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White Death (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 10. Juni 2002

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EUR 33,92 EUR 11,62
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-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Gebundene Ausgabe.

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For four years, The Great War, World War One, raged across the planet. Millions were sent to their deaths in pointless battles. The Italian Front stretched along the borders of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empires, in treacherous mountain regions. In the last months of 1916, a private in the Italian Bersaglieri returns to his childhood home in the Trentino mountain range to find it no longer a place of adventure and wonder as it was in his youth, but a place of death and despair. Amongst the weapons of both armies, none is more feared than the White Death: thundering avalanches deliberately caused by cannon fire, which, like war itself, consume everything in their path...


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A Unique View of WW1 8. Oktober 2014
Von Talvi - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
White Death ended up being a difficult book for me to review: I was lost about 25% through and never regained the story at the end. So I reread and still have no idea what the story was other than it was soldiers, death, some prostitutes, lots of snow. And that's hard, especially after reading the forewards and how proud the writer/illustrator were of this piece and what it meant to them. It should have all worked so serendipitously: passionate creators, a little-told or known WW1 angle, a true-life story inspiration. But I was left mystified at what I was reading.

Story: A WW1 tale of the Italian Alps and the use of avalanches to defeat enemy troups.

The illustrations were beautiful on their own but somehow failed to coalesce into a story when put together. I had a hard time distinguishing one person from another, enemy vs. protagonist. People were killed and I wasn't sure if they were one of my main characters or not. It ended up being very frustrating when I had no context for the actions taking place. Granted, black and white will also be problematic for differentiation - especially with soldiers who all wear similar uniforms. But that also makes the choice of medium here somewhat questionable.

The other issue that stuck with me is the whole mysticism about avalanches. I suppose if you life in England, avalanches are mysterious and awesome. But for those who live with the condition as part of daily life, it's hardly a religious experience. E.g., I grew up through 5 major earthquakes in Los Angeles - I deal with knowing one will come, people will die, and devastation will occur. But I don't worship them, either.

That said, there are some great moments in the book (if lacking context for me) and I enjoyed the illustration style very much. I saw another reviewer note a twist at the end (which I missed completely, having got lost so easily), which added to my frustration. I appreciate a story of WW1 told from such an undocumented angle (and the little details such as chlorine gas attacks); so was my disappointment by not being able to get into White Death.

Although I am rating this a 3 star, I do feel there is a 5 star book in there for those who can follow the work or are willing to put in multiple viewings. I enjoy history and graphic novels enough that I will likely give this further reads in the future and see if I can make some sense of it.

Reviewed from an ARC.
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Death by avalanche (4.5 stars) 28. Oktober 2014
Von Alt - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
White Death brings attention to one of the most horrific tactics (next to mustard gas) used in World War I: the deliberate creation of avalanches, set in motion by artillery, to bury troops. Used by Italians against Austrians and then by Austrians against Italians, the tactic was effective, if effectiveness is measured by the number of soldiers killed without using a lot of ammunition or manpower.

There are some wonderful scenes here -- soldiers escaping their fears between the sheets with working women, a newly promoted officer expressing moral qualms about burying platoons in snow, the friendships between Italians and Austrians that are tested (or strengthened) by war, the hospital wards filled with soldiers who have lost limbs or lungs. One of the key characters is, by the story's end, guaranteed to inspire hatred. Many of the war scenes have been done before but they are done well and the avalanche angle is new to me.

The art, sketched in white, gray, and black, is suitably moody in its contrast of snow (and the death it portends) with the gray lives of soldiers who know they are doomed. I particularly like the haunted facial expressions of men who know they are facing their last moments alive, or who are watching friends die. The infamous thousand yard stare is rendered beautifully here.

I would give White Death 4 1/2 stars if I could.
Brilliant classic 30. September 2014
Von Charles R. Hensel - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of those rare times when I am a little lost for words about a book. Honestly, I've been sitting here for a while thinking about how I wanted to approach this review. White Death was a wonderfully drawn book, with an intriguing story, but I feel that there was something missing -- something more I needed, but I cannot put my finger on it.

White Death was written by Robbie Morrison after the discovery of two bodies in the Italian Alps that were identified as young Austro-Hungarian soldiers from the First World War. This is one of the few graphic novels that I know of that deal with World War I, and to my knowledge very few books at all cover this theater of the conflict. In 1915-1916, over the course of five grueling battles, approximately 60,000-100,000 soldiers were killed in the Italian Alps by avalanches caused by enemy shells -- The White Death. This is the story of those battles.

