Journey Into Mohawk Country
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Journey Into Mohawk Country

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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  131 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert was only twenty three when he ventured into Mohawk territory in search of the answers to some pressing questions: where were all the beaver skins that the Indians should have been shipping down the river? Was the money that should have been going into the pockets of the Dutch going to the French instead? Despite freezing temperatures and a...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by First Second (first published September 1st 2006)
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Julia
Jul 11, 2012 Julia rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics, ya
Welp. I didn't finish so much as I abandoned it. The text of the book is taken word for word from a 1648 journal written by a Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz von den Bogaert. He traveled from Manhattan Island to what is now upstate NY (the journey ends around where Albany now is). O'Connor has drawn images of what the travels may have looked like including historical images of what Native people were wearing, the long houses, etc.

It's an interesting concept but there are flaws. I found it diffic...more
Raina
Things I liked:
1. GEORGE O'CONNOR - I LOVED his picture books (Kapow and Ker-splash), and his sense of humor comes through beautifully in his illustrations.
2. Primary Sources Made Accessible - As a history buff, I love that a primary source is getting reintroduced to the public in such an approachable way.
3. Pretty Colors - Hilary Sycamore colors make this totally stunning.

Things I'm not such a big fan of:
1. Relevancy? I never really attached to the purpose of the journey. What was the goal? Whe...more
Carolyn
wide reading for CI546

grade level: middle school to high school

genre: historical fiction [w/ some stuff drawn directly from Van den Bogaert's journals, I believe. so a mix of fiction & non)

format: graphic novel

themes: exploration, imperialism, colonialism

cultures: dutch vs native american

school use: I don't think I would probably use this as part of my curriculum. However if I had students that I knew really connected with graphic novels and that might be struggling with more textbook narrat...more
Brynn
One of the most interesting and original graphic novel formats I've yet read, this one is an illustrated journal of a 23-year-old Dutch trader who sets off into northern New York (New Amsterdam then) in the winter of 1634 to improve beaver pelt trade relations with the Mohawk branch of the Iroquois. The illustrator did not abridge or change any entries in the journal kept by this trader, so basically this graphic novel is a primary document illustrated. He takes some liberties with the illustrat...more
Lars Guthrie
Something I do with some regularity is visit the young adult graphic novel section at the Burlingame library, where I found this. Now I'm getting it for my own library, where I'm beginning to build up a good collection of history comic books. What a great concept...actual words from Dutch trader Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert's account of his travels into the American wilderness in 1634-35 (some rather surreal end-of-year holidays in here) combined with illustrator O'Connor's interpretation o...more
Laurie
Dec 01, 2008 Laurie added it
Shelves: wmslibrary, graphic
It's fascinating to read words from 1634 that have been given a contemporary, human feel thanks to the illustrations. I felt that this book engages you in thinking about racism and imperialism, while also being very funny at times. It would be great to find ways to use this in teaching American history (thinking about history and point of view in general).
Carrie
This was an interesting book. It's a graphic novel adaptation of a real diary from the 1600s. The illustrator did not change or abridge the (translated) text in any way, just illustrated it (and in some cases added a little visual speculation). It made for really fascinating reading - I hope this becomes a trend and more folks do this!
Armando
The journal of a journey by H.M. van den Bogaert to start new relationships with the Native Americans of the Mohawk country to continue trading on beaver skins. The text is the original and it was just illustrated.
Annette
Journey into Mohawk Country is based on a journal by H.M. Van den Bogaert with illustrations by George O'Connor.The diary served as a wonderful focal point for this graphic treatment. Written in the graphic novel style, the book follows a dutch trader who leaves Manhattan Island to explore Indian country in the winter of 1634. The young man meets with various Indian groups, trades tools and weapons for fur and food, and learns about the native cultures.[return][return]This well-researched book a...more
Cecily
Whilst I generally disapprove of liberties taken with historical personnages in books which are not clear alternate history, the purely pictoral asides and deviations from van den Bogaert's unadulterated 17th-century text are utterly charming. I read this whilst the first great hail/sleetstorms of a Northern Isles winter lashed against my windows and could not help but shudder in sympathy when the Dutch trader mentions wading frozen rivers then treking another 4 miles to the nearest native hillf...more
Kathy
Van den Bogaert, H. & O’Conor, G. (2006). Journey into Mohawk country. New
York: First Second.
Nonfiction. This book was translated from Dutch into English. It is an illustrated version of the actual journal of a young Dutch trader, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaert, who in 1634 journeyed into the land of the Iroquois Native Americans of what is now New York State. The Iroquois controlled the trade routes, and van den Bogaert was seeking to bolster the Dutch trade of much-valued beaver pelt...more
Erin
I was a little hesitant about the cover and the excerpt (I thought it was a violent story that stereotyped Native Americans), but once I read the Introduction, the concept of this graphic novel sucked me in and spat me out the other side. This is a primary document, a journal written by a Dutch Trader on an expedition to feel out some of the Natives in the area that is now New York. O'Connor set it up in graphic novel style and, with the aid of research, added his own interpretation through pict...more
Kristin
This is a cool graphic novel because it is an actual journal. This novel is not based on Harmen Meyndertsz von den Bogaert’s journey but the text is the exact text from his journal. That tells us a lot about the author George O’ Connor, he’s brilliant. Yes, it is translated but we get the actual journal, with pictures, how awesome?
As a reader, I can’t say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because since it is just a journal so there’s no real action or aim of the story. It was still interestin...more
Andrew Shuping
This brightly illustrated novel tells readers the story of a Dutchman’s, Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaer, journey into Mohawk Country for a trading mission and some of the settlements and people he encountered along the way. Adapted straight from Van den Bogaer’s journey, O’Connor creates a tale that is easy for readers to get into and see not only aspects of the Mohawk culture, but how they interacted with traders. O’Connor does an excellent job of not only adapting the material at hand and pr...more
Jesse
Once I realized this was a graphic adaptation of an actual journal written 400 years ago I had to read it. The journal itself is something I probably never would have picked up, though I do love history, so the fact that I did so is an indication of George O'Connor's skill. The journey didn't hold much relevancy to me and I found myself feeling as if the characters were walking in circles. I think a little more backstory to this one would have helped my understanding tremendously. However, the j...more
Jamie
I've become a fan of George O'Connor, so it was interesting to read this pre-Olympians title. His general idea is intriguing: to illustrate a primary document and bring to life one Dutch trader's diary of his journey into "Mohawk Country." I had lots of questions while I was reading: what's the value of this? why should I believe his pictorial deviations from the text? is this really what the Mohawk looked like? I guess the best use of this text would before history students to use it is an alte...more
Miriam
I admire O'Connor's courage for taking this project as much as I do his veracity to the journal. Really interesting, nearly unbelievable and beautifully drawn.
Kim
George O'Connor (LOVE HIM) read the diary of Dutchman going "upcountry" in the 1700s to trade with the Mohawk. Funny, respectful and a great peak into the moment when cultures meet.
Morgana
I love that this graphic novel's text is an unabridged and unedited primary source document, the journal of a Dutch trader about his wintertime journey among the First Nations of what is now New York State. Very neat idea. The downside is that it lacks much of an arc. I think there are ways it could have been given more layers and annotations of some kind for added richness. I found the illustrations rather samey - in particular the nubile Disney Pocahontas-like women (who also seemed under-dres...more
Jill
I couldn't put this book down. It is a wonderful graphic novel that brings to life the journal of Dutchamn Harmen Meyndertsz van den Bogaertin and his travels through Iroquois country in 1634. I loved how it was arranged with simple journal entries and notes and then graphically illustrated to support the original writing. I have read other graphic novels of historical events and they sometimes embellish the story so much that it becomes more like historical fiction than non-fiction. Check this...more
Sarah
An interesting and unconventional graphic novel that explores new creative ground for the genre. It blends the actual journal entries of Harmen van den Bogaert with illustrations, but it does more then just represent his journal. It interprets portions to make up its own story, to the point where sometimes the words and the art don't quite match up. While the content is not especially moving, it is a unique way of viewing history and bridging the gap between history and historical fiction.
Davin
My step-Dad recommended this to me when I was visiting home a couple of weeks ago.

