By Joe Sacco & Adam Hochschild
W.W. Norton Company, $35.00, 54 pages
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme by Joe Sacco is an illustrated panorama. That is to say that it is a 24-foot long drawing, folded accordion style, of the first 24 hours of one of the most devastating days during the war. The drawing comes with a short essay by Adam Hochschild that explains the history and an annotated version of Sacco’s work, explaining various details of the drawing.
While all the reading that there is to be had in this “book” takes about fifteen minutes, the drawing itself could take hours to discover all of its details. Even then something new could be found every time the drawing is unfolded. This would make the perfect gift for any artist or history buff. Sacco has a talent for capturing the unimaginable scope of the Battle of the Somme. From the preparations of the British, to the foot soldiers in the trenches, from the miles of barbwire, to the rations of rum he captures everything there is to capture. It is executed with sensitivity, gravity, and a keen understanding of the devastation of war. It is an incredible work of art.
Reviewed by Nicole McGillagreen