Are You Willing to Die for the Cause

Revolution in 1960s Quebec

By (author) Chris Oliveros
Categories: Comics & Graphic Novels
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
Hardcover : 9781770466616, 168 pages, October 2023


A deep dive into a contentious and dramatic period in Canadian history—the rise of a militant separatist group whose effects still reverberate today.
It started in 1963, when a dozen mailboxes in a wealthy Montreal neighborhood were blown to bits by handmade bombs. By the following year, a guerrilla army camp was set up deep in the woods, with would-be soldiers training for armed revolt. Then, in 1966, two high-school students dropped off bombs at factories, causing fatalities. What was behind these concerted, often bungled acts of terrorism, and how did they last for nearly eight years?
In Are You Willing to Die for the Cause?, Quebec-born cartoonist Chris Oliveros sets out to dispel common misconceptions about the birth and early years of a movement that, while now defunct, still holds a tight grip on the hearts and minds of Quebec citizenry and Canadian politics. There are no initials more volatile in Quebec history than FLQ—the Front de libération du Québec (or, in English, the Quebec Liberation Front). The original goal of this socialist movement was to fight for workers' rights of the French majority who found their rights trampled on by English bosses. The goal became ridding the province of its English oppression by means of violent revolution.
Using dozens of obscure and long-forgotten sources, Oliveros skillfully weaves a comics oral history where the activists, employers, politicians, and secretaries piece together the sequence of events. At times humorous, other times dramatic, and always informative, Are You Willing to Die for the Cause? shines a light on just how little it takes to organize dissent and who people trust to overthrow the government.


Meticulously researched and beautifully delivered... Oliveros reveals fascinating details of a group that, depending on which side you find yourself on politically, was either a ragtag team of terrorists or well-intentioned freedom fighters.

- Toula Drimonis, author of We, the Others

Chris Oliveros is the most under-appreciated master-cartoonist of the last 40 years. With this new graphic novel—brilliantly told and beautifully drawn—that should all be about to change.

- Seth, author of Clyde Fans

Chris Oliveros’s Are You Willing to Die for the Cause? takes on the improbable, chaotic, rag-tag origins of the FLQ in Quebec in the 1960s. With cartooning that is at once charming, humorous and gritty, Oliveros captures the people behind this movement that began with noble ideas and descended into tragedy with high-school students delivering hand-made bombs between classes. Oliveros reconstructs these wild true events by recreating—in splendid and simple details—the street corners and tiny apartments and young revolutionaries involved. He reveals Montreal in the 1960s in all its dreamy, working class squalor and glory.

- Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads

Oliveros has crafted a beautifully drawn, gripping graphic novel about a volatile moment in Quebec History as seen through the perspective of an English Montrealer.

- Michel Hellman, author of Mile End

An engaging introduction to a fascinating historical and cultural flashpoint.

- Kirkus Reviews

Oliveros' use of interviews gives smooth transitions between setup and in-the-moment narrative such that readers will be surprised when they realize how many pages they have turned.

- blogcritics

Idealism meets violence in Chris Oliveros's Are You Willing to Die for the Cause?, a thorough but approachable nonfiction graphic novel that looks beyond the headlines of the Québec sovereignty movement of the 1960s.

- Shelf Awareness

Assembled from oral histories and forgotten sources, Oliveros’s latest will be essential reading for history buffs and graphic novel aficionados alike.

- Quill & Quire

Books like Are You Willing to Die for the Cause remind us that, at the heart of these conflicts are flawed human beings, often with vanities, foibles, inadequacies and obsessions cloaked in the garb of higher principles.

- Rob Salkowitz

[An] electrifying firsthand history, supported by copiously detailed research notes, that captures the group’s diverse perspectives and personalities... Oliveros takes these distinct storytellers at their word, styling their tales with accessible, brightly colored art.

- Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

An illustrated look at the early years of the FLQ that investigates the birth of the militant separatist group and the beginning of one of the country’s most challenging historical periods.

- The Globe & Mail

Eye-opening and quirkily appealing.

- The Globe & Mail Review

An engaging example of the ways the combination of words and drawn images can engage readers both young and old in real-life events outside the confines of a historical textbooks.

- Winnipeg Free Press