Hello again, here we are for day six of the “31 days…” challenge, this being the non-fiction recommendation I’d give to people who don’t do non-fiction, in other words, people like me. When I looked at the master list over on Comic Book Resources, I was actually really tempted to skip this and just do a 30 day challenge instead, but I think part of this has been widening my own tastes and knowledge too. I’ve done a fair bit of research for this one, reading a few books along the way to try and figure out which I think is best illustrated, most informative and and the same time still entertaining enough that I don’t get bored. One that I read the other day was “Pride of Baghdad” which looks at a group of lions freed from Baghdad zoo while the bombings were happening. It was an interesting idea, also based on a real situation, but the problem here for me was that the lions talked. It gave it a bit too much of a Disney feel, it made everything seem so fantastical and almost too daft to have actually happened. So I moved on from that and ended up looking at another book, one that won me over almost immediately largely due to the very limited knowledge I already had of the subject matter. So here we are, get ready for some knowledge dropping!
Non-fiction comic you’d recommend to people who don’t do non-fiction
The Vietnam War: A Graphic History
Written by Dwight Jon Zimmerman and Illustrated by Wayne Vansant
Having gone and done some fact checking before I started writing this up, I noticed that Zimmerman is a fairly well known American Military historian, so this is right up his street. What he does really well here though is the dialogue throughout the book. It’s a sharp, well written and well drawn piece. The art throughout is entirely in black and white, which is not something that turns me away, in fact when used well I think black and white art is a more better artistic choice than full colour.
The Vietnam War is always something I have been minorly aware of, I knew it happened (who doesn’t though?) but I never really knew why things kicked off, and the kind of impact it had on the American people. This book fills those knowledge gaps very nicely, it covers the instigation of the war, the reaction of multiple generations of Americans and why things went wrong.
It’s worth noting that this book only really covers the American side of the war, so there is no perspective on why Vietnam didn’t surrender when the Americans expected they would, you also don’t really see the impact any of it had on the Vietnamese public, but the whole point of the suggestion is that it’s something to recommend to new comers to non-fiction. I think the fact that it doesn’t cover all the ground, especially the Vietnamese side is actually a good thing in this case. It means it’s not a tome of over 1,000 pages, which would be pretty daunting. There’s no way in hell I’d give it half a chance as the first non-fiction book I ever read.
Even though this has a very American perspective, one thing Zimmerman does incredibly well is write from a very objective point of view. He makes sure you come away knowing that there was an unrest amongst the American populace, one they’d not seen to this sort of extent since the civil war. He also makes the serious mistakes made by the American authority very clear, and explains why it was that the Americans came away from it with such a sense of defeat.
I’m not going to go off too much about this one today, because I’d actually really like everyone to go and find a copy of this and give it a read. Not only that, I will probably have another post going up later on today so I need to start preparing for that. I could also do with some lunch.
But I digress, go buy/borrow/rent this book. Get it out the library if they have it, I found it to be an incredibly enlightening read.
Once again, thank you all for stopping by and you will see more from me soon!