Sunday, September 28, 2014

Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics, edited by Chris Duffy

High school teachers, use this book! I would have loved to use this when I taught history and English.  I went through a stage in my 20s when I read a lot of the World War I poets--Sassoon and Brooke mostly.  But, whoa, this version rocks. So easy to incorporate into the classroom.

In the introduction, Duffy notes that many Americans don't know much about World War I, and I agree.  Trench warfare was horrible and deadly--shell shock was common, and soldiers thought their commanders were idiots for fighting for months to gain 10 feet of ground.

More than ten authors are highlighted here, from all class levels.  Soldier songs are used, too, and some are downright hilarious.  I love how so many artists are used and it's fascinating to study how the artist chose to represent the words. So many styles of drawing, but they are all appropriate. 

Sad, heartbreaking, and a must-read. War sucks. My favorites were "The Coward" by Rudyard Kipling adapted by Stephen R.  Bissette and "The Next War" by Osbert Sitwell adapted by Simon Gane.

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