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Goddamn This War! Hardcover – August 3, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. French artist Tardi revisits World War I, the subject matter of his phenomenal It Was the War of the Trenches. He takes a new approach to his subject matter, and his art has evolved in the 15 years since his earlier masterpiece, but the details of the conflict remain grim. Tardi proceeds chronologically, showing how Europe marched into a pointless, brutal war—a conflict in which millions died to no great purpose, leaving nothing but mud and ruins across great swaths of the continent. Tardi's palate becomes increasingly depleted as his story develops, reflecting the dire circumstances of the hapless conscripted soldiers manning the front lines. As hope and sense drain from the world, so too does color, with the art fading to a grim monochrome. Also included is an illustrated chronology of World War I, provided by historian Verney. Tardi's skills as an artist are rivaled only by his skill as a writer; he vividly conveys the horrors and sheer waste of the Great War. This new translation allows English-speakers to discover Tardi's remarkable work. (Aug.)

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Tardi’s It Was the War of the Trenches was released in the U.S. in 2010, but it’s been 15 years since its completion, a gap of time that proves Tardi’s passion and anger over WWI has not dampened in the least. This spiritual sequel uses an unnamed Parisian soldier’s hardboiled, heartbroken narration (there is no spoken dialogue) to take the reader through six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues—with blood accents (“pieces of human flesh settled like red snowflakes”). Multiple encounters with the same German soldier provide a ghost of a story line, but primarily this carries the wandering tone of a shell-shocked young man writing an unfocused letter home, swinging from pure pining to furious condemnation: “It was always the same old song—to the tune of human bones being tossed into the meat grinder.” The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces. Verney’s closing illustrated chronology of French involvement in the war provides a firm base to this tale of an Everysoldier who acknowledges from the start, “I’d make a perfect fatality.” --Daniel Kraus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics; 1 edition (August 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606995820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606995822
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.7 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard C. Geschke VINE VOICE on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In retrospect the whole foundation of the politics of the 20th century really got off to a bad start with the residual old staid European hierarchy controlling the strings of their puppets and leading the masses into a war which for the life of me I can't remember the reason for it!

Most baby boomers remember the rehashing of WWII ad nauseam as they grew up. The Battle of the Bulge, D Day, and Pearl Harbor etc. were things that were discussed and shown in movie theaters and on TV. What had been completely lost in this study of the Second World War was that the causes of the greatest war the world has ever seen emanated in the Great War of 1914/1918. This great slaughter is well told by Jacques Tardi's graphic depiction of Goddamn This War!

This book gives very graphic detail as to what transpired in WWI. The pictures are haunting as Tardi shows what the war was really all about. Not only are the pictures telling a story of horror, it is the thoughts of a French soldier who tells us of what is transpiring around him. In this narrative detail we learn that all common soldiers were just fodder thrown against each other to satisfy the aristocracy of all sides in this horrific war.

In fact as Tardi counts down the years in this depiction of WWI we learn the thoughts of this French soldier as it slowly occurs to him that the Germans he is fighting are very much like him. It dawns on him that all the common soldiers belong to the brotherhood and that they are all being led by the elitist aristocracy who are only interested in maintaining their wealth. The French soldier realizes that the German "Fritz" whom he is fighting is more like him than his illustrious elitist leaders.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most Great War stories tell of heroism (albeit romanticized), the invention of new weapons that can kill more efficiently, the modern logistics infrastructures such as railroads that transport soldiers to their deaths faster, and the intricate alliance between European cousins that helped paved the way for the inevitable war.

I enjoy stories from soldiers on the ground, what they came up against, their friends being killed in front of them, their longing for home. With these stories, it hopefully gives people pause when it comes to killing another human being just for the sake of country (or in the case of the Great War, either "for King and Country" or "Barbarians against Western Civilization").

This book is well made, illustrations are top notch, and the story inside humanizing...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume contains the story of a French soldier during WWI. It is an excellent companion to almost any novel about the war, but especially
Fear: A Novel of World War I by Chevallier, as both are French and tell the story from that point of view. Here is the link:(http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1590177169/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_29)

The illustrations leave nothing to the imagination, and can be quite gruesome. I recommend it to anyone interested in the "Great War".
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Format: Hardcover
This is Jacques Tardi's second World War One graphic novel. It follows a single main character, a French infantryman, through the whole of the Great War. He is called up in the summer of 1914 and serves from the first battles through the armistice.

The visuals are well researched and powerful, while the writing hits relentlessly on a grimly ironic note. The main character is disillusioned from the first moment of the war, so he doesn't go through the same changes of those around him from enthusiasm to grim consent to disillusion. The side characters blend into the bleak background, such that when a character is named as having died you sometimes aren't sure who he's talking about. Tardi tends to focus is story on only the darkest elements of the war, making it more one-note than many of the novels and memoirs on which he's basing his work. (He provides an excellent bibliography of books and movies which influenced him.) After the story itself, there's also an extended section detailing the history of the war itself. This is good, but necessarily brief.

Overall, I found this interesting, but I wish that the storytelling had been as compelling as the visuals.
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As a fan of Jacques Tardi's work, this book can only be compared to his previous piece, It was the War of the Trenches. That last book contained smaller, more personal stories that did not appear in a linear form.

Goddamn this War! (Putain de Guerre for you French readers), is an even better work. The First World War is presented from the French side, with multiple forays into the German perspective. Tardi's art is vibrant and horrific, and the extent of his research is apparent in the minute details of uniforms and weapons. The bleak tone of the book is made apparent even as the color scheme shifts from the green plains of the early war to the dark, grey, and muddy trenches they were reduced to. The story follows a French soldier who lives through the entire war (though he gets out far from unscathed). His negative perspective on the entire event is a juxtaposition to the acts of the French generals and officers who send their men into the meat grinder.

This book had me captivated from beginning to end, with its art and its words. It's brilliance makes me wonder why there are not more war comics produced today, as they offer a setting that both horrifies and educates.
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