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Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995

48 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1560974703
ISBN-10: 1560974702
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Editorial Reviews


“[Demonstrates] how brilliantly comics can serve as reportage.” (The New York Times)

“Graphic in every sense of the term, Sacco’s account of everyday life in a city under siege puts one of the twentieth century’s least understood catastrophes in perspective; it’s the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium.” (GQ)

“Joe Sacco is an engaging and direct writer, but above all, he is a good journalist. Comics just happen to be the outlet for his reportage... [he is] a master of the unique medium of comics journalism.” (William Jones - Graphic Novel Reporter)

“Published soon after the conflict that it documents, Safe Area Gorazde is an intense reading experience and an active call for the condemnation of tribal and international leaders who put politics ahead of humanity.” (Suzette Chan - Sequential Tart)

About the Author

Joe Sacco lives in Portland, Oregon. He is the author of many acclaimed graphic novels, including Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, But I Like It, Notes from a Defeatist, The Fixer, War's End, and Footnotes in Gaza.

Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) is the author of God Is Not Great, Hitch-22, and Why Orwell Matters.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (January 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560974702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560974703
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joe Sacco, one of the world's greatest cartoonists, is widely hailed as the creator of war reportage comics. He is the author of, among other books, Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area: Gora�de, which won the Eisner Award and was named a New York Times notable book and Time magazine's best comic book of 2000. Hisbooks have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Harper's and the Guardian. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A M Garvey on March 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought this after reading a (very short) review in The Economist. I also ordered Palestine: A Nation Occupied at the same time. The progression in Sacco's work is incredible. The drawings in Palestine are a little TOO cartoonish but in this they are far more real. Both stories are in their own ways, equally horrific, from the everyday brutality of the occupied territories to the visceral horror of Bosnia and the struggles of its people to live some kind of life. His summary of the events in Bosnia is one of the clearest accounts I have read - from the viciousness of certain Serb leaders to the culpability of the UN - he explains exactly how so many lives were destroyed in such horrific ways.
He is a marvelous talent and his genre is a wonderful way to present news and inform people about current events.
However, the really scary thing is the fact that I want him to produce something else. I want to read his words and examine his pictures, even though I know a world where Sacco is an unemployed bum would be a far better place. But as long as human beings act in disgusting ways towards each other he'll have plenty of material.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on January 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Someone once strongly recommended that I read this, although I have to admit I wasn't expecting much at first. I was really unsure how the Bosnian war could be rendered in comic strip fashion. However, "Safe Area Gorazde" is incredible: this is one of the best journalistic accounts to come out of the Bosnian war in any format. Sacco recounts the horrific war stories told to him by his friends and acquaintances in Bosnia with a great deal of honesty. He very effectively incorporates his own wit and the dry humor of the Bosnians into his narrative without turning it into a satire. I also like the fact that he was quite critical of the role of foreign reporters and correspondents (including himself) in Bosnia, i.e. their frequent insensitivity or their effective eavesdropping on the suffering of others. His illustrations also speak for themselves as he very accurately recreates the wartime destruction of property and the rag-tag appearance of the people; he has a unique talent for re-creating facial expressions that reflect a range of emotions. Hats off to Mr. Sacco, he deserves every praise for this informative and moving portrayal of wartime and immediate postwar Gorazde.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
While graphic novels have been around for quite a while, graphic journalism or history has not. Sacco is a pioneer of this extremely humanistic new genre, and here he bears witness to the horrors of the war in Bosnia. Sacco visited the so-called "safe area" four times in late 1995 and early 1996, and his portrait of a devastated city and its survivors is more affecting than any newspaper account could hope to be. His black ink panels capture in vivid detail not only the scars left on the landscape, but on the people themselves. Sacco alternates between detailing his own visits to Gorazde, a straightforward history of the war, and letting his friends and interviewees recount their own terrible experiences.
His own visits are fairly basic, everyone is frightened and devastated by the war and he experiences the guilt of one able to come and go as he pleases. The history of the war is very clearly told, with maps and pertinent statements from UN leaders, Clinton, Milosavich, et al. Sacco clearly highlights how ineffective and downright cowardly the UN approach was, singling out British Lt. General Rose and French Lt. General Janvier for lying and dissembling in order to avoid conflict, and the Clinton administration for being inept and vacillating toward the Serbs. The history is a stark reminder that in the absence of a superpower with a vested interest, one cannot expect loose multinational efforts to deter genocide. Throughout the war, due to a total lack of leadership and moral will from above, UN forces were pushed around, held hostage, and at times fled into the night rather than protect the civilians they were supposed to. Which brings one to the most compelling and disturbing parts of the book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on February 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Amazing. This may be the most powerful testament yet writtenabout the war in Bosnia. Gorazde was a "safe area" in easternBosnia, much like the ill-fated Srebrenica nearby. It was nearly -butnot quite- overrun by Serb forces, and Sacco's four visits to the townyielded up this amazing comic-style account of the war from thenarrow, pained perspective of a town under siege. The story fits withthe format so well because it's not a chronology (like Honig's`Srebrenica'), nor a political review of the disintegration ofYugoslavia, nor a journalist's travelogue. It's just a day-to-dayaccount -conversations with soldiers, teachers, teenage girls,refugees, with their friends and families- all the folks who madeup wartime Gorazde. They witnessed unspeakable brutalities, attackson civilians, burning of houses, murders, rapes, gratuitous violenceby wicked men. Cut off from the world they are bored, hungry for newsand diversion. Sacco details these scenes and their terrible effectson the otherwise normal people of a nondescript Balkan town. Theunforgettable man who made hours of home video of carnage and bodyparts, achieving almost sexual pleasure from watching it and screeningit for visitors; the girls in search of bluejeans and boyfriends; thesoldiers who just want to go back to the university. Sacco placesGorazde in its historical context by reviewing the broader war, eventsin Sarajevo and Srebrenica and Dayton. He points fingers, this is notan even-handed piece of jurisprudence, but a visit to one of the ringsof hell, whose inhabitants know precisely who is guilty for visitingthis carnage on innocents. They know, because they were all neighborsjust months before.
Sacco's illustrations pack a punch.
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