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Louis Riel: L'insurgé (Louis Riel)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,981 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Raconte la surprenante et véridique histoire de l'insurrection d'une communauté de métis indiens dans les années 1870 au Canada. Louis Riel était l'un des leaders francophones de cette petite colonie de la Rivière Rouge qui refusa d'être autoritairement intégrée à la collectivité des Etats du Canada. Rapidement, ce mouvement d'opposition dégénèra en rébellion armée et en c ...more
Published 2004 by Casterman (first published 2003)
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Seth Hahne
Biography is always a tricky thing to pull off well. Ignoring the matter of interpretation, the biographer still has to grapple with the reality that there are not really any such things as brute facts. The biographer is never simply representing What Happened, but instead puts forth a version of what happened—a story that conforms more or less plausibly with the ultimately unknowable way history actually spun itself out.

Louis Riel by Chester Brown

In my response to Christopher Frayling’s biography of Sergio Leone, I wrot
This is an ambitious effort to deal with a very complex part of Canadian history. The artwork is excellent, but unfortunately the resulting story is over-simplistic. Brown compensates for this somewhat in the extensive notes at the end of the comic book, where he goes so far as to admit that he made John A. MacDonald appear more villainous to improve the story. Not sure it's a good idea to take such liberties with important historical figures (i.e. Canada's first prime minister) for something th ...more
Being French-Canadian, Québécois, and Acadian, this story hit home for me.

I don`t know if I had family in Manitoba back then... quite possibly, as the deportation of the Acadians took part a little prior to the story in Riel, and many Acadians did 'flee' West. One of the sad things about deportation, is that you tend to loose touch with family members and Neighbors, and they tend to be `forgotten` after a generation or two.

Stories like that of Riel to help to `refresh` our memories... and althou
Really nice to re-learn this chapter of Canadian History, but as a novel, it didn't work for me.
The visual style was very static, so it didn't convey the movement and chaos that I would expect to accompany an armed rebellion, and the dialogue was very stiff and emotion-less. It gave me the impression of an illustrated list of facts, as opposed to a dramatic re-telling of fascinating real-world events. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, like they were all two-dimensional comic str
Sam Quixote
Brown retells the history of Louis Riel using his unique drawing skills. Each of the characters are given blank eyes and expressionless faces, as well as enormous hands and small heads - deliberate choices by the artist.

The story is a bit dusty for most of the book. This law was passed which meant this border changed which meant this happened which meant people had to move until this law was passed, blah blah. Unless you're really into 19th century Canadian history regarding the Metis people yo
Margaret Sankey
This is a brilliant re-telling of the metis uprising led by Louis Riel against the Hudson's Bay Company and the British Empire, as laid out in graphic novel form. This is historically well-researched and thoughtfully illustrated to draw out all of the complexities of this event's religious, racial, economic and colonial implications.
Nicholas Aune
I love the tale of Louis Riel. And I especially love the fact that this book comes in comic form so that I can share it with my son.

This version of the Louis Riel story is sort of the beginner's guide to Riel. There are a lot of factual errors. Sources aren't cited very well ( and as this takes place in the world of Canadian espionage and political backhanding, it's very important to use good sources.) Even the illustrations aren't accurate portraits.

A lot of people who study Riel roll their ey
According to Wikipedia, "Louis Riel was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political and spiritual leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies." In this comic-strip biography, Chester Brown details some of Riel's life as it pertains to the relationship between the Metis natives (mixed French and native Canadian) and the Canadian government. In the 1860s, modern-day-Manitoba is passed from the Hudson's Bay company to Canada, despite the wishes of the nativ ...more
I am strongly drawn to histories in cartoon form, but almost always a little disappointed by them. The problem is that the leading work in the genre -- Larry Gonick's many-volumed Cartoon History of the Universe -- is so outrageously good that it is hard for anyone else to compete. Gonick's books are treasures, and I would never wish them away, but the field of non-fiction cartooning might be a little more healthy if its pioneer hadn't set the bar quite so high.

