Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel

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Crown Publishers, 2004 - Humor - 137 pages
29 Reviews
This scathingly hilarious political satire--produced from a collaboration of three of our funniest humorists--answers the burning question: Would anyone care if East St. Louis seceded from the Union?
East St. Louis, Illinois ("the inner city without an outer city"), is an impoverished town, so poor that Fred Fredericks, its idealistic mayor, starts off Election Day by collecting the city's trash in his own minivan. But the mayor believes in the power of democracy and rallies his fellow citizens to the polls for the presidential election, only to find hundreds of them turned away for trumped-up reasons. Even sweet old Miss Jackson--not to mention the mayor himself--is denied the vote because her name turns up on a bogus list of felons. The national election hinges on Illinois's electoral votes and, as a result of the mass disenfranchisement of East St. Louis, a radical right-wing junta led by a dim-witted Texas governor seizes the Oval Office.
Prodded by shady black billionaire and old friend John Roberts, Fredericks devises a radical plan of protest: East St. Louis will secede from the Union. Roberts opens an "offshore" bank (albeit in the heart of the U.S.) to finance the newly liberated country, and suddenly East St. Louis becomes the Switzerland of the American heartland, flush with money. It also begins to attract a motley circus of idealistic young militants, OPEC-funded hitmen, CIA operatives, tabloid reporters, and AWOL black servicemen eager to protect and serve the new nation.
Problems set in almost immediately: Controversies rage over the name and national anthem of the new country (they decide on the Republic of Blackland with an anthem sung to the tune of thetheme from Good Times), and local thug Roscoe becomes a warlord and turns his gang into a paramilitary force. When the U.S. military begins to move in, Fredericks is forced to decide whether his protest is worth taking all the way.
Birth of a Nation starts with a scenario drawn from the botched election of 2000 and spins it into a brilliantly absurd work of sharply pointed satire. Along the way the authors lay into a host of hot social and cultural issues--skewering white supremacists, black nationalists, and everyone in between--drawing real blood and real laughs in equal measure in this riotous send-up of American politics.

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Baker's artwork is wonderful, of course. - Goodreads
Controversial and derogatory, yet enlightening insight. - LibraryThing
Neither is it a text story with illustrations. - LibraryThing

Review: Birth of a Nation

User Review  - Andrea Battleground - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

Review: Birth of a Nation

User Review  - Christoaugust - Goodreads

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 ... Read full review

About the author (2004)

AARON McGRUDER is the creator of The Boondocks comic strip and the author of the national bestseller A Right to Be Hostile.

REGINALD HUDLIN has written, produced, or directed eight films, including House Party, Boomerang, and Bebe’s Kids.

KYLE BAKER is the author of several classic graphic novels, and his illustrations have appeared in publications nationwide.

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