Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Tardi's It Was the War of the Trenches was released in the U.S. in 2010, but it's been 15 years since its completion, a gap of time that proves Tardi's passion and anger over WWI has not dampened in the least. This spiritual sequel uses an unnamed Parisian soldier's hardboiled, heartbroken narration (there is no spoken dialogue) to take the reader through six years of hopelessly indistinguishable trenches, explosions, corpses, mud, and maggots, all of it depicted via three panoramic panels per page rendered in smoky grays and foggy blues with blood accents ( pieces of human flesh settled like red snowflakes ). Multiple encounters with the same German soldier provide a ghost of a story line, but primarily this carries the wandering tone of a shell-shocked young man writing an unfocused letter home, swinging from pure pining to furious condemnation: It was always the same old song to the tune of human bones being tossed into the meat grinder. The pages are strewn with images of dead bodies and midexplosion terrors, but the unforgettable centerpiece is two wordless pages of disfigured postwar faces. Verney's closing illustrated chronology of French involvement in the war provides a firm base to this tale of an Everysoldier who acknowledges from the start, I'd make a perfect fatality. --Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
French artist Tardi revisits World War I, the subject matter of his phenomenal It Was the War of the Trenches. He takes a new approach to his subject matter, and his art has evolved in the 15 years since his earlier masterpiece, but the details of the conflict remain grim. Tardi proceeds chronologically, showing how Europe marched into a pointless, brutal war-a conflict in which millions died to no great purpose, leaving nothing but mud and ruins across great swaths of the continent. Tardi's palate becomes increasingly depleted as his story develops, reflecting the dire circumstances of the hapless conscripted soldiers manning the front lines. As hope and sense drain from the world, so too does color, with the art fading to a grim monochrome. Also included is an illustrated chronology of World War I, provided by historian Verney. Tardi's skills as an artist are rivaled only by his skill as a writer; he vividly conveys the horrors and sheer waste of the Great War. This new translation allows English-speakers to discover Tardi's remarkable work. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
Tardi, a prolific graphic novelist and the winner of two Eisner Awards for his earlier masterpiece about World War I, It Was War in the Trenches, returns 15 years later with a new book on the same subject. A nameless, disillusioned French soldier narrates from his initial mobilization at the war's beginning in 1914 to a year after its end in 1919. Loosely plotted, the story is mostly a collection of anecdotes strung together chronologically, with each chapter corresponding to a year of the conflict. To provide context for these anecdotes, French historian and author Jean-Pierre Verney (La Premiere Guerre Mondiale) writes a history that appears after the title's main story. Tardi's art is relaxed but detailed, as he skillfully uses style and color to mirror the narrator's personal conditions. Verdict The lack of a strong story line and any dialog conveys the soldiers' lives-the constant boredom, mud, decay, and disease, broken up by horrifying injuries and gory deaths. The graphic monotony makes for a potentially slow read but one that is absorbing, moving, and personal. As the narrator describes the soldiers' physical and psychological conditions, readers will wonder whether they would have been able to withstand the same experience. Recommended.-Robert Mixner, Bartholomew Cty. P.L., Columbus, IN (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.