Louis Riel is the biography of a C
I knew nothing of Louis Riel, or any Canadian history for that matter, before reading this, drawn to the series only because of my admiration for Chester Brown's other work. Spare, unsentimental, and by no means exhaustive, Brown's graphic biography of Riel and his times is all the more powerful for its limitations, openly acknowledged by Brown in his extensive footnotes. The power of this biography, then, comes from Brown's choices; like a savvy director, he directs the reader's gaze to only th ...more
A great recounting of the early history and rebellion of the Metis and Canada's machinations to annex their lands -- my favourite comics expose evil and this does it well. It also does it complexly, which is good. I loved the liveliness of the drawing, and I know very little of this history but felt this did beautifully at illuminating one view into the fascinating character and contradictions of Riel. Of course, I was rooting for Gabriel Dumont the whole time...
I liked the concept of this a lot better than the actual book. The artwork and the writing are super simplistic. The artwork is also poorly proportioned, with tiny heads and huge hands. And normally I would forgive this if it suited the writing, or had a purpose, or even if the writing was just so kick ass that you didn't care what the artwork looked like. But none of those are true, it was just kinda bad art. The writing itself was just too oversimplified for words. There was no flow, the chara ...more
Yes, it's shelved in the history section at the library, and yes it should be. This is the first thing I've read by Chester Brown, and I was pretty massively impressed. I don't know anything about the actual story, although I've been to the area of Canada in which it takes place, so I can't say how much is altered or shaped (although I don't really have to; Brown provides a bunch of endnotes that explain choices he made). The art seems amateurish at first, especially in panels that feature actio ...more
Chester Brown’s Cartoon biography of Louis Riel is a fantastic piece of art meets history. The story focuses on a small portion of Louis’s story and by the author’s own admition makes some stretches and assumption about some elements.

The Book is drawn simply but is still beautiful to look at and hold.

The story is well paced and flows well. I read the entire 200 pages in an evening. The book is a great summary for those that know Riel’s story or a great introduction to it but this should not be y
Brown biography of Riel is direct to the point of simplicity and he never really hits the emotional core of his subject who at times seemed to be a politically astute revolutionary and at others to be a self-deluded messianic holy man. I like the power of Brown's simple art, though.


Brown's narrative style is a little too direct to allow for total immersion in his tale. Riel's story is important, but I'm not sure the comic book form helps us understand it any better the way Sacco's work doe
I very much enjoy graphic novels and Brown's ability to tell a complicated story through his art and limited text are the hilights of this work. Brown pays particular attention to historical detail and it is obvious that Louis Riel has a champion in the author. In this book, we are exposed to a version of the settlement of western Canada and the treatment of Canada's First Nations and Metis people that you won't read in history books written by acacemics of middle class European descent. Brown d ...more
If only history were taught using the very human elements at the heart of it all... I hated studying Louis Riel in high school, what with the stodgy texts and the tests for memorized dates & names. But this, this is wonderful storytelling from start to finish. Let's hope that someday an inspired artist sets down the truths about Prime Minister Harper and his lot's lies, too.
A pretty good attempt to retell the story of one of Canada's biggest folk heroes and freedom fighters in graphic novel format. The format works well here and the story flows nicely for the entirety of the book. However, it did feel a very simplistic account of what must have happened and so it does inspire and even demands further reading on the history of the Metis people and the sneaky ways that politics and big business worked together to take their land from under them.

