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Blades of Freedom: a Louisiana Purchase Tale

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The 10th installment in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase   The Louisiana Purchase (1803) is today seen as one of history’s greatest bargains. But why did Napoleon Bonaparte sell this seemingly prosperous territory? At the time, France controlled Haiti, and there, slaves were used to harvest sugar. But The 10th installment in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase   The Louisiana Purchase (1803) is today seen as one of history’s greatest bargains. But why did Napoleon Bonaparte sell this seemingly prosperous territory? At the time, France controlled Haiti, and there, slaves were used to harvest sugar. But in 1791, Toussaint Louverture led the largest slave uprising in human history, the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Napoleon had originally wanted to use Louisiana for trade, but with Haiti out of his control, Napoleon’s dream of making a French empire in North America seemed doomed. So when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison tried to buy New Orleans, Napoleon sold them the whole Louisiana Territory.


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The 10th installment in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase   The Louisiana Purchase (1803) is today seen as one of history’s greatest bargains. But why did Napoleon Bonaparte sell this seemingly prosperous territory? At the time, France controlled Haiti, and there, slaves were used to harvest sugar. But The 10th installment in Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase   The Louisiana Purchase (1803) is today seen as one of history’s greatest bargains. But why did Napoleon Bonaparte sell this seemingly prosperous territory? At the time, France controlled Haiti, and there, slaves were used to harvest sugar. But in 1791, Toussaint Louverture led the largest slave uprising in human history, the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Napoleon had originally wanted to use Louisiana for trade, but with Haiti out of his control, Napoleon’s dream of making a French empire in North America seemed doomed. So when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison tried to buy New Orleans, Napoleon sold them the whole Louisiana Territory.

