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How the World Was: A California Childhood Paperback – July 15, 2014


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Frequently Bought Together

How the World Was: A California Childhood + Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope + The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders
Price for all three: $52.37

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; First Edition edition (July 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436640
  • Product Dimensions: 4.7 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"How the World Was is a companion graphic biography to Guibert's Alan's War." - VOYA

"This is a magical and important work of art." -Publisher's Weekly, starred review

 
Praise for Alan's War:

"This epic graphic memoir spans oceans and generations, with a narrative as engrossing as the artistry that illustrates it." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Guibert’s fluid, simple but assured linework captures the personalities of Cope and his friends, elevating the material to a far more affecting level." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review

About the Author

New York Times‑Bestselling author Emmanuel Guibert has written a great many graphic novels for readers young and old, among them the Sardine in Outer Space series, The Professor’s Daughter with Joann Sfar, the critically acclaimed WWII biography Alan's War, and the New York Times‑bestselling The Photographer with Didier Lefevre. His most recent graphic novel is a prequel to Alan's War, How the World Was. Guibert lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.


More About the Author

Emmanuel Guibert has written a great many graphic novels for readers young and old, among them the Sardine in Outer Space series and The Professor's Daughter with Joann Sfar.

In 1994, a chance encounter with an American World War II veteran named Alan Cope marked the beginning of a deep friendship and the birth of a great biographical epic.

Another of Guibert's recent works is The Photographer. Showered with awards, translated around the world, it relates a Doctors Without Borders mission in 1980's Afghanistan through the eyes of a great reporter, the late Didier Lefevre.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an English translation of a work first published in French. Unlike a typical graphic novel that uses dialog balloons, How the World Was is more of an illustrated short story. Sometimes text appears in the same panel as an image; sometimes blocks of text take up panels or pages that alternate with panels or pages consisting only of images. Some of the images depict the scene described in the text while others add background. They tend to be studies in contrasts: quiet streets of the 1930s versus modern freeways, unspoiled nature versus the urbanization that replaced it. The pictures serve as pauses between the short blocks of text, creating the feel of a documentary.

The first person narration tells the childhood tale of a boy born in 1925 as he grew up in Southern California -- a simpler California than the one that exists today. His quiet memories are occasionally updated to let the reader know what happened to friends and relatives (mostly, they died "in poverty and in sorrow"). Some of the images are drawings of family photographs and in many ways, the story is the narration of a family album.

The story is told in a gentle, honest voice that accentuates its depth of feeling. Reading How the World Was is like listening to a beloved grandfather explain the joys and hardships of his family's life and his own awe of the ever-changing world. The narrator has learned to live with grief but the grief lives on in his memory. He cannot change the hard times -- that's how the world was -- but they have taught him to appreciate life. When he quotes Rodin's belief that artists experience pain as well as "the bitter joy of being able to comprehend and express it," Emmanuel Guibert is clearly talking about the effort he devoted to this volume. How the World Was is a surprisingly moving story and a remarkably effective feat of story-telling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Caren Nichter on August 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't believe the one review on this book is so poor. It has prompted me to add my two cents worth. Perhaps since the other reviewer's childhood was in roughly the same time and place, he didn't find it interesting, but for a Midwestern baby boomer, this was fascinating stuff. The subject of the book was born in 1925. This was my parents' generation; they also grew up during the Depression, although in Kentucky rather than California. Reading this book felt rather like listening to a relative's stories of life in the "olden days". The subject had remembered lots of quirky little details, which were meticulously recorded in text and illustrations by the author. The result is just enchanting. You are truly transported into another time, another life. I really can't recommend this book highly enough; I'd give it ten stars if I could.
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This is an excellent and affecting story of a Southern California boyhood. It is notable not only for its vision of a landscape which has vanished in Southern California but also in its depiction of people's lives in the inter-war era of the '20s and '30s. Guibert's drawings accompany a narrative by Alan Cope which tells of his own history and that of both of his parents and some of their ancestors, such as a grandfather on his mother's side who had fought in the Civil War and in the Indian Wars.

The '20s and '30s were an era in which America and Southern California became recognizably 'modern' in many ways, but which in others, such as the primitive standard of medicine, was still mired in the past, with tragic consequences for Cope and his mother. For those interested in regional history and in a sense of the rhythms, the joys and tragedies of the everyday life of this period, Cope's memoir is a rewarding read and very much recommended.
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I loved this book. I loved the illustrations. The tone was gentle and sweet. Everything about this book is a terrific experience.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By vonBorks on August 19, 2014
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"In 1994, French cartoonist Emmanuel Guibert befriended an American veteran named Alan Cope and began creating his new friend's graphic biography." Title is totally misleading, has very little to do with California in the 1930s. This book would be of interest only to very close friends and family of Alan Cope. Actually the book is boring. Over half of the book is hand sketches of little interest but that is what the author does. I was born in Southern California in 1929 so know a lot about California in that time period, I expected a detailed book of that era. I am retuning the book. If you are interested in Southern California during and after WWII look at Kindle for: "Melrose Avenue, circa 1945/1948 @ 99 cents.
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