Louis Riel as the cent
Exceptional history of the strung-up (and quite crazy) leader of the rebellious Metis in what is now Manitoba and Saskatchewan. A good way to teach high-schoolers history (in this case about the Louis Riel and Northwest Rebellion) is when there are great history-based comics like this.
This was a disappointing effort from Brown, lacking in warmth or depth. While he reached towering emotional heights in I NEVER LIKED YOU, this book has an unfortunate antiseptic approach to its historical subjects.
Canadians don't have much of a reputation for badassery, but Louis Riel was BAD...ASS. He was a really interesting guy. A true metis! He was a mix of so many things.
Politicians suck. This book was beautifully done and presented a story i sure don't remember going over in school.
Rob Forteath
What an unusual and interesting work! It is well-paced and fascinating from start to finish, and you never feel you are being manipulated by the biographer to think unduly well nor ill of the subject. The point-of-view and the sympathy of the story are entirely with the Métis, but Riel himself is viewed through a seemingly objective lens.

The extensive notes give a good indication of how sparse and contradictory the factual evidence of the events is, and how many wildly different books have been
Ever since the mid to late 80's, when I came across his "Yummy Fur", I have been a fan of Chester Brown's. Too often, comic art has been perceived as a lower form of both writing and art, and it's works like this that will elevate the form to be considered as more than mere entertainment. That's important because there has been serious narrative storytelling using the "cartoon" format for many years now, and, arguably, since the beginning of the 20th century. Brown's spare style in this book, ( ...more
Wonderful. I wish Chester Brown had written my Intro to Canadian History textbooks in undergrad.
Fawndolyn Valentine
Book 2 / Kindle 0 - Kindle died just before the epilogue. And I had to skip the notes, because it is impossible to flip to so many referred pages on a kindle.

But this book is worth owning in the flesh.

The art was simple and acceptional, however left little room for character expressions. The story was astounding, a little dull toward the beginning, but blew my mind nonetheless. I hadn't heard this much of Riel's tale, and I realized that oftentimes, he wasn't as heroic as I thought, but sometim
Like many graphic novels, Chester Brown's Louis Riel straddles—somewhat uneasily—the line between art and entertainment. I mean, if it weren't for the populist appeal of cartoons, this "comic-strip biography" would never have been able to crack any Canadian bestseller lists. Yet at the same time, Brown almost seems determined to keep his tale as unentertaining as possible: although gorgeously drawn, the novel has the emotional tenor of a history book, relying heavily on "talking-head"-type dialo ...more
This review originally appeared on my blog, Shared Universe Reviews.

As Seth T. Hahne points out in his review of Louis Riel on Good Ok Bad, biography, and history as a whole, is difficult to write. It’s impossible to write it objectively and it can be very difficult to even try to do so. Seth outlines the difficulties a bit more in his review but I’m not going to bother repeating him here. You should be reading Good Ok Bad anyway. Seth is top notch when it comes to comic reviews. What I’d rath
Now if only this book had been around for my high school history classes. I think this book was a pretty great introduction to Louis Riel and the role he plays in Canadian history. I feel I have a much better sense of that part of history after reading this book, and I think that has a lot to do with the visual component of the book. I admit this is my first time reading a graphic novel (shame, shame, I know), and so I was a bit unsure what to expect going into it; after finishing this I can see ...more
Since I can only ever seem to pay attention to history books, I figured I'd take a break and read one with a lot of pictures. I had high hopes for this biography, and was happy with it. However the sparse treatment of dialog left me feeling a tad removed from any of the characters as much as I was drawn along by the story. Sometimes really passionate words come off like dry, wooden statements. Still, the whole Riel story is fascinating and rather epic, and I recommend this highly. Chester Brown' ...more
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Chester Brown was born in Montreal, Canada on May 16, 1960 and grew up in the nearby suburb of Chateauquay. His career path was set at the age of 12 when the local newspaper, The St. Lawrence Sun, published one of his comic strips.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

At 19, he moved to Toronto and got a day job while he worked on his skills as a ca
More about Chester Brown...

Other Books in the Series

Louis Riel (10 books)
  • Louis Riel # 1 (Second Printing)
  • Louis Riel # 2 (Second Printing)
  • Louis Riel # 4
  • Louis Riel # 5
  • Louis Riel # 6
  • Louis Riel # 7
  • Louis Riel #8
  • Louis Riel #9
  • Louis Riel #10
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