30 review for Blades of Freedom: a Louisiana Purchase Tale

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rod Brown

    Nathan Hale wows once again with a fascinating and humorous history of the complex events that led to the Louisiana Purchase. But this major piece of American history is really the story of the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, and even the pesky mosquito. Despite the global scale, Hale cuts it up into small bits and peppers it with giant personalities -- like those of Francois Mackandal, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Pauline Bonaparte -- to keep the reader engaged. I wa Nathan Hale wows once again with a fascinating and humorous history of the complex events that led to the Louisiana Purchase. But this major piece of American history is really the story of the Haitian Revolution, the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, and even the pesky mosquito. Despite the global scale, Hale cuts it up into small bits and peppers it with giant personalities -- like those of Francois Mackandal, Toussaint L'Ouverture, and Pauline Bonaparte -- to keep the reader engaged. I was excited to turn the page throughout. This is one of my favorite graphic novel series of all time, and I highly recommend all the volumes, this one in particular.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    The bloody, bloody tale of the Haitian revolution. While this series is aimed at younger readers, even us old folks can enjoy and learn from it. The violence is not toned down for kids, so parents be warned. I learned a lot (though I'll forget most of it later). The bloody, bloody tale of the Haitian revolution. While this series is aimed at younger readers, even us old folks can enjoy and learn from it. The violence is not toned down for kids, so parents be warned. I learned a lot (though I'll forget most of it later).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Nathan Hale is some kind of graphic novel guru. It’s hard to imagine telling the complicated and brutal story of the Louisiana Purchase and the Haitian Revolution (with all of its yellow fever outbreaks, beheadings, poisoning, blood drinking, gut stabbing and arm removal) in a graphic novel format that brings history to life for middle school readers. Hale has done it over and over with many of American history’s most notable and notorious people. I am in awe. This man is amazing. Oh, and you’ll Nathan Hale is some kind of graphic novel guru. It’s hard to imagine telling the complicated and brutal story of the Louisiana Purchase and the Haitian Revolution (with all of its yellow fever outbreaks, beheadings, poisoning, blood drinking, gut stabbing and arm removal) in a graphic novel format that brings history to life for middle school readers. Hale has done it over and over with many of American history’s most notable and notorious people. I am in awe. This man is amazing. Oh, and you’ll laugh, too. Don’t ask me how he manages that. I just don’t know.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    What a story to read with my 11 year old... Funny, violent, nicely drawn. Great book for young readers interested in history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dan Blackley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the 10th in the series and it keeps getting better!! This time, Nathan Hale's tale, is about the Louisiana Purchase and the events that led up to America buying this from France. I knew about the purchase, but didn't know that Haiti had the biggest slave uprising and revolution that prompted Napoleon to get rid of the entire area to America. There are many twists and turns in this tale which does get a little confusing at times, but the idea that this historic tale isn't taught in the cl This is the 10th in the series and it keeps getting better!! This time, Nathan Hale's tale, is about the Louisiana Purchase and the events that led up to America buying this from France. I knew about the purchase, but didn't know that Haiti had the biggest slave uprising and revolution that prompted Napoleon to get rid of the entire area to America. There are many twists and turns in this tale which does get a little confusing at times, but the idea that this historic tale isn't taught in the classroom is a crime. I love these books. Besides the fact that they are interesting to read about real people and events, the Author picks very interesting times in history. In this book, he hinted at another book about Lafayette which was one of my favorite ones! I wish he would write them faster but they are worth the wait!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    It all starts with two men and an island. When Napoleon wasn’t in the bathtub, he was on the battlefield in France, while the enslaved people of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) were organizing under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture. When these two men butt heads, Toussaint L’Ouverture presciently responds, “‘In overthrowing me, you have cut down...only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring up again by the roots for they are numerous and deep’...The Haitian Revolution began in 1791. The It all starts with two men and an island. When Napoleon wasn’t in the bathtub, he was on the battlefield in France, while the enslaved people of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) were organizing under the leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture. When these two men butt heads, Toussaint L’Ouverture presciently responds, “‘In overthrowing me, you have cut down...only the trunk of the tree of liberty. It will spring up again by the roots for they are numerous and deep’...The Haitian Revolution began in 1791. The enslaved people of Saint-Domingue shattered their chains and launched the largest and most successful slave uprising in human history,” making Haiti the first country in the Americas to end slavery. “The spirit of liberty speaks in the hearts of all of us.” Blades of Freedom was my introduction to Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. As an educator and bibliophile, I was delighted to discover the Hazardous Tales. While traditional classroom textbooks feature WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) that put students to sleep, Nathan Hale’s creative and comical graphic novels introduce voodoo mosquitoes (and a diverse cast of male and female characters of various religious traditions) that breathe American history to life! My favorites were Luisa and Paulina. I loved Queen Luisa of Spain and her threesome--husband King Charles IV and lover Manuel Godoy) and her daughter Luisetta to whom she intended to dedicate her new kingdom of Etruria. I was equally intrigued by Paulina Bonaparte whose husband attempted to achieve peace on Saint-Domingue. When Napoleon reintroduced slavery and her husband promptly died from the yellow fever of a “voodoo” mosquito, Paulina shaved her head and carried his heart in an urn. Paulina later became a princess by remarriage, engaged in myriad scandalous affairs, and posed for a nearly nude selfie-sculpture! “Come for the booby traps, stay for the blood drinking! And leave before the butt!”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

