Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review: It was the War of the Trenches - Jacques Tardi

Genre: Graphic Novel, WWI
Pages: 118
Published: 2010
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Source: Library

World War I, that awful, gaping wound in the history of Europe, has longbeen an obsession of Jacques Tardi s.  It Was the War of the Trenches is Tardi s defining, masterful statement on the subject. Tardi is not interested in the national politics, the strategies, or the battles.Like Remarque, he focuses on the day to day of the grunts in the trenches, and, with icy, controlled fury and disgust, with sardonic yet deeply sympathetic narration, he brings that existence alive as no one has before or since. Yet he also delves deeply into the underlying causes of the war, the madness, the cynical political exploitation of patriotism. And in a final, heartbreaking coda, Tardi grimly itemizes the ghastly human cost of the war, and lays out the future20th century conflicts, all of which seem to spring from this global burst of insanity. 

My thoughts:
It was a bit jumpy so for that it would get a 2, but still he used poems and the way the novel was done, well it gets a 3 for that. Impressed I was not, but it was still a very good WWI graphic novel. It showed the horror in its truth.

I liked the way it portrayed war. The horrible thing is not men killing the enemy. It's war after all. Yes it is unimaginable why it is being done, but that is the way it always have been. The horrible thing here is killing your own.

There was the man who did not understand French and was sentenced to death for not following an order. It was the man when the war started who did not stand up and praise France and was beaten to death. It was the Jewish man sent out to take down a corpse, a task everyone knew would kill him. The men who tried to take a trench, but had to turn back, and then was shelled by their own for being cowards. It was the women and children being used as human shields and was killed because the enemy was behind them. It was the man who did not ran fast enough and was killed by their own for it. That is the horrible fact of war.

"I'm back. I got lost. In which trench, and for how much longer, the mud, the cold, the rats, the fear and the lice?


  1. Wow...sounds like a really intense book. WWI, I find, is a little more hard to read then WWII. I don't know why, perhaps because the onslaught seemed to be "worse". It was a new dawn to war with new weapons and technology. Gas was used for the first time too. Men would charge and be cut down by the new machine guns. It took a while for battle stragy to morph around the new technology and weapons. Great review!

  2. I wish my library had these. I'm intrigued. Good review.

  3. This sounds very bleak indeed.

  4. Carole
    It is harder to read. The last real war, even if modern things came to play there too. But still those useless charges to win a trench, and instead they just all died.

    For once my library did well int eh graphic novel section

    It was

  5. Interesting format for such a heavy subject. I'm afraid I just can't get into graphic novels - didn't like comics as a kid either.

  6. "It showed the horror in its truth."

    Oh, wow, Blodeuedd! You amaze me. I don't think I could stomach a story like this, and least of all in a graphic novel.

  7. Dana
    It works well like this. It shows it more in a way

    Well, there was this one scene with a dead horse in a tree, and that was just the beginning of it

  8. Sounds way too tough for me. You're review talks about all the reasons I avoid war books.

  9. Carole
    It is not an easy book to read, but then war is not easy. Just terrible

  10. I wish that sort of book or GN could hold my attention but they just don't. Reading about war shakes me to my core, my Dad who is sadly gone now, was in the end of WWII and he rarely talked about it but when he did there were often tears in his eyes. He was part of the Air Force that flew many of the emaciated barely alive jewish prisoners out of the war camps-he had seen such atrocities that I don't think he ever really got over it.

    I think there is just so much ugliness in the world right now that I prefer my fictional romance-paranormal, if you please!

  11. That's why every war is bad - it is stupid. It makes people die for stupid reasons or without any reason at all.

    I've never done a graphic novel review - you definitely encouraged me to try one. Thanks!

  12. I have yet to read a graphic novel, I always worry I won't be able to follow the jumpiness of them. Still, I think I would enjoy the illustrations, though war stories aren't for me so much. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you read for this challenge though!

  13. Kristi
    I can understand that. I really do not undesrtamd how anyone can stay sane after having been in a war. For me I knew that my granddad had been injured during the war (even if he died ebfore I was born), but no oen ever talked about the war. Injured was the only thing I knew, and that my grandmother had taken the kids and fled during a bomraid. More was never said. Not something they wanted to discuss

    Try it! It's hard, but that's life :)
    And yes, war is idiotic

    The illustrastions here was more gruesome, so I can't say I liked them. Or the jumpiness. But he got me with the war bit

  14. I don't think this is for me. I'd toss it against the wall too much. So I REALLY can't get this in ebook format!

    Killing their own. *shivers* Oh yes, this is horrid.

  15. Melissa
    No no, do not read this one, do not break that poor kindle!

  16. I think this would be very intense and graphic in the horrific sense. I don't know if I could handle the images or not.

  17. All wars are horrific but almost every movie I’ve seen and books I’ve read about WWI make it seem especially chilling.

  18. Sounds like something my husband would like. It seems weird to have war in a graphic novel. Personally I have a hard time with that format in general no matter the subject matter.

  19. I'm not much of a world war kind of reader. Thanks for the review. And that is one rough challege there, hope it goes wonderfully for you. :)

  20. This sounds intense. I'm not sure about a war story in the graphic novel format, but I'd give it a try.

  21. I don't usually read this time period, but it sounds like a good book.

  22. HEY B!
    I just wanted to let you know that I tagged you! That means you are it, so you have to give 6 random facts about yourself and then (if you want) tag other people! Here's a link to my post with my 6 facts and the guidlines:



  23. I don't think this one's for me. War books are always so intense and this one comes with the pictures too.

  24. Carrie
    It both was and wasn't

    It was not overly icky in the end, so you would be ok

    I do not know why, perhaps it as the last true war. The war that was just so stupid, everyone was only canonfodder

    He does make it work wonderfully, so yes do recommened it

  25. Melissa
    I think I said I would read one book ;) Well done! Shall try to find more though.

    He makes it work in his own way

    I have been intersted in WWI ever since this class I took

    Cool :)

    I have seen movies more gross though

  26. This does sound intense. I can imagine it is hard to read.

  27. I really don't like reading about the war. Even though I like history. But this might be something for my boyfriend to enjoy.

  28. This sounds interesting. I haven't read too many graphic novels, but the ones I've read seem to focus on war. Even if you didn't rate it too highly, it still sounds like a good book for the challenge! We'll get your review on War Through the Generations soon.

  29. I don't read a lot of graphic novels, but this one sounds like something I should consider for the WWI reading challenge. We're featuring a snippet on the home page from your review on March 2. We've linked to your review on the reviews page.

  30. Naida
    That's war

    I am not a big fan either, but I liek the poems, and if books are written like that then I am there.

    It was just, oh well, jumpy. But it's a graphic novel and I cut it some slack cos it was good and I liked how he used poems though out the book

    Good :)

  31. Your review was quite moving and thought provoking. People tend to romanticize the great wars, and they shouldn't all the time. Thanks for the recommendation.

  32. Jenny
    I sure do not know why people do that. But that is the case with many wars and soldiers. It's sad really



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