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Journalism Paperback – May 14, 2013
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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“We see the potent brew of Sacco's reporting, with its combination of engagement and complicity… This is what visual storytelling has to offer, this kind of immediacy, of empathy, this ability to open up the narrative in a way that transcends words.” ―Los Angeles Times
“Deeply humane, disturbing portraits of war, oppression, and sectarian tension… Sacco's work is a reminder of the hidebound nature of much international reporting, and of the potential for creative disruption in the field. If there were any justice in American media, a hundred Saccos would bloom.” ―Bookforum
“The images Sacco draws are so powerful that they burn deep into your retina and reconfigure how you see the world.… The stories in Journalism display Sacco at the top of his game as our era's irreplaceable moral witness.” ―National Post (Toronto)
“This volume of Sacco's shorter pieces makes an outstanding companion to his acclaimed book-length works… A powerful record of voices that would have otherwise gone largely unheard.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Joe Sacco is the author of the Eisner Award-winning graphic novels Footnotes in Gaza and Safe Area Goražde, among other books. His works have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Harper's. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Top customer reviews
"Someone leans over and says, In America when someone dies, you cry. Here we have a party."
"If you work for the Americans, the Mujahadeen will kill you; If you work for the Mujahadeen, the Americans will kill you; And if you stay home, you won't earn any money."
"When African immigrants arrive here, they are welcomed by detention for up to a year and a half before being released to open centers, where they can come and go as they please."
"When the day of reckoning comes, there will not be enough lampposts for the traitorous bastards."
"Arsonists have targeted the homes or property of those considered sympathetic to the immigrants, including journalists, Jesuits, and a lawyer."
"In 2002 Malta forcibly returned more than 220 Eritreans; they were immediately imprisoned on arrival. Many were tortured, and some died from their mistreatment."
"When residents saw he way paying some of them to clean the facility, they intentionally threw garbage on the ground. The more cleaners were employed, the more it became dirty..."
"Big people. That's a euphemism for those who call the shots in the village, those who perhaps aren't so much worried that we'll glimpse the shameful poverty here as get an inkling into what a wonderful business it can be."
"Suvanti says she works for 20. Does she know that the minimum wage is 100 rupees? What is the point knowing it? Men make 100 rupees, women make 20 rupees. How does it make a difference if I know?"
"The women (and children and even men) go to the fields where the rats are, and we collect the grains that they store in their holes, and we bring them here. We go there every day."
What's more: Comics rule! Even the classics are coming back. Are you a fan of Walt Kelly's Pogo? The entire run is coming back as a multi-volume series. Amazon already is listing the September release of Pogo: Bona Fide Balderdash (Vol. 2) (Walt Kelly's Pogo). The 2012 Avengers movie from Walt Disney already is No. 3 on the Worldwide All-Time Box Office list compiled by the Internet Movie DataBase. The top 25 films on that list include movies featuring Spider-Man, Shrek, the Ice Age animals, Transformers, the Lion King, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lord of the Rings. The No. 1 and No. 2 movies on the list are Avatar and Titanic. Clearly, the list is dominated by fantasy, comic heroes and cartoons. A major section-front story in the New York Times just made this same point in July 2012.
Major publishers are aware of this trend! And that brings us to Joe Sacco, who was formally trained in journalism at the University of Oregon -- but immediately began tearing up the journalism handbook to add new chapters about world news reporting. There's not a writer whose body of work is better described as "love him or hate him" in terms of public reception. To begin with, a lot of traditional journalists shook their heads when Sacco began tackling such hot-button stories as injustices in Palestine and the Bosnian War. Turning life-and-death journalism into comics!?! Then, even when readers began to give Sacco the benefit of the doubt in using comics to report the news, there were his stories themselves. Hand a copy of his epic work, Palestine, to a room full of people who really care about Israel and Palestine -- and they soon will be ripping pages out of the book as they argue over its contents. That's despite the fact that it won the American Book Award in 1996.
Just as Sacco produces non-traditional journalism, you are reading a non-traditional book review of his latest release, called simply: Journalism. At long last, just as Pogo is coming out in lavish hardback editions, Sacco's shorter works of comic journalism over the years have been collected into a single hardback volume. Sacco has written a fresh Preface to this volume and it includes a fascinating, transparent description of Sacco's standards for comic journalism. He's clear in arguing that this is a serious-minded, legitimate approach to reporting the news. Yes, he admits, the comic medium adds the bias of the individual artist's drawing style to the factual reporting -- but then, so does video editing in the slick new online video reports we are seeing from newspapers these days.
If you haven't been following the explosion of comics as a new international language -- from domination of the movie industry to the widespread revivals of classic comics -- then check out Joe Sacco to see the potency of this movement. Sacco proves this isn't merely nostalgia. This is a new non-fiction medium emerging on a global scale. Yes, you may want to collect the Pogo reprints. I'm a big fan of Pogo myself. Yes, you may enjoy the mega-success of the Avengers and other comic super heroes.
But don't miss Sacco's work, because he is poking a sharply pointed pen into the red-hot nexus of global news media -- and he is suggesting that the future may belong to budding Woodwards and Bernsteins who can literally set the scene for readers ... by drawing it. For now, order a copy of Journalism. And, sure, pick up a copy of Pogo while you're at it.
Sacco is an international treasure, and journalism is lucky to have him.
Journalism is a stunning education about human suffering in parts of the world we know little about and even those places we thought we understood well. Do yourself a favor and become a devotee of Sacco's work. And help spread the word about the stories he brings to life...the stories most journalists are unable or unwilling to report.