A graphic novelization of a Dutch trader's journal as he ventured into upstate from New Amsterdam to secure trading rights for pelts. George O'Connor does a good job of interpreting the journal (which has a lot historical significance in the first place), finding gentle humor and giving life to the side characters. Good cartoony drawings and excellent use of color as well.
Crysta
I appreciate that the text comes directly from historical diaries and I enjoyed the artwork. The art certainly made the text more interesting, but a diary of a trader in the seventeenth century is not thrilling reading, so the story was a little dull. Still, though, since a good insight into that time and place, and it made me wish I was teaching a class on trade, colonization, diaries, etc.
Debbie
This was a graphic novel done using the words from the journal of H.M. VandenBogaert who journeyed into Mohawk country from New Netherlands in 1634. It was a fast read and gives an interesting perspective of the Mohawk culture at that time. An especially interesting part was the description of how the healers went about trying to cure a native of disease.
Katie
2.5 stars. Not one to reread, but interesting simply in the way I *did* fail to connect to it - it portrays a world and mindset very unfamiliar to our own.

Though some of the artist's modernizations (the way all Indian women had their sexy coy face on, or the brosephs who constituted our heroes) sometimes irked me. A very quick, lighthearted read, though!

Dana
This is an example of an unexpected but perfect pairing: the simple diary account of European's travels in Mohawk territory during the 17th C, with the charming drawings of Mr. O'Connor. Turning this into a graphic novel really adds to the narrative: it fleshes out the account without arbitrarily 'updating' it.
Kaylee
The premise of this book: take an old journal and illustrate it. It's history turned into entertainment! The text of this book is a translation from a Dutch man's journal, but then the pictures explore some of the 'I wonder why...?" questions that pop up as you read the journal.
Kirsten
An interesting glimpse of a little-known period in early American history. I love that the text is the original (in translation from the Dutch) and the pictures complement (and sometimes appropriately extend) an idea of what it might have looked like. I would have loved a map.
Sara
Found this in my hunt for non-fic graphic novels and really wanted to like it, especially once I discovered it was based on actual historical events! Sadly I came away feeling neither educated or entertained. :/ The tame bears were the best part!
Jason
I loved this book! So cleverly constructed. An interesting study in the relationship between words and pictures. O'Connor uses only Bogaert's exact words, but tells his own story in the illustrations. Excellently done. 4 1/2 stars, really.
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George O'Connor is the author of several picture books, including the New York Times bestseller Kapow!, Kersplash, and Sally and the Some-thing. JOURNEY INTO MOHAWK COUNTRY was his first graphic novel, a long-held dream that weaves together his passion for history and ongoing research into Native American life. He's also the author/illustrator of a new picture book, If I Had a Raptor.
He lives in...more
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