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Adolf, Volume 1: A Tale of the Twentieth Century Paperback – March 22, 1996

Book 1 of 5 in the Adolf Series

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Osamu Tezuka is often credited with being one of the pioneers of "story manga"-- long, narrative comics for adults. His stories frequently run thousands of pages and comprise dozens of volumes. He is known in America (though not by name) as the animator of Astro Boy and Kimba, the White Lion. Adolf, his last major work before his death in 1989, is his first full-length work available in English. It's the story of three individuals named Adolf: a Jewish boy living in Japan, a half-Japanese/half- German boy, and the leader of Nazi Germany. This is a wonderfully fresh perspective on the events of World War II.
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Product Details

  • Series: Adolf (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Cadence Books, Inc.; 2nd printing edition (March 22, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569310580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569310588
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
I read this book in the college library Oberlin, Ohio.
Lynne D. Schneider
Like all good historical novels it immerses the reader in the politics and events of the period.
RANDY BARRETT
Definitely start with this first volume and enjoy the rest of the tale over the next 4 books.
Sibelius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gagewyn on January 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
From the hype surrounding this I was expecting something kind of educational or with serious history. I was pleasantly surprised. This read as a good spy story.

The Adolf series proposes to tell the stories of three Adolfs. One is the historic Hitler. The other two are fictional. We start by following the story of Toge, a Japanese reporter in Berlin to cover the 1936 Olympics and to some extent our narrator through these stories. His brother is an exchange student living in Berlin. Toge receives a call from his brother about a secret that will throw Hitler out of power. When Toge arrives he finds his brother murdered. The police take the body but it never arrives at the station. When Toge tries to track down the body he finds that no one will admit to having met his brother and the police (who also have no record of the murder) claim that he must be making the story up. Through the first half of this book we follow Toge's search for information about his brother in Berlin. He wants to bury and avenge his brother, and gets caught up in something much bigger. Somehow the murder is connected with a murder of a Geisha six months earlier in Japan. Both victims had plaster under their fingernails. When Toge returns to Japan he continues to search for the truth about his brother.

Through this Geisha we are introduced to the next two Adolfs. One is the son of the prime suspect for the murder, a high ranking German intelligence officer stationed in Japan. The third Adolf is a Jewish German whose family is in Japan because that is a better place for them to live than is Germany. The two boys are the same age and are best friends, which bothers both families.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Conrad Hoss on December 5, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
ADOLF: A TALE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY is about three people named Adolf during WWII- the infamous dictator, a half-German half-Japanese boy, and a Jewish boy. It seems that a potentially harmful document to the Third Reich has fallen into the wrong hands.
This is a historical work with fictional characters. I recommend this comic book to anyone interested in World War II, comic books, or Japanese magna.
The artwork is in black-and-white, but that does not detract from this masterpiece. There is a distinct Japanese style to the artwork.
This is the first book in a five part series. My only gripe is that the the most famous Adolf- Adolf Hitler- could have been featured in the book a little bit more. I am sure he will be in the other books- considering what the damaging information about him is.
Like I said, if you are interested in worldly events in that time period 1930's-1940's get this- now!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sibelius on June 18, 2004
Format: Paperback
Osamu Tezuka's, 'Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century,' is the opening chapter in what will turn out to be an epic, sweeping tale of 3 Adolf's - Adolf Hitler, Adolf Kamil (a jewish boy growing up in Japan) and Adolf Kaufman (a half japanese, half german youth). Within this framework, Tezuka will spin a deep and moving story set against the backdrop of Japan and Germany during WWII providing both entertainment and fresh historical perspective of events during this timeframe.
Spanning 5 volumes and over 1300 pages readers will easily glide through each book thanks to Tezuka's sharp and easy-to-digest narrative along with his crisp black & white artwork. This series is highly recommended to anyone interested in graphic novels, excellent storytelling and WWII. Definitely start with this first volume and enjoy the rest of the tale over the next 4 books.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steven Carroll on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This, in short, is the good stuff. An excellent eye-opener for those who think of the manga genre as black and white anime that doesn't move. This manga series is a very human telling of the story of WWII through the eyes of 3 men named Adolf.
The style will perhaps not appeal to those who are used to American style or even the more recent Japanese style but to those willing to give it a chance, the storytelling is fantastic. This edition is on pretty nice paper and is definately worth the money.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ben Cass on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have read Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, Ranma and manyother mangas but Adolf is one in its own. What struck me first whenopening the covers was the artwork. Generally manga has a typical style to it. Big eyes, small noses, strange body proportions and several other features typically define it. Adolf is the same, yet different. It was created by the same artist as the internationally recognised Kimba the White Lion and Astro Boy. I, like many Australians, grew up on shows like these and typically associate the style of drawing, cartoony even by Japanese standards, with children's TV shows. The artwork in Adolf is almost identical to his previous creations and to see it utilised in telling a far more 'mature' story was quite difficult for me to get my head around at first.
That is not to say that the artwork isn't good. It is brilliant when compared with almost any other manga. It is just so different to the manga I'm used to. Anyone who has read other manga will see exactly what I mean when they pick it up. You can fully see Kimba behind everyone's eyes.
The plot of Adolf is as intriguing as the pictures used to present it. Conspiracies, kidnappings, murders, betrayals, Nazis, this book has everything and all in a believable setting. You won't see any large-breasted valkyrie priestesses from beyond space in Adolf like you might expect in other mangas.
There is nothing to really fault with the book apart from that fact that with all its uniqueness it is not entirely original. It is a good book and the plot has not been done in a manga style before but I see elements of a thousand fiction novels rearing their heads in this one. Admittedly though, this is probably not entirely the author's fault as the original Japanese book was written quite a few years ago.
Ultimately Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century is an excellent reading experience but is certainly not in the same league as Miyazaki's 'Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind' for pure storytelling genius.
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