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Birth of a Nation

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  449 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A contemporary political satire follows the events surrounding east St. Louis's secession from the Union in the face of thousands of disenfranchised voters, a dim-witted and despotic president, and a plan to finance the self-declared Republic of Blackland with a money-laundering scheme. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
Paperback, 137 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 449)
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Apr 16, 2011 Mza rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: persons of colour
Recommended to Mza by: Nobody
If this were a movie (as Hudlin and McGruder originally intended), it'd be the most entertaining Hollywood movie I've seen since 1977; and maybe now someone will make a movie in which East St Louis secedes from the Union and renames itself Blackland and prints up currency featuring the likenesses of MLK, Malcolm X, James Brown, and Will Smith (!?) -- I didn't expect to elect a black president in '08, either. It's about time somebody made a "comic novel" -- they call it that on the cover, none of ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Aili rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks interested in American politics, race politics, urban politics, or the election
What happens when the voters of East St. Louis are disenfranchised and Bush steals the presidency? East St. Louis secedes from the U.S., of course. Wacky hijinks ensue.

This is solid political satire from talented guys ( Aaron McGruder, creator of the comic strip The Boondocks, and Reginald Hudlin, director of House Party). Kyle Baker's art is ideal for the work -- he's got an animator's heart, so he gives the characters real movement and facial expressions. The only reason this didn't get 5 st
Robert Beveridge
Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin, Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel (Crown, 2004)

Despite having Kyle Baker artwork, which is always a “wow” factor in a graphic novel, I took one look at the synopsis for this book and had the sneaking suspicion I was going to hate it. Oh, boy, political satire in comic book form. Is it going to work any better than it does in the movies, in music, in poetry, etc.?

Can I get a hell, yeah!?

While McGruder (The Boondocks) and Hudlin (producer of a number of Hollywood
Feb 06, 2014 Cfo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Jack Cole, Garry Trudeau, Mad Magazine
A nearly perfect satirical stampede, occasionally marred by technical remnants of its origins as a Hollywood spec script.

I'm glad it eventually manifested as a comic, though. You can never have too many excuses to give Kyle Baker work.
A.D. Carson
Jun 25, 2012 A.D. Carson rated it really liked it
"Pretty good book. Easy read, and very entertaining. I think the format of the "Comic Novel" makes this book extremely accessible. Would definitely recommend to fans of The Boondocks comic/cartoon."
with this, reached the 50 book point for the year. getting rid of cable was such a good idea..... i am so glad i did it.
Dec 26, 2010 DW rated it really liked it
Recommended to DW by: Bruce Spearman-El
Funny. Enjoyable. A definite message within.
Oct 09, 2016 Taneka rated it it was amazing
At first I did not like this graphic novel. I felt that it made fun of poor and disenfranchised Blacks, making them look apathetic, clumsy and lazy. After continuing to read, I saw the actual vision in play and it grew on me. For those that have been following David Banner and Killer Mike, this book is a way for you to fully understand their vision and what they are trying to get Blacks to understand. No, this is not a nonfiction book, but it takes events of past, present and future and tells th ...more
Variaciones Enrojo
Reseña de Andrés Accorsi para su blog:

