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The Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement

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This official tie-in to the highly acclaimed film, The Birth of a Nation , surveys the history and legacy of Nat Turner, the leader of one of the most renowned slave rebellions on American soil, while also exploring Turner’s relevance to contemporary dialogues on race relations.

Based on astounding events in American history, The Birth of a Nation is the epic story of one man championing the spirit of resistance as he leads a rough-and-tumble group into a revolt against injustice and slavery.

Breathing new life into a story that has been rife with controversy and prejudice for over two centuries, the film follows the rise of the visionary Virginian slave, Nat Turner. Hired out by his owner to preach to and placate slaves on drought-plagued plantations, Turner eventually transforms into an inspired, impassioned, and fierce anti-slavery leader.

Beautifully illustrated with stills from the movie and original illustrations, the book also features an essay by writer/director, Nate Parker, contributions by members of the cast and crew, and commentary by educator Brian Favors and historians Erica Armstrong Dunbar and Daina Ramey Berry who place Nat Turner and the rebellion he led into historical context. The Birth of a Nation reframes the way we think about slavery and resistance as it explores the passion, determination, and faith that inspired Nat Turner to sacrifice everything for freedom.

192 pages, Hardcover

Published September 27, 2016

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Nate Parker

3 books

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5 stars
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43 (35%)
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Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews
Profile Image for Edwin Blair.
27 reviews20 followers
May 17, 2017
Short on content, but rich in depth is how'll I'll begin the review. Nate Parker, with clear, concise and elegance shares with us the arduous process and sacrifices he commited to, inorder for this film passion-project come into fruition. Interspersed with inspiring anecdotes of his interactions with several luminaries and notables he sought or volunteered to guide him through this ambition undertaking by "a simple actor with no directorial experience" who came across some difficulties in finding investors, financiers and how his palpable passion helped convince otherwise reluctant investors. His dedication to a painstakingly attention to detail from the grand to the minor nuances, is enough to convince anyone to watch this film just out of sheer respect and appreciation of his intense hard work and the taking of some pretty risky sacrifices. Apart from Nate's ordeal to get the film done, the book is rife with accurate and in some cases new historical facts that will bewilder readers. Some of these more uncommonly known historical facts will stoke their interest to go beyond this read, which serves as a brilliant platform to catapult right into rarely if ever touched upon or presented subjects concerning Black History and American History which will intrigue readers while motivating most to pick up new text, add to and further their understanding of the role of not just Nate Turner but other obscure historical black figures and even furthered obscured events notably absent from the assigned text during our earlier school days.
66 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2020
Was hoping for more history around slave revolts and there was a little bit in this book... but the first half of the book was all about the process of shooting a movie about Nat Turner and the challenges with raising funds. Not quite what I was looking for.
Profile Image for Jas Dosanjh.
Author 4 books9 followers
March 11, 2018
I wasn't planning on reading this book, but it landed on my desk by mistake (local librarian was very keen for me to read it even though I hadn't requested it!) I haven't watched either of the movies of the same title Birth of a Nation. The D W Griffith one was released in 1915 and it ended up reviving the Ku Klux Klan and the idea of white supremacy. I certainly did not know what to expect from the 2016 movie by Nate Parker (this book is the official tie-in to that movie). However, despite it being a busy weekend with travelling and family commitments, I still managed to finish it over the course of two days. It was an easy read, interesting and contained lots of good illustrations. I found Nate Parker's narrative on his journey to make the film and the hardships that he faced fascinating to read. That guy knows perversion and he is very honest with the reader with regards to how hard it was to find the finance for shooting to begin, plus his search for the crew and cast. Because this book is so interesting, I can only imagine how great the actual movie turned out and I can't wait to watch it. The book focuses on Nat Turner, a slave and his rebellion, but it also features stories about the other freedom fighters and poses direct questions to the reader on our collective conscious and the current state of affairs in the world with reference made to the Black Lives Matter movement. I learnt a great deal about slavery and people's resistance to it. While it is heart-breaking, it is also a story which needs to be told because it shines a big light on understanding the struggles black people face in the here and now. Nate Parker succeeds in showing the reader how these problems came into being. Would highly recommend.