     Normally if I find myself in a book funk I will read a middle grade book or a graphic novel. Today I chose to read a book that is both! (I didn't actually realize it was a graphic novel until I opened it up. 😅)   The official release day for Blades of Freedom was just yesterday! (11/24/2020) This is actually the tenth book of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, but it is the first one I am reading. They can be read as stand alones so it is no big deal.     I found it interesting and insightful. I even  Normally if I find myself in a book funk I will read a middle grade book or a graphic novel. Today I chose to read a book that is both! (I didn't actually realize it was a graphic novel until I opened it up. 😅)   The official release day for Blades of Freedom was just yesterday! (11/24/2020) This is actually the tenth book of Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales, but it is the first one I am reading. They can be read as stand alones so it is no big deal.     I found it interesting and insightful. I even learned some things I didn't previously know. (Like how sugar is made) These are supposed to be comedic little snippets of our history here in America. A great deal of this story doesn't take place here though.     It is supposed to be middle grade, but I do not think my kiddo is quite ready for it. There were some pretty heavy topics and adult humor throughout. Just not sure we are quite there yet.    I thought the illustrations were great. I also think I would be interested in reading more from this series. It is definitely something you have to be in the mood for though. Part of it was actually a bit depressing, but I guess History can be that way. The author really managed to lighten this up in ways I did not expect.    I am not sure I can accurately give this a star rating because it is our history? The presentation of it was great though.    I should also note that I did not buy this book, it was given to me by the publisher. (Thank you Amulet Books) My review is still 100% my own and just honest opinions. 

  8. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    I love these books so much. I'm an adult, but I still learn a lot from them. The author's approach to history is wonderful: it's all well-researched and true, but told in a fun, entertaining way by the narrator (Nathan Hale, staving off his execution Scherezade-style) and his sidekicks: the executioner, a total goofball who loves animals; and a British officer who's stuffy but loves the tales as much as we do. Billy, the young Black man who tied the noose for Hale's actual hanging, has joined as I love these books so much. I'm an adult, but I still learn a lot from them. The author's approach to history is wonderful: it's all well-researched and true, but told in a fun, entertaining way by the narrator (Nathan Hale, staving off his execution Scherezade-style) and his sidekicks: the executioner, a total goofball who loves animals; and a British officer who's stuffy but loves the tales as much as we do. Billy, the young Black man who tied the noose for Hale's actual hanging, has joined as a character; he's more straightforward than the other two but still cute). These are a great way for adults to fill in the gaps of their American history education (or to find out what actually happened to the Donner party). They'd also be excellent for kids who prefer non-fiction books. Recommended for all ages!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Myersandburnsie

    My least favorite in the series. Lots of gory cartoons. The story is fascinating and I did learn a lot.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Wow! This was a great, kid-friendly introduction to the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase (and Napoleon). These events really should be discussed and learned in tandem to get a deeper understanding of the hows and whys. I appreciate that Hale does not shy away from the grim and gruesome of slavery and war, but does so in a way that encourages thought and understanding. I like that there are multiple narrators that question the hows and whys of the events/and historical figures, and h Wow! This was a great, kid-friendly introduction to the Haitian Revolution and the Louisiana Purchase (and Napoleon). These events really should be discussed and learned in tandem to get a deeper understanding of the hows and whys. I appreciate that Hale does not shy away from the grim and gruesome of slavery and war, but does so in a way that encourages thought and understanding. I like that there are multiple narrators that question the hows and whys of the events/and historical figures, and help the reader to develop their own questions about these people and events. I appreciate that Hale touches on the Indigenous and African belief systems that were synchretized with Christianity and includes visuals that middle grade readers can grasp and use as a jumping point for further research and study. Make sure to read to the very end for a nod to the challenges of 2020, and inspiration to study French to learn more about the Haitian Revolution (as all of the primary sources are in French). Well done, Hale.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jonah Garner

    Gets good after the "Mosquito" bit. You have to read the book to understand. Gets good after the "Mosquito" bit. You have to read the book to understand.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jd

    young adult/history/graphic novel—well done!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lara