Además de Special Forces (de la que ya hablamos), en estos últimos años el incombustible Kyle Baker acumuló muchísimas obras interesantes, entre otras Plastic Man, King David y la impactante Nat Turner. Pero, casi irónicamente, su mejor trabajo es el único en el que el guión no le pertenece. Birth of a Nation (de 2004) es un comic absolutamente bakereano, pero escrito por Aaron McGruder (autor de The Boondocks, una pop
I really wanted to like this satirical take on America's history of disenfranchisement of people of color, but instead found it just passably insightful and entertaining. I was disappointed from the start when I discovered that the illustrations were not by Aaron McGruder, whose name is featured prominently on the book's cover, as I am a big fan of his comic series The Boondocks. It turns out that he is just a co-author of the story, along with film/television writer/director/producer Reginald ...more
Mona B-j
Sep 20, 2016 Mona B-j rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from some of the language, this book had me in stitches all the way through! I read it twice! Hilarious and AGAIN about my hometown of East St. Louis, Illinois so I could definitely relate to a lot of it!
Dec 30, 2007 ayrdaomei rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: conspiracy theorists, diehard McGruderites
Shelves: finished
This book was co-written by Aaron McGruder, of The Boondocks fame. It takes place in a parallel reality, if you will, in the aftermath of an American election much like the one in 2000. Some names have been changed, but there are a lot of recognizable players (e.g., President Caldwell is clearly meant to be President Bush). The story centers on a majority-black city in Missouri where many residents are "mistakenly" kept from voting in the election. Unsatisfied by the response of government to th ...more
Jan 19, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of political satire
Shelves: graphic-novels
Birth of a Nation tells the story of a small town that secedes from America to form its own nation of Blackland. But it's more than that. It's also the story of institutional racism, a rigged system, disenfranchisement, government cronyism, and more. Co-written by the amazing Aaron McGruder (creator of "Boondocks") this graphic novel had me laughing and wishing it were all true at the same time.

The predominately black population of East St. Louis, Illinois has their voting eligibility revoked du
Jun 26, 2008 HeavyReader rated it liked it
I found out about this book when reading All the Rage by Aaron McGruder.

It is more like an illustrated story than a graphic novel, full color, no word or thought bubbles over characters' heads.

It's the thinly disguised story of George W. Bush being handed the presidency despite the fact that so many people (mostly people of color) were not allowed to vote. In this version of the story, the mostly African American city of East St. Louis, Illinois secedes from the union and becomes Blackland.

I lo
Matt Sautman
Mar 13, 2016 Matt Sautman rated it it was amazing
Growing up near East St. Louis, this book has a personal connection to me. While it is fiction, the book carries through the true narrative of the disparity felt between East. Louis and its counterpart from across the river. Combining satire with absurdist wit, the novel documents the birth of Blackland, a new country that is formed in response to the oppression the citizens of the town feel in response to the U.S. government. There is a slight spirit of Boondocks within the work, but the art is ...more
Mar 13, 2016 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels, funny
This book is a screenplay, just adapted to graphic novel book form. I would say that the way that they sported it to graphic novel form is pretty poor. The art is cartoonish, often to the point of being distracting, and the silo doesn't seem to fit the writing. Plus, the text is thrown into the book in a very unimpressive and Microsoft Word looking way It's more of a storyboard than anything.

That being said, I thought that the actual plot and story line were pretty good, and funny. It definitel
Melanie Page
May 02, 2014 Melanie Page rated it it was amazing
A fantasy rendition of what would happen if a community of black Americans were denied the right to vote by being falsely labeled as "felons" in the government system.

The three authors do a smooth job of helping the reader remember the numerous characters and who is speaking. The book doesn't have speech bubbles; instead, you'll read the font below what is mostly pictures within a square space (like a comic strip).

I nearly lost it when one citizen of the newly-created "Blackland" yelled, "The Am
May 14, 2015 Tajah rated it it was amazing
Classic Aaron McGruder. Weaving both hilarity, realism, and a sharp political tongue to create what was a totally feasible comic strip on the creation of 'Blackland'.
McGruder is cynical about US politics, but after reading this comic (and the intro by Kyle Baker), you'd definitely understand why that was the case.

