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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars

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on 9 November 2016
That's a masterpiece. I must read for everyone and a great description of what war (not only WWII) is
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on 2 July 2001
I first read this book when it was first published back in 1994, it is the story of a young japanese boy growing up in the middle of World War 2. His whole life is turned upside down by the Atomic Bomb being dropped on his motherland, beautifully and graphically told. AMAZING
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on 7 February 2011
I read this, as a teenager, when it came out. Until then history had been a fairly dull, dry and forgetable subject (and lots of it still is!), however books like this set me on a path to find out more about certain historic events - Hiroshima, and later the Holocaust, and brought to life the humanity of these events. As it told the story from the eyes of a child I could relate to it. Barefoot Gen combines beautiful and engaging, large eyed graphics with a tragic story. Whilst the book is heart breaking it ends with hope. For me its up there with Grapes of Wrath in a book whose images you never forget, and a book that you simply do not part with.
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on 5 December 2004
I had no inkling of what lay in store when I borrowed this marvellous book from my brother. I read it in one sitting and was totally absorbed by the story of Gen, his family and their neighbours in Hiroshima. The author paints a fascinating portrait of Japanese wartime society, the petty domestic concerns of the people, their faith in victory and their belief in their leaders which to me seems totally authentic. He charts the dropping of the bomb and its aftermath in shocking detail and reveals the pain and anguish of the survivors. I challenge readers not to be deeply effected by this tale of loss, love and survival.
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on 12 November 2012
While graphic novels are now very much a part of the mainstream literary environment, manga has remained something of a niche genre most popular with Japanese businessmen and Anglo emo-teens, but there are several series which really do deserve to have a wider audience. Keiji Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen is one such series. Literary and yet still accessible in the same way as Art Spiegelman's phenomenal Maus, Barefoot Gen is loosely based on Nakazawa's own experiences as a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing.

Nakazawa was six years old when an atomic bomb with power equal to 13500 tons of TNT was detonated 1850 feet above the centre of Hiroshima at 08:16 on the morning of August 6 1945. Roughly 400000 people were living in the Hiroshima area at the time. Roughly 232000 of them died, either as a direct result of the explosion or later through radiation poisoning. Nakazawa was about a mile from the city centre when the bomb was detonated and he survived by pure luck.

Barefoot Gen begins in April 1945 and this first volume follows young Gen and his family, along with millions of other Japanese civilians, as they struggle to deal with the hardships that plagued the country in the run up to the end of World War Two. In the four months prior to the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Gen and his family are be shunned and abused by their neighbours due to his father's pacifist beliefs. The cruelties and hardships of their daily lives are seen through the eyes of Gen as he struggles to understand why his family are despised. The loving, tight-knit family is viewed in sharp contrast with the rabid militaristic, patriotic stance of the nation as a whole. There is a very authentic feel to the way daily life in Japan at the tail-end of a war which brought pain and famine to a proud nation is portrayed. This volume ends with the events of August 6, the day of the atomic bomb.

A beautiful though harrowing work, Barefoot Gen is a testimony to the horrors of nuclear war and to the triumph of the human spirit. This is an amazingly power series that I would recommend to anyone interested in history and, indeed, humanity.
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VINE VOICEon 25 June 2007
Volumes 1 & 2 of Nakazawa's famous comic series about a boy called 'Gen' and his life in Hiroshima during the WWII and soon after the atomic bomb. The first two volumes of this series are probably the most important ones. After I read them, I just had to lend them to everyone I knew. If you read this story, you'll realise how silly to hear some popular opiniton 'Dropping two atomic bombs in Japan was necessary to end the war'. The author Nakazawa says that each and every event illustrated here is a true story. You'll see, for example, that two young brothers fight against each other for a little grain of rice. Gen trying to encourage a girl who used to be dreaming about one day becoming a professional dancer, but now her face was badly burnt by the bomb, although she still didn't know it - he refuses to let her see the mirror.
The bombs were dropped onto civilians in the two cities, and, in Hiroshima alone, 100,000 people, including children, elderly people and western prisoners of war, were killed instantly, and the pain they suffered from it was tremendous. The way some of Gen's family members, including a new born baby sister, were slowly dying is simply too sad to look at. But the reality is that it actually took place and was caused by human hands.
I sincerely hope that many people will find the opportunity to read this book at least once in their life-time, and I strongly believe that this book will enlighten the whole world with the message: 'What really happens when a nuclear bomb is dropped onto humanity', which hasn't really been talked about in history books for some reason. But I think it's time to face reality.
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on 16 May 2007
I discovered this title in my local libary years ago and fell in love. A deeply moving tale of the lessons and pressures of the real life of a worldly different, yet eerly similar, family at war. A true testiment to the devastation that war creates and the lives lost.

This winding epic is a must for all serious Graphic Novel/Comic/Manga collector, or anyone who appresiates the impact Hiroshima had on history.
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on 20 January 2006
This comic book (some may call it graphic novel, I don't) is an account of how it was to live in Japan during the war.
Rationing, indoctrination, racism, conformism and alienation are all there, the nastiness of the war is revealed at a level we don't see very often, that of civilian daily life.
Absolutely fantastic book that should be mandatory reading for the warmonger closest to your heart.
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on 7 July 2011
I read the complete Barefoot Gen, and it is a masterwork that should be compulsive reading, wether one is interested in war stories, history in general, or the human condition. After a few pages you get used to the different visual language and you start to appreciate the books. On a par with Maus.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2005
You don't have be a manga fan to enjoy these books – very much like Spiegelman & Maus.
Ignoring the graphic art itself, these books give an excellent insight into what was happening in Japan, with the trials and tribulations of everyday life, before, during and after the Atomic Bomb attacks.
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