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Goddamn This War! Hardcover – August 3, 2013
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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.)
*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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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...
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.
Tardi shows to all the frustrations and the foibles of fighting a war which by 1918 all have forgotten why the war was fought. To make matters worse the peace designed by the infamous Treaty of Versailles in and of itself bore the seeds of discontent in Germany and in fact brought us WWII. And so it goes! This books shows to all the futility and wastefulness of war!
This graphic novel avoids the traps of conventionalism taking a non linear narrative that loosely follows only soem sort of chronological order, focusing on the writings of an anonymous French soldier.
Jacques Tardi , a master of his craft, shifts effortlessly between loose sketch-like images and very detailed vignettes of a war that eroded all traces of civilization (and most of Europe and its youth) with terrible brutality. If you like anti war statements and European style graphic novels this is as good as they come. For companion music listen to PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake.
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