Profile Image for G. Allen Turner II.
38 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2021
Very interesting insight on the production of the movie 2016 movie "The Birth of a Nation." Due to the complications of a previous scandal of the director/lead actor coming back to light, the movie did not reach the popular Acclaim that it initially aspired for. That being said I will most likely take the time to revisit the film as the subject matter is something I am unfamiliar with and very fascinated by, the story of Nat Turner and one of the stand out slave rebellions of American history.
Profile Image for Sam Motes.
938 reviews32 followers
June 24, 2017
Nate’s book was short on length but deep on emotion as it tells the back story behind his impassioned movie.
Profile Image for Marty Troyer.
Author 2 books5 followers
January 11, 2021
A good listen.
Focused a lot on developing the film. Listened to this until Stamped from the Beginning became available at the library, then stopped and didn't come back.
Profile Image for Geannie Bastian.
197 reviews2 followers
March 30, 2022
Half history of Nat Turner, half making of the film. Quite a good slim read, but if the Nate Parker controversy is a problem for you, be aware he narrates.
Profile Image for Eddie.
108 reviews38 followers
April 22, 2019
My plan was to read this book *before* watching the film (DVD) of the same name by Nate Parker. The book provides context to the movie without many spoilers, allowing the movie to retain its emotional impact. I had read The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner's Fierce Rebellion by Stephen Oates some years back (see my review there), so if you are looking for a book specifically about Nat Turner that is an excellent one as this book is a companion piece to the movie. In this book, there are essays by distinguished authors about Nat Turner, other slave rebellions and their leaders, Nate Parker outlining his journey in making the movie from inception to wrap, and there is commentary from others who contributed to making the film.
*my intentions here should not be interpreted as being a supporter of Nate Parker; watching the film and reading this book is part of my endeavor to learn more on the life of Nat Turner*
Profile Image for SOVEYM.
50 reviews15 followers
April 5, 2020
Very informative, pulls you in, breaks it all down in depth book! If you watched the movie first this book compliments the movie well with the in-depth details and behind the people information. If you read the book first you’ll be anxious to see the movie. Great book, very significant in terms of what happen in the 1700-1800s period until the present and what’s happening now with race relations.
Profile Image for Beverly Stotz.
45 reviews
November 11, 2016
There was so much of our nation's history that was swept under the rug or watered-down to a version that the people involved wouldn't recognize. I appreciate Nate Parker for writing this book and going to such great lengths to make sure the film happened. I loved the inputs from the film crew and cast.
Profile Image for Literary Jewels.
320 reviews16 followers
December 15, 2016
The Birth of a Nation- Official Movie Tie-In was a wonderful compliment to the film. Nate Parker gave the readers a clearer understanding of the film and who Nat Turner was and takes you back in time to fully understand and comprehend the mindset. Reading this tie in makes you want to see the movie again. This was indeed a great read!

Review Copy Supplied By Publisher
Format: Hardcover
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tiffany Tyler.
670 reviews99 followers
August 14, 2016
Great balance of behind the scenes with Nate, the cast, and crew discussing the process of how the movie was made and history that you probably didn't learn in your high school textbook surrounding Nat Turner and society as a whole during that timeframe.
Profile Image for Sion.
3 reviews
December 22, 2016
A Necessary read

After watching the beautiful piece of art film, I had to read the book. I've learned so much in just a few weeks of reading this book. I will keep the words of wisdom with me in my journey to the truth and liberation of oppressed people, especially black people!
Profile Image for reneeNaDaCherry.
2,338 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2017
I saw the movie first, then felt compelled to purchase a copy of the book to find out more info re: American history. The film and this book shows an amazing part of the spirit of our fellow countrymen and their quest for freedom. A true experience that should be taught in history courses.
Displaying 1 - 22 of 22 reviews

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