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It Was the War of the Trenches Hardcover – 20 Apr 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics Books (20 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606993534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606993538
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 0.2 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

It Was the War of the Trenches Translation of: C'etait la guerre des tranchees. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Yossarian on 17 May 2010
Format: Hardcover
Dark and very grim, but beautifully drawn by one of the greats of franco-belgian comics. His clear-line style is very unique and the use of grey tone is impressive too, it reminds me of the tone work in the excellent `Bloody Streets of Paris'.

A collection of powerful short vignettes rather than just one story, all held together by the theme of the atrocities of trench warfare. The book illustrates how expendable soldiers were at the front, and the inhuman conditions they endured.

This is the kind of book that breaks boundaries, i bet alot of people will be interested in this who don't usually read graphic novels or european comics.

This truly deserves its reputation as a classic - purchase with confidence.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Rice on 12 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
Tardis book portrays life in the trenches with a series of short stories that make up a snapshot of the danger and hardship facing the average French soldier in the trenches.

The book describes the complete futility and removal of humanity facing those who took part in this bitter and merciless war. It was interesting to see this presented from a French perspective in an easily understood format such as a graphic novel, which Tardi has aimed to be as accurate as possible by consulting various historical experts, as well as basing parts of the story on his own grandfathers' experiences in WWI.

As far as comics go on the First World War, this can't be compared to the 'Charley's War' series (see Charley's War: 1 August-17 October 1916) which is an excellent introduction to the shocking brutalities of the First World War for a younger audience (and well worth a read), but both share the desire to educate the reader on what it would have been like to face the atrocities of trench warfare, the likes of which have never been seen before or since.

The author has also included some recommended reading and viewing at the end of the book, which I hope to investigate and further my knowledge and understanding of 'the war to end all wars'.

This was my first introduction to Tardi and I am keen to read his other titles on the strength of this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Marshall on 18 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have a strong interest in first world war history (and graphic novels too) but I have yet to see the brutality and horrors of life in the trenches portrayed so vividly in any other visual medium. Tardi works with actual testimony, and has a meticulous eye for detail. And he is also an outstanding artist - one of the best French graphic artists. Outstanding, and further evidence of the power of comics as a communications medium.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
In case you missed the memo, World War I was a nightmare of pointless suffering for millions upon millions of people. This beautifully produced (and translated) reprint of a 1993 French graphic collection takes you there via a loose collection of personal stories from the French trenches. There's no protagonist, no plot, no narrative, just, as the author writes in his foreword: "Nothing but a gigantic, anonymous scream of agony." Each of these "screams of agony" is the story of a French soldier and the madness he encounters at the front lines. There are about 8-10 stories, ranging from 2-15 pages each, and they march across the mind with relentless horror. Tardi drew heavily upon archival photos and research in drafting these stories, and it certainly shows both in the detail and emotional truth of the images. In another part of the preface the author wrote, "The only thing that interests me is man and his suffering, and it fills me with rage." and that rage comes across very directly. This is not a book to be read for fun, but to be studied in conjunction with other seminal works on World War I such as Goodbye to All That, Paths of Glory, and many many more books and films (which are listed in the excellent bibliography in the rear of the book). The book occupies the uneasy but vital space between pure documentary footage, memoir, and fiction, and could be an excellent teaching tool for the classroom.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a powerful and valuable work that both shows and tells you the true horrors of the First World War. Rather than a traditional linear narrative with a protagonist this is a series of vignettes. Tardy has taken the words of French soldiers and actual war photographs and come up with a nightmarish scrapbook of how horrific things were.

Many of the tales prove truth is stranger than fiction, as absurd coincidences and tragic events occur along the journey to death. Many of these tableaus will stick in your mind just as they did the soldiers who wrote them down.

The art is superb being mostly grey with black and white saved for the highlights or dramatic effects. There is gore and revulsion but it is very subtle. A tragic silhouette, a mangled limb just in frame and corpses everywhere. This is a very intelligent and affecting use of powerful imagery. What is highly disconcerting is that a number of characters look right out of the page at you as if accusing you for not doing more to save them. It’s eerily well done.

Because this is a short volume compared to a novel you never become inured to it. Tardi takes as many different instances of horror as possible so each fresh tale is uniquely disturbing. Soldiers being shelled intentionally by their own side, giving themselves gangrene in order to get discharged, civilians and ‘cowards’ being shot, and a tragic waste of men and animal’s lives.

The book includes an introduction and a passage of prose that complement the rest of the visual work and it finishes up with an illustrated list of statistics detailing the toll of the war.

This is a Double Thumbs Up!!
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