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Pride of Baghdad Paperback – January 2, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Lavishly drawn, and devastating...Vaughan has his marvelously imagined characters debate the concept of freedom versus desire for safety...the total effect is memorable."--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred★
"This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections."--LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred★
"Seems destined to cement the reputation of Brian K. Vaughan as one of the best writers to grace the medium in many years."--VARIETY
"Lushly illustrated by Niko Henrichon."--THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Destined to cement the reputation of Brian K. Vaughan as one of the best writers to grace the medium.--VARIETY
"A brightly colored tragedy, Pride of Baghdad is as unblinking as the perils faced every day in the real Iraq."--USA TODAY
"This is an important work, strongly recommended for all adult collections."--LIBRARY JOURNAL starred★
"You can put it right next to Watchmen. It's that good."--IGN --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book begins in the Baghdad zoo where life is easy for Zill, his two wives (Noor and Safa) and his son Ali. Zill and Ali seem content but Noor, feeling a change in the wind, contemplates escape. When the bombs start to fall an opportunity is had and the four make their way out of the zoo and into the streets of Baghdad. The world is theirs for the time being, only the tanks in the street and the planes in the sky surround them. They have finally won their freedom; but what to do with it, where to go and what is there to eat? The four soon realize that a desert city is nothing like a grassy savanna. More challenges soon face them and the questions begged in the end might be, what is freedom, what is the cost of freedom, and can only the naive be truly free?
Written in a simple straight forward style with clean expressive art, the book doesn't try to be too clever or too smart. Vaughan excels at telling compelling simple stories with interesting premises ("Y, The Last Man" and "Ex-Machina") and "Pride" is no exception. It's meant for mature readers as there is a rape scene and some graphic violence. If it where a movie I might give it a PG-13 rating, but I would add that if kids do read this book they should have an adult to discuss it with after.Read more ›
Pride explores the current situation in Iraq through an Animal Farmesque allegory of three lions escaping the Baghdad zoo at the beginning of the current war. The three lions are actually a true tale, the animals did escape the zoo at the conflicts start, but in Vaughn's hands they come to represent a diverse points of view on the nature of life and freedom. Encountering other animals on their journey through the alien wilderness of war torn Baghdad meeting other animals with unique perspectives, such as a tortoise who remembers WWI whose family dies in the oil spills of the war. One lion who long hungered for freedom wonders as to whether it can be achieved without being earned. Another questions what they owe "the keepers," as they call human beings, who so long kept them in captivity but also saw to their needs.
The test of any work remains its story telling, whether the tale might work without the art and the degree to which the art strengthens and deepens the experience. On all of these counts, "Pride of Baghdad" succeeds as an excellent piece of work and a fine addition to both the evolution of the graphic novel as well the on going discussion of the current Middle East crisis. Those interested in the former will delight in the work, those in the latter would be missing a thought provoking opportunity if they eschewed it simply because it blends insightful words and evocative art.
It's hard to imagine that this story would not strike an emotional chord with any reader the least bit familiar with the state of foreign affairs. Regardless of what your stance may be on the U.S. occupation of Iraq, this book is a must-read.
Those are the facts. Brian K. Vaughan makes the story real.
"Pride of Baghdad" is an anthropomorphic tale told from the lions' point of view. Rather like "The Lion King" in its presentation (the very human expressions on the animals' faces, as illustrated beautifully by Niko Henrichon, will certainly remind you of the famed Disney animation), "Pride" does not suffer from any contractual obligation to provide a happy ending, nor does anyone burst into song.
It's impossible to know what went through the animals' minds at the time. Accustomed to zoo life, they were probably bewildered by their new freedom. And, with their natural hunting instincts blunted by years of captivity, they were likely starving. Surrounded by explosions and rubble and tanks, they were most definitely terrified. Perhaps being shot in the end was a kindness.
Vaughan has done an amazing thing with this book. It is a fanciful representation, true enough, but it is also vivid, thoughtful, passionate and at times downright brutal. If lions thought the way humans do, this would be their narrative. And Henrichon cannot be commended enough for the expressiveness he brings to the story, with highly detailed pencils and colors that glow with life.
This book isn't intended for children's eyes, but anyone old enough to drive, vote, drink or carry a gun should read it.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(net) editor
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A favorite one off comic book of mine. The symbolism and iconography and extended metaphor only get deeper and deeper with each reread.Published 2 days ago by devin strauch
This book is awesome all of the pictures are amazing and it's storyline is incredibly well developed.Published 12 days ago by walkyria
Pride of Baghdad is just another example of Brian K. Vaughan glorious writing. I got interested in the writer's work after reading Saga, False Faces, We Stand on Guard, and Y: The... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ismail Gomaa
A great story,and interesting viewpoint. Wish there were more books like it.Published 1 month ago by D R Yeisley
Great, quick read. I had to get this for a class, but I've suggested it to many other friends as well.Published 1 month ago by Liz
As a soldier reading this while deployed to Iraq and seeing firsthand the costs of war, I am deeply moved. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Niles
This is my first experience of a graphic novel, and I was not prepared for how dark, yet impactful it was going to be. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Benny
I bought this while looking for graphic novels for myself that I could also give to my kid brother. 5 pages in, I realized this wasn't a kid's book. Read morePublished 3 months ago by PennishNammish