    This one is definitely another favorite of mine in the series! Hale's is simultaneously a much broader and much narrower focus on historical events than I ever got in school. I love the way he can hone in on the small details that are really interesting while still connecting events within the context of what's happening elsewhere and when in a way that makes sense of the whole. And he does such a great job of bring historical figures to life! And also of pointing out multiple perspectives. Anywa This one is definitely another favorite of mine in the series! Hale's is simultaneously a much broader and much narrower focus on historical events than I ever got in school. I love the way he can hone in on the small details that are really interesting while still connecting events within the context of what's happening elsewhere and when in a way that makes sense of the whole. And he does such a great job of bring historical figures to life! And also of pointing out multiple perspectives. Anyway, this one involves The Haitian Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase, Napoleon Bonaparte, yellow fever, stabbings, lots of beheadings, mosquitos, a heart in a jar...and some cats!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    My 10 yr. old son had this book delivered the day it was released. He LOVES Nathan Hale's hazardous tales. He's read nearly all of them and kept persisting that I read this newest one so much that I finally gave in. I'm so glad I did! I learned a ton about Haiti - I had no idea about the fascinating history of this island - and of course about the Louisiana Purchase too. Seeing the Hamilton musical has me extra interested in the Revolutionary War, so those Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales are up next My 10 yr. old son had this book delivered the day it was released. He LOVES Nathan Hale's hazardous tales. He's read nearly all of them and kept persisting that I read this newest one so much that I finally gave in. I'm so glad I did! I learned a ton about Haiti - I had no idea about the fascinating history of this island - and of course about the Louisiana Purchase too. Seeing the Hamilton musical has me extra interested in the Revolutionary War, so those Nathan Hale Hazardous Tales are up next!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marcia Porter

    Couched as a story of the Louisiana Purchase, this Hazardous Tale paints a fascinating picture of the slave trade and Haitian Revolution. Nathan Hale does an amazing job of placing U.S. history in the context of the time, something which middle and high school textbooks fail to do well. With humor, intrigue, and a fair dose of gore, this tale is sure to capture its intended audience and hold them fast.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I pushed this aside to read Sanderson's new book, but I finally got back to it and finished it. It has a LARGE cast of characters, but the narrators do a good job of breaking down who is who and what went on. Some were really stand out, like Napoleon's sister and her reaction to her husband's death in Haiti, and Mackandal who led the revolution for a while in Sante Domingue. I pushed this aside to read Sanderson's new book, but I finally got back to it and finished it. It has a LARGE cast of characters, but the narrators do a good job of breaking down who is who and what went on. Some were really stand out, like Napoleon's sister and her reaction to her husband's death in Haiti, and Mackandal who led the revolution for a while in Sante Domingue.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I don’t enjoy a graphic novel so that is the reason that I personally wasn’t able to give 5 stars. I love a book that teaches real history- the good, the bad, the stupid, the shameful - and includes maps. Add humor and anyone can easily “digest” the history of Haiti and its intersection with US history. Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales are a great tool.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Clare Lund

    The most powerful yet of the HAZARDOUS TALES series, this historical graphic novel details the Louisiana Purchase, the Haitian Revolution, and the role that mosquitoes played in the deadly spread of Yellow Fever throughout the region. Important read for ages 9 and up.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rowe

    I get so excited when a new book in this series is released. This one is fantastic, just like all the rest of them. I love this series so much! The “Wheel of History” was a fun twist!

  20. 4 out of 5

    i am Payton

    I thought the style of doing two stories at a time. and lots of lost heads.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    This book is funny while dealing with bloody and brutal parts of history. I loved it, and finished it within 24 hours of getting it from the library. Nathan Hale has done it again.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alissa

    Great new addition to this wonderful series. I enjoyed learning more about Haiti and how they succeeded in fighting for their freedom.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laramort

    This book was dark, but that makes sense when you realize it's really about the Slave Trade. The graphics were stunning and I learned so much about Haiti. This book was dark, but that makes sense when you realize it's really about the Slave Trade. The graphics were stunning and I learned so much about Haiti.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    One of the best in the series so far

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rowan Vosberg

    It was very good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    3.75. It was a good book but a little hard to follow. I did however get the idea and understood it pretty well.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    I cried, but good books make you do that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Nathan Hale does it again! I’m a huge fan, and this one is really good too. Complicated, messy, funny and violent - just like history really is.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love this series. Such a fun way to tell the stories of history.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Maximus

    One word: AMAZING.

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