Palestine by Joe Sacco, Edward W. Said

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Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. An extraordinary piece of current affairs reportage told in graphic novel form and recounting the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza strip.


Palestine by Joe Sacco, Edward W. Said

In late l991 and early 1992, at the time of the first Intifada, Joe Sacco spent two months with the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, travelling and taking notes. Upon returning to the United States he started writing and drawing Palestine, which combines the techniques of eyewitness reportage with the medium of comic-book storytelling to explore this complex, emotionally weighty situation. He captures the heart of the Palestinian experience in image after unforgettable image, with great insight and remarkable humour.

The nine-issue comics series won a l996 American Book Award. It is now published for the first time in one volume, befitting its status as one of the great classics of graphic non-fiction.


A political and aesthetic work of extraordinary originality, quite unlike any other in the long, often turgid and hopelessly twisted debates that have occupied Palestinians, Israelis, and their respective supporters... With the exception of one or two novelists and poets, no one has ever rendered this terrible state of affairs better than Joe Sacco -- Edward Said

The bar is set extremely high when it comes to graphic books and the Middle East: one thinks of Joe Sacco's Palestine Observer Palestine is a unique take on the Isreali/Palestinian conflict... The illustrator/reporter provides a unique perspective: there is an intimacy to Sacco's interviews that cannot be translated into photography and text. His drawings make his subjects relatable to in a way that I think is difficult to achieve with a photograph. Bleeding Cool

Palestine is utterly compelling, and as affecting as the work of any war photographer or poet. -- Annie Forbes Varsity

This collection of Joe Sacco's nine-issue comic series, based on his personal investigation of the plight of the Palestinians, is chilling in its power. In 1991 and 1992, when Sacco visited the West Bank and the Gaza strip to research his material, he came armed with the cynical professionalism typical of modern reportage. But what he found there moved him to take sides, and produce work comparable in power to Art Spiegelmann's seminal graphic novel Maus. The magic of the comic illustrator's medium lies in the immediacy of the framed pictorial narrative. In the hands of artists like Sacco, the words and pictures combine to project ideas with an apparent honesty unlike any other medium, and his black-and-white sketches invest the human tragedy with a depth of emotion that even the best photojournalism cannot achieve. The series has been collected and published for the first time as a single volume. It has already won a 1996 American Book Award so its pedigree is eminently vouched for. In the current state of international affairs, when it seems the eyes of the world are focused on the issues raised by the Middle East and the manipulations of the great political powers, you will not find a better depiction of life in the occupied territories. (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Joe Sacco, one of the world's foremost cartoonists, is widely hailed as the creator of war-reportage comics. He is the author of Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde, The Fixer, Notes from a Defeatist and Footnotes in Gaza, all published by Jonathan Cape.

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Joe Sacco, Edward W. Said
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Publication date

30th November 1999




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