed looking for answers; excavation attempts have claimed two lives. Theories abound as to what’s hidden on Oak Island—pirates’ treasure, Marie Antoinette’s lost jewels, the Holy Grail, proof that Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays—yet to this day, the Money Pit remains an enigma.

The Curse of Oak Island is a fascinating account of the strange, rich history of the island and the intrepid treasure hunters who have driven themselves to financial ruin, psychotic breakdowns, and even death in pursuit of answers. And as Michigan brothers Marty and Rick Lagina become the latest to attempt to solve the mystery, as documented on the History Channel’s television show The Curse of Oak Island, Sullivan takes readers along to follow their quest firsthand.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Atlantic Monthly Press and Randall Sullivan for an ARC ebook copy to review. Sorry for the bit of a late review. I was out of power for 3 days due to a winter storm and am a little late on my book reviews. As always, an honest review from me. 

The intrigue is definitely there for a lot of people. The book made me see why so many people get caught up in searching for a treasure they’re not even sure exists. The book goes into great detail about the history of the island and people throughout the ages. You will definitely learn a lot. It’s very detail oriented. I was more interested in the brief overview of the more exciting aspects, so it was a bit much for me. I absolutely loved learning about the conspiracy theories and different cultures that could possibly tie into it. A unique way to learn about atypical parts of history such as the Acadians, Templar Knights and U.S. Presidential ties to the Money Pit. Also the creepy factor was fun to read, but would freak me out in real life. Also the book is a companion to the tv show. 

There weren’t too many downsides to the book. It is jam packed with names, dates, and events so there’s a lot to remember. I read maybe 30-50 pages per day, because any more was too much information at once. So, not a quick read. 

Overall, The Curse of Oak Island is filled with all sorts of information about the legend and history surrounding the Money Pit. Informative, incredibly intriguing, and creepy. I definitely recommend if you’re looking for an all encompassing read about the topic. 

 

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Do you believe some, none or all of the conspiracy theories that you’ve heard about?

 

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4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · Medical · non fiction · science · Uncategorized

ARC Book Review | The Atlas of Disease by Sandra Hempel

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The Atlas of Disease: Mapping Deadly Epidemics and Contagion from the Plague to the Zika Virus by Sandra Hempel

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: White Lion Publishing 

Pages: 224

Genres: non fiction, medical, health, science, history 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about health and wellness, medicine, science in general but especially human health

Foodie Vibes: healthy well balanced meals that are prepared with the ultimate food safety in mind 

 

Synopsis:

Behind every disease is a story, a complex narrative woven of multiple threads, from the natural history of the disease, to the tale of its discovery and its place in history.
 
But what is vital in all of this is how the disease spreads and develops. In The Atlas of Disease, Sandra Hemple reveals how maps have uncovered insightful information about the history of disease, from the seventeenth century plague maps that revealed the radical idea that diseases might be carried and spread by humans, to cholera maps in the 1800s showing the disease was carried by water, right up to the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s and the recent Ebola outbreak.
 
Crucially, The Atlas of Disease will also explore how cartographic techniques have been used to combat epidemics by revealing previously hidden patterns. These discoveries have changed the course of history, affected human evolution, stimulated advances in medicine and shaped the course of countless lives.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, White Lion Publishing, and Sandra Hempel for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

The Atlas of Disease is perfectly summarized in the title. The book features diseases that have caused epidemics, outbreaks and overall ill health in humans throughout history. The author uses maps to help illustrate the spread of, infection rate, and other useful information relating to each disease. 

Each disease featured starts with the basics about it, so even if you’re not an expert in the field you can learn about the disease enough to have a good understanding to read the rest of the section. The next few pages describe the history, transmission, and much other information related to that specific disease. I found it fascinating and learned some new information, even beyond what I had learned in my college courses. 

