Popular World War 1 Books
We spoke with Sacco about his approach. When you read obsessively about a subject, at some point you begin to wonder about yourself. Why am I reading another book about the First World War? So one of the reasons I agreed to do this panorama was trying to deal with my historical voyeurism: O. It was almost like a penance for a boyhood interest that had lasted so long. When we first talked about my drawing a panorama of the Western front, the idea seemed static. But immediately I thought of the Bayeux Tapestry [a work probably made in the eleventh century depicting the Norman Conquest], which has a narrative.
Soldiers fighting and dying; the killing of civilians by accident or design — all very not funny. But there is another side to war: the behind-the-scenes confusions, the absurdities of large organisations, the hypocrisies and vanities of nations and individuals, the lies we tell ourselves and others, the organisational chaos, the swallowing up of the singular person in the war machine. To get at these other truths about wartime, a different register is necessary. Wars are hard to look at head-on. They are a group of basically good-hearted folk who find themselves out of their depth to the point of drowning. I hope it makes the right kinds of jokes about the folly and tragedy of war.