The Hammer and The Anvil


Following The Vietnam War: A Graphic History is a graphic drama about the Civil War and two of the most important men of the 19th century. The Hammer and The Anvil: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and the End of Slavery in America is 160 pages in full color. It is scheduled to be published in July 2012, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War. As with The Vietnam War, this volume is scripted by Dwight Zimmerman and illustrated by Wayne Vansant.

The lives of the two men are explored in parallel up until 1863, when Douglass met with Lincoln in the White House to discuss the creation of Negro Army units and equal pay for black soldiers, and thereafter, including the assassination of the president and the later death of the former slave who became America’s most strident and eloquent voice for justice and freedom.



In this engaging and insightful graphic biography, Zimmerman reprises his partnership with Vansant from The Vietnam War: A Graphic History to present an account of two of the most important figures of 19th-century U.S. history: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. For both men, the book begins at the beginning, showing the challenges that they faced as children, their efforts to overcome difficult circumstances, and the very real impact both men had on shaping the social and political consciousness of their times.

It draws parallels between the humble circumstances of their early years, but it does so with subtlety, allowing the reader to recognize the connections for themselves. The unsentimental portraits look at the difficulties both men faced and what motivated them: racial equality for Douglass and the preservation of the Union for Lincoln, with the conviction that slavery would eventually come to an end. Vansant uses a simple but effective technique of moving between two different monochromatic color palettes when switching between the two, culminating in full-color illustrations when the men finally meet. Combined with Zimmerman’s narrative, it’s a compelling look at two of the most important figures in American history.

—Publishers Weekly


“An utterly ingenious graphic history of one of the most important stories in American history—the strikingly parallel lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln that eventually converged in friendship. Powerfully illustrated and written, The Hammer and the Anvil highlights for young readers, and anyone interested in graphic stories, the central debates of the Civil War era and of our own time: race, freedom, citizenship, state versus federal government, and the meaning of the American Dream.”

—John Stauffer, author of
Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass
and Abraham Lincoln

Product Detail

ISBN-10: 0809053586
ISBN-13: 978-0809053582
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Hill and Wang (July 17, 2012)
Language: English
Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

Dwight Jon Zimmerman – Author

Dwight Jon Zimmerman is author of the critically acclaimed young-adult military history, First Command: Paths to Leadership. Zimmerman also contributed substantially to a series of successful young-adult military history books. This includes a book on World War II, The Good Fightby Stephen E. Ambrose (2001); a Civil War volume, Fields of Fury by James M. McPherson (2002); a volume on the American Revolution, Fight for Freedom by Benson Bodrick (2003); a volume on the Vietnam War, 10,000 Days of Thunder by Philip Caputo (2004); and a volume on Reconstruction, Into the West: From Reconstruction to the End of the Frontier by James M. McPherson (2005). 

He has written on military-history subjects for American Heritage, the Naval Institute Press, Vietnam magazine, and numerous military-themed publications for Faircount International. In 2006, his essay on challenges faced by the Coast Guard was selected by the Naval War College for use in its curriculum. Zimmerman was the co-executive producer of the Military Channel’s miniseries, First Command, based on his book. The miniseries won the 2005 Aurora Platinum Best of Show Award for Historical Programming. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Wayne Vansant – Artist

After serving in the U.S. navy during the Vietnam War, Wayne Vansant illustrated and oversaw Marvel Comics’ Vietnam War title, The ‘Nam. He has since scripted and illustrated countless graphic books on the subject of military history, from the American Civil War to the Korean War.

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