War's end: profiles from Bosnia, 1995-96
War cartoonist Joe Sacco visits the Bosnian conflict to uncover the stories that are often ignored or uncovered by traditional media.
How does an artist reconcile being forced to go to the front line of a brutal conflict that will change his life and homeland forever? What happens when a reporter finally comes face-to-face with an evil war criminal? Before his groundbreaking graphic novels Safe Area Gorazde and The Fixer, Palestinian author Joe Sacco created two short stories with characters from each side of the crossfire. Collected for the first time in War’s End: Profiles from Bosnia 1995–1996 are the acclaimed Soba and Christmas with Karadzic. In Soba, Sacco captures the internal torment of the romanticized Sarajevo artist-warrior who captivated the Western media with his guitar and hard-partying ways. In Christmas with Karadzic, Sacco gives the reader an inside peek at the darkly humorous news process that doesn’t make the headlines back home as he chases after one of the most hated and sought-after Bosnian Serb leaders and war criminals.
Joe Sacco was born in Malta in 1960. Raised in the United States, he graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon in 1981. For almost twenty years Joe has been a journalist/cartoonist/editor. His books include Palestine, The Fixer, and War's End. How does an artist reconcile being forced to go to the front line of a brutal conflict that will change his life and homeland forever? What happens when a reporter finally comes face to face with a war criminal? Before his groundbreaking graphic novels Safe Area Gorazde and The Fixer, author Joe Sacco created two short comix-form stories about characters from each side of the crossfire. Collected together for the first time in War's End: Profiles from Bosnia 1995-96 are the acclaimed "Soba!" and "Christmas with Karadzic." In the former, Sacco captures the internal torment of a romanticized Sarajevo artist-warrior who captivated the western media with his guitar and hard partying ways. In "Christmas with Karadzic," the author gives us an inside peek at the darkly humorous news process that doesn't make the headlines back home as he chases one of the most sought-after Bosnian Serb war criminals. "['Christmas with Karadzic' is] a searing and amusing look at the motley collection of reporters, war profiteers, criminals, soldiers, and hapless civilians trapped in a war zone."—The New York Times "['Christmas with Karadzic' is] a searing and amusing look at the motley collection of reporters, war profiteers, criminals, soldiers, and hapless civilians trapped in a war zone."—The New York Times
"These two stories by Sacco bookend his definitive works of comics journalism on the Bosnian War, The Fixer and Safe Area Gorazde. Like those books, these stories take readers with Sacco as he searches for some truth in all the conjecture and confronts his own fears and suspicions about the war. In the first story, 'Christmas with Karadzic,' Sacco goes to great, often uproarious lengths to get an interview with the notorious Bosnian war criminal Radovan Karadzic as the leader attends Christmas services. The story climaxes with Sacco observing Karadzic, noting, 'I feel nothing intimidating about his presence, nothing extraordinary about this man indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal . . . a man I have despised with all my heart for years.' Rather than reporting the usual facts about Karadzic, Sacco shows him at his most mundane and, consequently, most revealing. In all of his work, Sacco displays a similar knack for seeing a subject from an entirely unexpected view, as he does with the second story, 'Soba!' The titular character is a regular guy and wanna-be rock star who becomes a war hero to his fellow Sarajevans. His story illuminates the conditions of wartime life and gives readers a lively character to hang onto amid the destruction. This work is painstakingly drawn and reported it is both great cartooning and moving, revealing reportage."—Publishers Weekly
"Two stories of unusual mirth from Europe's heart of darkness. Sacco, who spent a lot of 1995 and 1996 in Bosnia as the war was winding down, turned his experiences into the gripping graphic novel Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia: 1992-1995. This slimmer work takes a pair of stories from the same period that didn't fit into Gorazde's narrative arc; far from seeming like leftovers, they create a perfectly matched diptych, though the images are not always the prettiest. In the first, 'Christmas with Karadzic,' Sacco and a pair of journalist buddies go careening through the slush of a Bosnian winter to the town of Pale, where they have heard that Bosnian Serb president and black-hearted war criminal Karadzic is going to celebrate Christmas mass. It seems a perfect opportunity: Sacco can look into the face of evil, and his friend Kasey (a frenetic freelancer, 'The King of Strings') can get another story and another paycheck. But the actual event is a bit of letdown. Karadzic seems like just another politician, and they have to drive all over to find good audio of locals firing AK-47s into the air in celebration. This tale's jauntiness is perfectly complemented by the mournful madness of 'Soba!' Paying tribute to the eponymous Bosnian soldier/painter who became a media darling with his blend of haunted vet's dolorousness and punk rock aggression, Sacco is as usual the fellow quietly listening in the midst of the maelstrom. He hangs in clubs until dawn with Sarajevans angrily celebrating the end of the conflict but not sure what they're to do in the shattered aftermath. This is not a book about war, but rather about how people live with themselves in what passes for the peace that follows. Worthy of a place on the shelf next to Safe Area Gorazde, The Fixer and Palestine. In just a few years, Sacco has created a body of work that includes some of the most important and relevant graphic novels of our time."—Kirkus Reviews
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Review: War's End: Profiles from Bosnia, 1995-1996User Review - Jim - Goodreads
After reading the Fixer and Other Stories this book seemed incredibly repetitive. Read full review
Review: War's End: Profiles from Bosnia, 1995-1996User Review - Annika - Goodreads
As a big fan of Sacco's, and especially of his works on Bosnia, I wasn't expecting anything less. Read full review