I found it very interesting to see how people’s actions affect the spread of disease including individual people’s choices, the political climate, war, poverty, and famine. Also the book is a great example of why vaccinations are so important. Yes, anti vaxxers I’m talking to you. Vaccinate your children!

However, some of the maps didn’t interest me that much. Partly because I was reading it on my iPhone so I had to constantly zoom in and move the page of the book around the see the whole map, so it was more bothersome than worth it. Also I already understood most of the information through reading the text, so the map didn’t give me too much additional information. But if you’re a big visual learner or very next to the subjects then the maps would be very helpful. 

All in all, I really enjoyed reading The Atlas of Disease. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a nerd like me. 

 

Do you think learning about diseases is interesting or scary? 

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · history · non fiction · POC · politics

New Release | We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim

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We Can’t Breathe: On Black Lives, White Lies and the Art of Survival by Jabari Asim

Published: October 16, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 208

Genres: non fiction, POC, politics, history

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: African American history, justice

Foodie Vibes: family meals made with love

 

Synopsis:

In We Can’t Breathe, Jabari Asim disrupts what Toni Morrison has exposed as the “Master Narrative” and replaces it with a story of black survival and persistence through art and community in the face of centuries of racism. In eight wide-ranging and penetrating essays, he explores such topics as the twisted legacy of jokes and falsehoods in black life; the importance of black fathers and community; the significance of black writers and stories; and the beauty and pain of the black body. What emerges is a rich portrait of a community and culture that has resisted, survived, and flourished despite centuries of racism, violence, and trauma. These thought-provoking essays present a different side of American history, one that doesn’t depend on a narrative steeped in oppression but rather reveals black voices telling their own stories.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jabari Asim for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

We Can’t Breathe describes the injustices and outright atrocities committed against black lives throughout U.S. history. Spanning from before the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement to current day. 

A great compilation of important historical moments and movements. Some information I knew, some was new to me, and all was put together to form an impactful book. The author combines facts with anecdotes from his life for the biggest impact and understanding.

However, at times some chapters seemed disjointed from the common theme of the book. It was all relevant important information, but those sections took me awhile to make sense of them, in terms of the greater story. Also some chapters captured my attention more than others, but this is common in many non fiction books.

Overall, an important relevant book that many people should educate themselves with.

2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · feminism · history · LGBTQIA+ Books · non fiction

ARC Book Review | A Politically Incorrect Feminist by Phyllis Chesler

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Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a fun Bookish Question!

 

A Politically Incorrect Feminist: Creating a Movement with Bitches, Lunatics, Dykes, Prodigies, Warriors, and Wonder Women by Phyllis Chesler

Published: August 28, 2018

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 336

Genres: feminism, history, non fiction, LGBTQIA+

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: feminist history, history not in the history books

Read with food: whatever you want

 

Synopsis:

Phyllis Chesler was a pioneer of Second Wave Feminism. Chesler and the women who came out swinging between 1972-1975 integrated the want ads, brought class action lawsuits on behalf of economic discrimination, opened rape crisis lines and shelters for battered women, held marches and sit-ins for abortion and equal rights, famously took over offices and buildings, and pioneered high profile Speak-outs. They began the first-ever national and international public conversations about birth control and abortion, sexual harassment, violence against women, female orgasm, and a woman’s right to kill in self-defense.

Now, Chesler has juicy stories to tell. The feminist movement has changed over the years, but Chesler knew some of its first pioneers, including Gloria Steinem, Kate Millett, Flo Kennedy, and Andrea Dworkin. These women were fierce forces of nature, smoldering figures of sin and soul, rock stars and action heroes in real life. Some had been viewed as whores, witches, and madwomen, but were changing the world and becoming major players in history. In A Politically Incorrect Feminist, Chesler gets chatty while introducing the reader to some of feminism’s major players and world-changers.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Phyllis Chesler for an ARC copy of the ebook for review. As always, an honest review.

