It Was The War Of The Trenches

It Was The War Of The Trenches

4.23 (1,964 ratings by Goodreads)
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World War I, that awful, gaping wound in the history of Europe, has long been an obsession of Jacques Tardi's. (His very first--rejected--comics story dealt with the subject, as does his most recent work, the two-volume Putain de Guerre.) But It Was the War of the Trenches is Tardi's defining, masterful statement on the subject, a graphic novel that can stand shoulder to shoulder with Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front and Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

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 future 20th century conflicts, all of which seem to spring from this global burst of insanity.

Trenches features some of Tardi's most stunning artwork. Rendered in an inhabitually lush illustrative style, inspired both by abundant photographic documentation and classic American war comics, augmented by a sophisticated, gorgeous use of Craftint tones, trenches is somehow simultaneously atypical and a perfect encapsulation of Tardi's mature style. It is the indisputable centerpiece of Tardi's oeuvre.

It Was the War of the Trenches has been an object of fascination for North American publishers: RAW published a chapter in the early 1980s, and Drawn and Quarterly magazine serialized a few more in the 1990s. But only a small fraction of Trenches has ever been made available to the English speaking public (in now out of print publications); the Fantagraphics edition, the third in an ongoing collection of the works of this great master, finally remedies this situation.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 120 pages
  • 210 x 273 x 20.32mm | 707g
  • Seattle, United States
  • English
  • 1 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1606993534
  • 9781606993538
  • 52,808

Review quote

Tardi is bringing very specific and very effective weapons to bear in his chillingly successful effort to convey [the] particular horror [of World War I].--Sean T. Collins "Attentiondeficitdisorderly"
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Rating details

1,964 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 45% (890)
4 37% (718)
3 14% (282)
2 3% (57)
1 1% (17)

Our customer reviews

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!!show more
by 365 Graphic Novels
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