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Sometimes, comic books can be educational, that’s the case here, so enjoy and learn!
What are the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales?
Written by Nathan Hale, the series Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales is about a spy named Nathan Hale who, with the help of some comic book magic, lived through the most important event in American History.
Everything began when Hale is about to be hung. His last words were ‘I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.’ That’s why a gigantic magical ‘Big Huge Book of American History’ appears and swallows Hale.
The spy gained knowledge of what is to come for the United States of America. After that, The Provost and the Hangman are intrigued and asked Hale to tell them a story from the history book. Each book in the series covers a specific time, person, and/or event.
Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales Reading Order:
- One Dead Spy – One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale – from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer – and America during the Revolutionary War.
- Big Bad Ironclad! – The history of the amazing ironclad steam warships used in the Civil War. From the ship’s inventor, who had a history of blowing things up and only 100 days to complete his project, to the mischievous William Cushing, who pranked his way through the whole war.
- Donner Dinner Party – The Donner Party expedition is one of the most notorious stories in all of American history. It’s also a fascinating snapshot of the westward expansion of the United States, and the families and individuals who sacrificed so much to build new lives in a largely unknown landscape. From the preparation for the journey to each disastrous leg of the trip.
- Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood – World War I set the tone for the 20th century and introduced a new type of warfare: global, mechanical, and brutal. Nathan Hale has gathered some of the most fascinating true-life tales from the war and given them his inimitable Hazardous Tales twist.
- The Underground Abductor – Araminta Ross was born a slave in Delaware in the early 19th century. Slavery meant that her family could be ripped apart at any time, and that she could be put to work in dangerous places and for abusive people. But north of the Mason-Dixon line, slavery was illegal. Facing enormous danger, Araminta made it, and once free, she changed her name to Harriet Tubman. Tubman spent the rest of her life helping slaves run away like she did, every time taking her life in her hands.
- Alamo All-Stars – In the early 1800s, Texas was a wild and dangerous land fought over by the Mexican government, Native Americans, and settlers from the United States. Beginning with the expeditions of the so-called ‘Land Pirates,’ through the doomed stand at the Alamo, and ending with the victory over Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, the entire Texas saga is on display.
- Raid of No Return – On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, officially bringing the United States into World War II. A new generation of pilots were recruited to fly bombing missions for the United States, and from that group, volunteers were requested for a dangerous secret assignment. For the first time in American history, Army bombers would be launched from an aircraft carrier. Once at sea, they were told their mission was a retaliation strike against targets in Tokyo. But on the day of the raid, a Japanese patrol boat spotted them and they had to launch early, with barely enough fuel to get them past their target.
- Lafayette! – Gilbert du Motier became the Marquis de Lafayette at a young age, but he was not satisfied with the comforts of French nobility—he wanted adventure! A captain at eighteen and a major general by nineteen, he was eager to prove himself in battle. When he heard about the Revolution going on in America, he went overseas and fought alongside Alexander Hamilton and George Washington for America’s independence.
- Major Impossible – In 1869, John Wesley Powell embarked with the Colorado River Exploring Expedition, ten men in four boats, to float through Grand Canyon. Over the course of three months, the explorers lost their boats and supplies, nearly drowned, and were in peril on multiple occasions. Ten explorers went in, only six came out. Powell would come to be known as one of the most epic explorers in history!
- Blades of Freedom – Why would Napoleon Bonaparte sell the Louisiana Territory to the recently formed United States of America? It all comes back to the island nation of Haiti, which Napoleon had planned to use as a base for trade with North America. While Napoleon climbed the ranks of the French army and government, enslaved people were organizing in Haiti under the leadership of François Mackandal, Dutty Boukman, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, and Touissant L’Ouverture, who in 1791 led the largest uprising of enslaved people in history—the Haitian Revolution.
- Cold War Correspondent – In 1950, Marguerite Higgins (1920–1966) was made bureau chief of the Far East Asia desk for the New York Herald Tribune. Tensions were high on the Korean peninsula, where a border drawn after WWII split the country into North and South. When the North Korean army crossed the border with Soviet tanks, it was war. Marguerite was there when the Communists captured Seoul. She fled with the refugees heading south, but when the bridges were blown over the Han River, she was trapped in enemy territory.
Bonus: A Different Book in the Hazardous Tales from Nathan Hale
- Let’s Make History! (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales): Create Your Own Comics – Make your own way through history! Readers will tackle seventy-one comic-creating challenges, with help from some of their favorite characters from the series! With each challenge, young cartoonists will learn new skills, from sound effects and character creation to building their own ten-page comic. The fun and imaginative drawing prompts will get kids writing their own thrilling, shocking, gruesome, and totally true histories!
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