A separate booklet, included in the box set, includes a brief essay on the war by Adam Hochschild, an author's note, and annotations to the artwork. Sacco writes:
|I took this photo from the|
library's mezzanine to get
the entire book spread out.
"Making this illustration wordless made it impossible to provide context or add explanations. I had no means of indicting the high command or lauding the sacrifice of the soldiers. It was a relief not to do these things. All I could do was show what happened between the general and the grave, and hope that even after a hundred years the bad taste has not been washed from our mouths."The illustration is 24 feet long. It's meticulous and beautiful and heartbreaking. Every time I look through this work, I notice new tiny details. A passing soldier saying something to a couple standing in front of their village home. Food for the soldiers, being prepared and served in the field. A dog, barking at the influx of strangers. Someone peeing against a bombed-out building.
|An entire page showing the accordion folds, plus detail (above).|
Readalike graphic novels covering war from a soldier's viewpoint: Alan's War (Emmanuel Guibert); and Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths (Shigeru Mizuki). Another haunting accordion-style book is Correspondences (Anne Michaels & Bernice Eisenstein).