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THE GREAT WAR July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme
AN ILLUSTRATED PANORAMA WITH AN ESSAY BY ADAM HOCHSCHILD
‘Sacco’s work [is] the best argument around for comics as a journalistic medium.’ – GQ
Launched on July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme has come to epitomize the madness of the First World War. Almost 20,000 British soldiers were killed and another 40,000 were wounded that first day, and there were more than one million casualties by the time the offensive halted a few months later. In The Great War, acclaimed cartoonist Joe Sacco depicts the events of that day in an extraordinary, 24-foot-long wordless panorama: from the riding exercises of General Douglas Haig to the massive artillery positions and marshalling areas behind the trench lines, to the legions of British soldiers going ‘over the top’ and being cut down in No-Man’s-Land, to the tens of thousands of wounded soldiers retreating and the dead being buried en masse. Printed on fine accordion-fold paper and packaged in a deluxe hardcover slipcase with a 16-page accompanying booklet, The Great War is a landmark work in Sacco’s illustrious career, and makes visceral one of the bloodiest days in history.
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Insanely beautiful… This is yet another total masterpiece from one of the most important comic artists of all time. - Dazed and Confused
Stunning. - Financial Times
The art is such that you will pore over the book, cross referencing with the annotations, almost hearing the tick tick tick of the seconds that separated each wave of men from their terrible deaths. It's a powerful 'read' (despite being entirely wordless), and interesting both as a work in its own right but also as a placeholder within Sacco's career. - Bookmunch
The First World War is often described as a literary war, but it was also the first great photographic war. This book is an extraordinary collection of photographs from the archives of the Imperial War Museums. Depicted are the machines of destruction, the battlefields, the trenches, the beaches but above all the soldiers. Nothing reveals the face of war quite so vividly as the faces of the warriors. - The Times
Unfolds in breathtaking detail… Haunting and beautifully rendered. - Sunday Times
One of the finest pictographic achievements in recent years… A vivid portrait of courage and honour which will astound you. - Haverhill Echo
[Sacco’s] ability to cram in detail is extraordinary. And it is the details that linger. - The Economist
When stretched to its 24ft length in the Saga Magazine office, we pored over it for ages. We predict you will want to do the same. - Saga Magazine
The detail in this work is phenomenal, capturing the aloof generals, death in the trenches, and the wounded... [Sacco] makes visceral one of the bloodiest days in history. - Socialist Review