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?


33 thoughts on “Review: It was the War of the Trenches – Jacques Tardi

  1. Carole Rae says:

    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. Blodeuedd says:

    CaroleIt 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.LindaFor once my library did well int eh graphic novel sectionChrisIt was

  3. Kristi The Book Faery says:

    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!

  4. Anachronist says:

    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!

  5. Jenny says:

    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!

  6. Blodeuedd says:

    KristiI 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 discussAnaTry it! It's hard, but that's life :)And yes, war is idioticJennyThe illustrastions here was more gruesome, so I can't say I liked them. Or the jumpiness. But he got me with the war bit

  7. Karen says:

    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.

  8. Blodeuedd says:

    CarrieIt both was and wasn'tStaciIt was not overly icky in the end, so you would be okStephI do not know why, perhaps it as the last true war. The war that was just so stupid, everyone was only canonfodderKarenHe does make it work wonderfully, so yes do recommened it

  9. Blodeuedd says:

    MelissaI think I said I would read one book 😉 Well done! Shall try to find more though.BermudaHe makes it work in his own wayYvonneI have been intersted in WWI ever since this class I tookCaroleCool :)JennyI have seen movies more gross though

  10. Anna says:

    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.

  11. Anna and Serena says:

    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.

  12. Blodeuedd says:

    NaidaThat's warAurianI am not a big fan either, but I liek the poems, and if books are written like that then I am there.AnnaIt 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 bookAaSGood 🙂

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