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War is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones Paperback – August 3, 2010


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War is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones + War Fix
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (August 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451230116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451230119
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #923,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. War journalist Axe has been to some of the most volatile regions of our globe in the past decade, and since 2006 he has used comics to tell the stories he sees there. In his previous War Fix he expressed the drive that inspires him to return to war zone after war zone, in search of the truth about conflicts around the world. Axe founded the Web site War Is Boring, which gives war correspondents and cartoonists a place to report and react to modern-day warfare. At first glance, the combination of hard-hitting war journalism and cartooning is incongruous, but as those who have read Joe Sacco will testify, the graphic novel can be a potent medium in which to show both the fearful tedium and the violence of war. Axe and artist Bors (3 Car Pileup) are well on their way to mastering the balance, using a traditional six-panel grid to give the art a documentary feel. Bors's art has an indie vibe that will pull in readers from other genres, lending sympathy and depth to Axe's troubled protagonist. Like War Fix, this suffers a bit from Axe's ambivalence toward his calling, but his honesty sets it apart from other war narratives.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Addicted to danger, freelance war correspondent Axe found himself irresistibly drawn to conflicts in Iraq, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. Each time, once his itch was scratched, he would return home, where his tolerance for smug, ignorant Americans grew slimmer and his relationship with his girlfriend became more and more strained. Then his death wish would resurface and the cycle would resume. The visuals and dialogue in this graphic novel—adapted from his webcomic of the same name—convey his harrowing experiences and encounters with soldiers and civilians in the worlds riskiest war zones, while his growing internal distress is related in captions that serve as an anguished voice-over commentary. Axe’s tale is heartfelt and compelling; however, Bors’ awkward artwork does it a disservice. But if their collaboration falls short of the mastery of comics-journalist Joe Sacco’s war-zone reportage from Bosnia—or, for that matter, the Afghanistan dispatches of cartoonist Ted Rall, who contributes an introduction to this volume—it’s nonetheless a convincing document of a daunting internal conflict. --Gordon Flagg

More About the Author

David Axe is a military correspondent living in Columbia, South Carolina. Since 2005 he has reported from the U.K., Iraq, Lebanon, Japan, East Timor, Afghanistan, Somalia, Chad, Nicaragua, Kenya, Gabon, Congo and other countries. He is a regular contributor to Voice of America, AOL, Wired and many others. David is the author of the graphic novels WAR FIX and WAR IS BORING. He blogs at www.warisboring.com. David can be reached at david_axe-at-hotmail.com.

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Customer Reviews

And even that is only a little better than adequate.
pachy
I thoroughly enjoyed this book on the first read through, I'm getting more out of it on the second and I hope you will appreciate it too.
Rodin
Axe's sardonic tone is easy to follow along with, but the narrative is peppered with real humor and emotion.
Molly Brenan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By T. S. VINE VOICE on August 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A vanishingly small percentage of Americans -- on the order of one percent -- have any direct experience of what life is like under our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They're wars behind walls, and only under rare circumstances do Americans get to see an unfiltered, uncensored presentation of what life in those warzones is actually like. Even more rarely do Americans get access to the lower-profile conflicts that dot the developing world, too far outside our political aims or our military interests for most first-world reporters to even bother with them -- places like East Timor, Darfur, Somalia, places off the edge of the mental map for most Americans: the "Here Be Dragons" of the 24-hour-news-cycle age.

David Axe has spent the past few years going to those places first hand. In this comic, he gives us a retrospective on what he's seen and the reactions he's gone through, taking us with him as he confronts, both physically and mentally, the hollow brutality of modern warfare.

Matt Bor's spare, iconic art provides an excellent substrate for Axe's text, and together they show us a view of modern conflict that might not be possible in a more mainstream medium -- too ruthlessly realistic for hollywood, too graphically violent for television news, too strongly emotional for a newspaper.

If it has a flaw, it's that it's a little too personal -- the focus of the story is slightly more on what the experience of these conflicts has done to Axe's mind than it is on the conflicts themselves -- but that might be a necessary function of this kind of personal narrative. If you want a first-hand account of what it's like "over there" -- and you want to know more about what going "over there" might do to your mind and your worldview -- you won't go far wrong reading this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rodin on August 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am not usually a fan of graphic novels however I found this one gripping. Whether that is because it is a memoir or because the combination of David Axe's writing and Matt Bors's illustrations goes together so well I am not sure, it doesn't matter because this is a book I did not want to put down.

Page after page has you following David Axe from what most of us call home to one war zone and back, to arms fairs and editor's offices until another opportunity arises to head off to another part of the world to document its troubles. The more I got into this book though, the more I realise that it's not about the trouble spots he goes to but about his own and how he changes from someone who reports on wars to someone who reports on people.

Matt Bors's stark black and white illustrations are ideally suited to this world of contrasts, with a flick of the pen he can lend a wry humour to any situation or convey the sobering reality of a life and death situation. I thoroughly enjoyed this book on the first read through, I'm getting more out of it on the second and I hope you will appreciate it too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H_Poe on August 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Axe has got a thing or two many other war reporters and memoirists lack--audacity and self-irreverence. I finished it in a sitting or two, and this is coming from someone who doesn't read many graphic novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Molly Brenan on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
David Axe is truly an innovator in the genres of both war writing and graphic novels. War is Boring has all the makings of a good story, and most of all an entirely engrossing protagonist. Axe's sardonic tone is easy to follow along with, but the narrative is peppered with real humor and emotion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Piotrowski on September 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Mostly I found myself annoyed by the equanimity and detachment that the author presented toward places of incredible human suffering. Obviously a war correspondent becomes numb -- as a matter of course -- to the horrors of conflict. But it is this exact internal struggle that creates some of the best war reporting on the planet. (I'm thinking here of Robert Fisk, Amy Goodman, Allan Nairn, even Anderson Cooper.) I cannot recommend Joe Sacco enough for a superb example of a comics-artist war correspondent.

I have no problem with war correspondents putting their own emotions -- even if I disagree with them -- into a story. The author of War is Boring, on the other hand, seems to represent the worst traits of 21st-century US ennui: Everything is just a re-run or a big yawn. It reminds me of the infamous "we're all bored" scene from _My Dinner With Andre_. Alas, rather than wrestling with this boredom, or interrogating its sources or the dangers it presents, the author chooses to wallow in it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By pachy on January 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
In "War is Boring" David Axe proves that writing a graphic novel requires a unique set of skills that he has apparently not acquired in his years as a war correspondent (he hates being called that!) What some might interpret as a minimalist approach, I felt was just empty (read Chester Brown for minimalism that works.) Axe's effort felt impoverished, bereft of both engaging narrative and substantial meaning.
Not surprisingly Axe's world view is unrelentingly bleak. I guess that's what happens when the only thing that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning is witnessing the worst that humanity has to offer.
The best thing about "War is Boring" is Matt Bors' artwork. And even that is only a little better than adequate. Within the context of the subject matter Bors' art feels like a less successful version of Joe Sacco's.
It seems impossible that Axe could have experienced such profound events and his reflections on them are so hollow. In short, his graphic novel does not do justice to his own experience.
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