5 stars, definitely read it! (But maybe not in public if you're white and don't want people to link you with the racist film......)
A Battleground
Nov 05, 2014 A Battleground rated it it was amazing
I really wish this could have been a movie (or a one-season-only television show so that it didn't suffer the zombified resurrection that tried its damnedest to ruin The Boondocks. Yeah, I've got some anger behind that.) McGruder and Hudlin's satire knocks it out of the park. No one escapes their razor-sharp dissection in this tale of what happens when East St. Louis, Illinois secedes from the union. Of course I could just be partial because of all those sneaky Outkast references.
Jun 18, 2014 Christoaugust rated it it was ok
Meh. Too absurd and not in the good way. The comic beats are straight out of the most cliched kind of early 2000s "Friday" rip-offs and the satire is obvious and never half as biting as McGruder is known for. A relic of the angry Bush years, when every liberal was churning out similar dreck. This one is also somewhat ineptly constructed, halfway between a script and a comic. Makes sense that it was a cash-in following the failed attempt at making the film.
Mar 06, 2016 Evan rated it really liked it
With the satirical slapstick one would expect from the combined work of the creator of The Boondocks and the writer of House Party, Birth of a Nation tells a visual story of a disenfranchised black community’s retaliatory secession from the United States. The thinly veiled references to recent figures and moments in American history shows the relationship between American foreign policy and domestic policy and makes the reader imagine what an independent black politic looks like.
John Lamberth
Oct 01, 2012 John Lamberth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aaron McGruder

Really interesting read. I thought they did a great job of creating an "alternate history" book (in graphic novel form) and gave great thought to the unintended consequences of decision making. There were a few things I disagreed with as far as what would happen, but that's more nitpicky than anything.
I actually enjoyed this even more than his "Boondocks" stuff.
Mar 03, 2008 BrainBackBend rated it it was amazing
This is a great book, but it is not suitable for middle school students due to language.

In addition to the stellar art work, the complex story line mashes political themes, African American culture, disenfranchisement, economics, and more.

Here are some links:

Picked this up as it came across my desk at the Library; love the Boondocks and have fond memories of Bebe Kids, so I figured what the hell.

The narrative is classic, East St. Louis secedes from the Union, and makes it work, so that was kinda nice.

I laughed out loud a few times, and nodded my head a bunch, so it was worth the couple hours it took me to get through it.

High school kids would definitely enjoy this...
Jan 28, 2008 Bryan rated it it was ok
This is an adaptation of an unproduced film script. It feels rushed and cheap. Occasionally stage direction from the script is simply left in as a caption. I deducted one star for that.

Dr. Strangelove this is not but it is amusing. Incredibly dated for a piece that is only 4 years old. I wish Kyle Baker had a hand in the writing as he operates with greater depth in his own work.
Mar 18, 2015 Wallace rated it liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
A defiant leftist fantasy of a poor ghetto breaking free from the United States and making a go at democracy. Sensational, goofy, offensive, already mired in the politic drama of 2000. Interesting to read in the light of an unarmed black teen's death by cop, highlights ongoing inequality of St. Louis in 2014.
Sep 11, 2007 mika rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphicnovels
birth of a nation at first caught my eye because of the white supremacist movie of the same title featuring the KKK in the origination myth of the klan. very funny. I got a little bored of the layout – sometimes the lack of speech-bubbles got tedious. I have to repeat though, very funny! very clever! amazing piece of satire.
Sep 16, 2012 Zeo rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics-and-meta
I'm not so much of a fan of Hudlin, but pairing with McGruder seems to have worked well - I get the impression that they're both better editors of other people's work and respect each other enough to listen to each other's edits, and that comes together here. Baker's artwork is wonderful, of course. It's a fun alternate history comic.
Sep 12, 2011 Kathleen rated it really liked it
I decided to reread this book since I hadn't in more than five years. Still hilarious, although I find it a bit sad that this is a conversation we all forgot about after 9/11 and Bush's subsequent 2004 reelection.

If I ever start a country, our national anthem might borrow a theme or two from a television show at that.
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Aaron McGruder is an American cartoonist best known for writing and drawing The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip about two young African American brothers from inner-city Chicago now living with their grandfather in a sedate suburb. Through the leftist Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother Riley, a young want-to-be gangsta, the strip explores issues involving ...more
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