I jot down notes while I read books, things that I want to remember for later to write my book reviews. For this book I had such conflicting notes written that I had a hard time figuring out what I thought overall. But it comes down to these two things. Number 1: I appreciate and respect the advances the author made in the feminist movement. Number 2: I disliked the tone the book was told with. Too angry and judgmental.

Starting out with the positives, because we could all use a little more positivity in our lives. The author’s voice is strong, clear and powerful. There’s no mistaking who she is and what she stands for. Her book tells her story as a feminist over the years, working to make things better for others. Looking back on how our society used to be for women makes me extremely grateful for the feminists before me. All the hard work they put in allows the women of today to have the rights we do. I learned a lot about feminist history in the U.S., especially when it pertains to the author’s life story.

However, the tone of the book makes it much less pleasant to read than it could have been. There’s a lot of judgment and anger. It’s understandable given the circumstances, but it doesn’t appeal to me. There’s also a lot of information, and it can be a bit too much at times. Maybe if your’e extremely familiar with feminist history, this won’t be the case for you. Also more of the book than I would like was the drama between the feminists. Not my cup of tea.

Overall Phyllis Chesler did a lot of good in her lifetime, but the writing feels angry and unapproachable. Informative, authentic, but not for me.

 

Bookish Question of the Review: 

Which feminist ideal do you wish were more prevalent in books? 

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · Comics/Graphic Novels · history

The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin by Sylvain Savoia

 

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Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for my Random Question of the Review!

I want to hear all your thoughts and opinions

 

The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin by Sylvain Savoia

Published: September 16, 2016

Publisher: Europe Comics

Pages: 123

Genres: graphic novel, comic, history

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning about history in a unique way, socially/culturally relevant comics, forgotten moments in history, graphic novels with a purpose

Read with food: water and be so thankful for every drop

 

Synopsis: 

This story takes place on a tiny, far-flung island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, whose nearest neighbor is Madagascar, 500 kilometers away… In 1760, the Utile, a ship carrying black slaves from Africa, was shipwrecked here and abandoned by her crew. The surviving slaves had to struggle to stay alive in this desolate land for fifteen years… When this tale got back to France, it became the cornerstone of the battle of Enlightenment to outlaw slavery. More than two hundred years later, the artist Sylvain Savoia accompanied the first archeological mission in search of understanding how these men and women, who had come from the high mountains of Madagascar, had survived alone in the middle of the ocean. This is the story of that mission, through which we’re exposed to the extraordinary story of the slaves themselves.

 

Review: 

Thank you to NetGalley, Europe Comics, and Sylvain Savoia for a copy of the comic to review. As always, an honest review.

I read the entire graphic novel in a day. By nature, they’re not too long, but since I hadn’t heard about Tromelin before I absolutely had to find out what happened to all the slaves shipwrecked on the island.

I’m not a huge fan of graphic novels and comics, because most of them are based on superheroes. Not my thing! However, when I saw this one I knew I had to read it. I first noticed the illustrations. They’re gorgeous, detailed, evocative of so many emotions, and incredibly powerful. They tell the story wonderfully. The combination of the illustrations and text makes the emotions jump off the page. I felt as if I was right there trapped on the ship with the slaves ~ tired, scared, hot, hungry.

Not too many graphic novels discuss slavery, especially a part of history that’s as forgotten as Tromelin. I certainly hadn’t heard of it before reading this. The story is told by alternating from present day scientists, journalists, archeologists, etc. excavating the site, and the historical events as they were occurring.

While the history was wonderfully done, the parts about the present day excavations were only okay. Their findings of long lost artifacts did help to complete the story. Also definitely a trigger warning for slavery, assault, abandonment, etc.

Overall, I highly recommend reading The Forgotten Slaves of Tromelin. Powerful, emotive, impactful, an important part of history that’s told through gorgeous illustrations in this graphic novel.

Random Question of the Review:

What book has opened your eyes to something new, recently?