Footnotes in Gaza

Overview

"Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip, is a squalid place. Raw concrete buildings front trash-strewn alleys. The narrow streets are crowded with young children and unemployed men. On the border with Egypt, swaths of Rafah have been bulldozed to rubble. Rafah is today and has always been a notorious flashpoint in the bitterest of conflicts." Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinians dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah -

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Overview

"Rafah, a town at the bottommost tip of the Gaza Strip, is a squalid place. Raw concrete buildings front trash-strewn alleys. The narrow streets are crowded with young children and unemployed men. On the border with Egypt, swaths of Rafah have been bulldozed to rubble. Rafah is today and has always been a notorious flashpoint in the bitterest of conflicts." Buried deep in the archives is one bloody incident, in 1956, that left 111 Palestinians dead, shot by Israeli soldiers. Seemingly a footnote to a long history of killing, that day in Rafah - cold-blooded massacre or dreadful mistake - reveals the competing truths that have come to define an intractable war. In a quest to get to the heart of what happened, Joe Sacco immerses himself in the daily life of Rafah and the neighboring town of Khan Younis, uncovering Gaza past and present. Spanning fifty years, moving fluidly between one war and the next, alive with the voices of fugitives and schoolchildren, widows and sheikhs, Footnotes in Gaza captures the essence of a tragedy.

Winner of the 2010 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist - Nonfiction

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Having already established his reputation as the world's leading comics journalist, Sacco (Safe Area Gorazde) is now making a serious case to be considered one of the world's top journalists, period. His newest undertaking is a bracing quest to uncover the truth about what happened in two Gaza Strip towns in 1956, when aftershocks from the Sinai campaign may have resulted in the massacre of hundreds of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military. Sacco first came across the stories during research in 2001 and was shocked to discover that, but for one brief mention, the incidents had never been fully investigated. The resulting book is a blow-by-blow retelling of how Sacco, on the eve of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, embedded himself in Gaza and set about interviewing every witness he could find who had been in the towns of Khan Younis and Rafah on those fateful days. Sacco's art is alternately epic and intimate, but he exceeds himself in the scope of his ambition (particularly in one sequence that shows in vivid terms how desert refugee camps from 1948 turned into the teeming slums of today). But it's his exacting and harrowing interviews that make this book an invaluable and wrenching piece of journalism. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805073478
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Pages: 418
  • Product dimensions: 10.68 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Joe Sacco, one of the world's foremost cartoonists, is the author of, among other books, Palestine, which received the American Book Award, and Safe Area GoraĹžde, which won the Eisner Award and was named Time magazine's best comic book of 2000. His books have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, and Harper's. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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