Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Joe Sacco's 24-Foot Panorama of the First Day on the Somme

Detail: Behind Albert — Artillery Firing and Troops Moving to the Front

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I overlooked this one in 2013:

Occasionally, I get messages from our readers recommending this work for a review in Roads to the Great War. Frankly, I had not been impressed (for reasons I won't go into) with Sacco's earlier work. However, at one of the gift shops on the Western Front I visited earlier this year, I saw a fully opened up copy of The Great War. . . and I was quite impressed. It does a fine job of capturing the scope and spectacular nature of war and brings to mind General Patton's quote, "Compared to war, all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance." Sacco doesn't spare anything on the tragedy of the battle, either. However, there are lots of work that accurately depict the Somme in those terms. What is special here is the depiction of the breadth and complexity of a huge battle, in the manner of that often criticized film about D-Day, The Longest Day. Highly recommended for your library.

Detail: Over the Top


  1. I've seen the book and it's fascinating.

  2. It's really extraordinary.
    My son and I opened wide the library copy on a table and spent some time with it.