After [Pierre Berton’s] the last spike, I read the panels of desolate beauty in Chester Brown’s Louis Riel. For all his pleasurable verbosity, Berton cannot touch what Brown shows with his artwork. While rereading this graphic novel, I thought, “Why is this book not given to every schoolchild in Canada?” I would never ask a student to pick up a Berton (back pain; lawsuits), but has Canadian history ever been portrayed with more lyrical space, beauty, complexity and drama than Brown’s Riel?

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