Top positive review
21 people found this helpful
The Balkan War as you've never seen it: in personal terms.
on 14 January 2001
What can I say about this book? It's incredible. When I started reading, I have to admit to being a bit disappointed. Sacco was going round, meeting people, socialising, not saying a lot about the war, and when he did mention it, it was all stuff I already knew, that anyone who's watched the news while it was going on knows. The backdrops indicated the war, the poverty was obvious, but I didn't feel like I was learning anything apart from seeing people sit around, drink, and chat. And then, about a third of the way through, boom. Suddenly it hit me. These people, I was starting to feel like I knew them. And then one left for the front line. And I was terrified to turn the page. I knew that he might not come back. And that this was a real man, not some work of fiction. And it was at that point, that the whole cruel, callousness of the war hit, and at that point, I started to learn something. Detail. Detail I'd never seen before, and might have been happier never knowing. And told by humans, real people. And it still terrifies me. This book has the potted history of the war, the enclave, and the human factor that we miss in so many, many of the war reports we're used to seeing. Sacco spent four weeks in Gorazde, and in that time he lived with some of the residents. And it's given him an insight into the place that I don't think you'll find anywhere else.
Oh, and a final note. It's a graphic novel. A comic. And this shouldn't put you off. This is one of the finest uses of the medium I've seen, and helps tell the story in a way straight prose can't. The horror presented starkly in front of you is something I doubt many can imagine, even through the greatest descriptions, because we don't want to. Here you have nowhere to hide. Buy this book. You will not regret it.