War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones

War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones

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by David Axe, Matt Bors
     
 

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Read David Axe's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

The war memoir as graphic novel-an utterly unforgettable and highly original look at war in the 21st century.

Street battles with spears and arrows in sweltering East Timor. Bone- jarring artillery duels in Afghanistan's mountains. Long patrols on the sandy wastes of southern Iraq.

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Overview

Read David Axe's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.

The war memoir as graphic novel-an utterly unforgettable and highly original look at war in the 21st century.

Street battles with spears and arrows in sweltering East Timor. Bone- jarring artillery duels in Afghanistan's mountains. Long patrols on the sandy wastes of southern Iraq. For four years, war was life for David Axe. He was alternately bored out of his mind and completely terrified. It was strangely addictive.

As a correspondent for The Washington Times, C-SPAN and BBC Radio, Axe flew from conflict to conflict, reveling in death, danger, and destruction abroad while, back in D.C., his apartment gathered dust, his plants died, and his relationships withered. War reporting was physically, emotionally, and financially draining-and disillusioning. Loosely based on the web comic of the same name, with extensive new material, War Is Boring takes us to Lebanon and Somalia; to arms bazaars across the United States; to Detroit, as David tries to reconnect with his family-and to Chad, as David attempts to bring attention to the Darfur genocide.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
War journalist Axe has been to some of the most volatile regions of our globe in the past decade, and since 2006 he has used comics to tell the stories he sees there. In his previous War Fix he expressed the drive that inspires him to return to war zone after war zone, in search of the truth about conflicts around the world. Axe founded the Web site War Is Boring, which gives war correspondents and cartoonists a place to report and react to modern-day warfare. At first glance, the combination of hard-hitting war journalism and cartooning is incongruous, but as those who have read Joe Sacco will testify, the graphic novel can be a potent medium in which to show both the fearful tedium and the violence of war. Axe and artist Bors (3 Car Pileup) are well on their way to mastering the balance, using a traditional six-panel grid to give the art a documentary feel. Bors's art has an indie vibe that will pull in readers from other genres, lending sympathy and depth to Axe's troubled protagonist. Like War Fix, this suffers a bit from Axe's ambivalence toward his calling, but his honesty sets it apart from other war narratives. (Aug.)
Kirkus Reviews
This war correspondent's graphic memoir packs a smart-bomb blast, as powerful as the volume is slim and elliptical. A follow-up of sorts to Axe's War Fix (2006, with illustrator Steve Olexa), the book doesn't waste a word, an emotion or an image. The illustrations by editorial cartoonist Bors capture both the terror and the tedium of life in the hot spots of international terrorism. Why does Axe feel compelled to go to war? It isn't for the money, as he scrounges together a living as a freelancer for C-SPAN, BBC Radio and the Washington Times-an assignment that opens doors more readily when confused with the Washington Post, as Axe happily discovers-while a military trade magazine subsidizes his expenses. It isn't even for the adrenaline rush, for the author repeatedly relates that the romance of being a war correspondent (which he "hates being called") is more of a fiction than a reality. The problem is that, having experienced the heightened reality of surprise attacks and corpses in the streets, he finds himself unfit for domesticity in America. "As boring as war can be," he writes, "peace is much worse." Through his narrative and Bors's illustrations, Axe doesn't cut a very glamorous figure, as he drifts among ever more dangerous war zones, even having his credit cards cancelled in Somalia after resisting an order from his publisher to return home from what had been classified a "level-five security risk." Ultimately, the author wonders if "war [is] an aberration or the most basic human function, the thing we resort to when all our comforts crumble?...Had war chosen me or had I chosen it? And what did that say about me?"Axe's ground-level perspective, as a free agent who is there by choice, makes much war journalism look like an aerial view in comparison.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451230119
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

David Axe is a journalist and author based in Washington, D.C. and Columbia, South Carolina whose blog, warisboring.com, gets over a thousand unique hits per day.
Matt Bors is an editorial cartoonist based in Portland, Oregon whose comic strips appear in newspapers across the country. To learn more about Matt or see more of his work, please visit his website.

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War Is Boring: Bored Stiff, Scared to Death in the World's Worst War Zones 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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