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Blades of Freedom: a Louisiana Purchase Tale

(Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #10)

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 24th 2020 by Amulet Books
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Average rating 4.47  · 
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Rod Brown
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Ed Erwin
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
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). ...more
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 ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a story to read with my 11 year old... Funny, violent, nicely drawn. Great book for young readers interested in history.
Dan Blackley
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
 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
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
My least favorite in the series. Lots of gory cartoons. The story is fascinating and I did learn a lot.
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jonah Garner
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gets good after the "Mosquito" bit. You have to read the book to understand. ...more
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
young adult/history/graphic novel—well done!
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
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 ...more
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.

Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Marcia Porter
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
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.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.

Jan 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
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.
Clare Lund
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
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.
Maria Rowe
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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!
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best in the series so far
Dec 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Great new addition to this wonderful series. I enjoyed learning more about Haiti and how they succeeded in fighting for their freedom.
Jan 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I cried, but good books make you do that.
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
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. ...more
i am Payton
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought the style of doing two stories at a time. and lots of lost heads.
Rowan Vosberg
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It was very good.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love this series. Such a fun way to tell the stories of history.
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.75. It was a good book but a little hard to follow. I did however get the idea and understood it pretty well.
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One word: AMAZING.
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Nathan Hale is the New York Times best-selling author/illustrator of the Hazardous Tales series, as well as many picture books including Yellowbelly and Plum go to School, the Twelve Bots of Christmas and The Devil You Know.

He is the illustrator of the Eisner-nominated graphic novel Rapunzel's Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaur

Other books in the series

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales (10 books)
  • One Dead Spy
  • Big Bad Ironclad!
  • Donner Dinner Party
  • Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood
  • The Underground Abductor
  • Alamo All-Stars
  • Raid of No Return
  • Lafayette!
  • Major Impossible

News & Interviews

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We are not makers of history. We are made by history.” So, this January, as we celebrate Martin Luther King...
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