Morrison vividly brings to life the despair, heartbreak, and tragedy of war -- using the avalanche itself as a metaphor in the sense that it is a terrifying force that consumes everything in front of it without mercy. The raw storytelling, both in the trenches and in the towns and hospitals behind the lines remind us that war, no matter where or when is indeed hell. There is a brother against brother element that you do not generally associate with World War I, but in retrospect, I see how this is true of any war. Also very poignant is the way in which PTSD, or as it was then called - "Shell Shock" was dealt with. Quite terrifying.

What really stood out to me, however, about White Death was the artwork of Charlie Adlard. I am relatively new to graphic novels so this is my first time seeing Adlard's work, even though I have a huge compendium of The Walking Dead waiting on my bookshelf! As a result I came in unbiased to what he describes in his introduction as nothing less than a landmark book in his career. The artwork was stunning and masterfully done in a way that was able to capture the intensity and horror of war that Morrison put into words. The "charcoal and chalk dust" Adlard mentions in the same introduction to White Death seemed to jump off the pages, even through my e-reader, to make you feel dirty, cold, and sweaty with the troops all at the same time. No other graphic novel has had that effect on me.

My only real criticisms of White Death, and those parts that seemed to have me wanting more were in the fact that I was having difficulty about half way through the book keeping some characters straight in my head, and therefore fully understanding the action and motivations and feelings being expressed. This could be from my own lack of experience with the genre, but I feel that more detail in the story and the art was needed here. Also, there seems to be so much potential to have provided more build up and more continuation of the story. I feel as though we were dropped right into the middle of an epic novel and pulled back out before it was over. This comes from my not knowing anything about this aspect of World War I, and because of White Death wanting to know so much more! In a way then, I suppose it served a purpose.

All in all this was an excellent book, and one that makes it easy to see why it has been listed on a few "essential" graphic novel lists. I highly recommend it to mature young adult and adult readers for the intense story, graphic nature or the art, and the brief nudity and adult themes in a few scenes and panels.
A Powerful War Story. 22. September 2014
Von Travis Starnes - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is the sort of book that is a huge dichotomy to me in that I exactly hate it and admire it in equal measures. I put this in a group with other ‘difficult’ books I have read like Signal to Noise and War Brothers in that they deal with really horrible subjects and do absolutely nothing to shield the readers from it. They are the sort of books that I will probably never forget, but that I hate every minute of reading. I am the sort of person who reads purely for pleasure and entertainment, I want to relax, I do not want to feel tense, horrified and I especially do not want certain images plastered across my brain when I close my eyes later on*.

I really thought I would struggle to write a lot about this book, it does not lend itself to much description about the story, but evidentially I could write about this nearly indefinitely and winding this up is proving decidedly difficult. To finish this much as I started, I hate this deeply and passionately because it is horrible; the point is it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. If I ‘liked’ this then I would check myself in at the nearest mental institution because on many pages there are piles of corpses staring right at the reader; in any sane persons world that is not a nice thing to see as you turn a page. This book is all about the dehumanization of war, the feeling that nothing you do will matter, nothing will be achieved and that in victory, you lost everything you were fighting for. I cannot recommend this because right now I just want to sit quietly in a corner and cuddle a pillow for a few days, but once that passes I think my thoughts will be thusly: This is powerful and important storytelling, an absolute must for anyone interested in war comics and for everyone else it is something you are unlikely to forget, just do not say I didn’t give you fair warning.
Muddled and Hard to Engage With 4. Mai 2015
Von A. Ross - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
The modern conception of World War I is dominated by images of horrific trench warfare, poison gas, and swarms of men being mowed down by machine guns in the fields of France and Belgium. But it's always been the war's other arenas that grabbed hold of my imagination, especially the English and German skirmishes in East Africa (a good novel about the war there is William Boyd's An Ice-Cream War). About a decade ago, I read a highly autobiographical novel (Sardinian Brigade, by Emilio Lusso) set in the lesser-known front of the Italian Alps.This graphic novel covers that same arena, where about a million soldiers died over the course of about three years of fighting.

Much as I was looking forward to this, I found it kind of muddled and hard to engage with. To be sure, there are some haunting panels of faces locked in horror and pain. But the book suffers from a lack of story, lack of context, and frankly, a cast of characters who are very hard to distinguish from one another. Admittedly, one of the themes of the book is how malleable nationality was in northeastern Italy, where territory shifted back and forth between Italy and Austria every few decades. But this is a more fundamental case of artwork and storytelling not communicating well. This becomes literal in one section where the lettering is done in a script in order to represent a letter, and its so tiny and hard to read that I almost stopped reading the whole book at that point. I kept going until the end, mainly because every few pages there was a striking image, but by the end I didn't feel like I read a story or been presented a message beyond a kind of "war is hell" cliche.
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