Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

Beirut…in comic form

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David Axe photographs Sodeco's iconic war-torn Barakat building (soon to be Beit Beirut) in his new graphic novel War is Boring. Illustration by Matt Bors.

I’m usually not one for comic books (or graphic novels as I’m told some are called) but War is Boring by freelancer David Axe (who runs a blog of the same name) caught my attention.  I got a copy a while back and got too busy to review it, but though I’d just say a few words here.

The book is based off of Axe’s experiences as a young, sometimes poverty-stricken journalist seeking adventure and adrenaline in some of the world’s hottest war zones.  As a correspondent (or as he has described himself “war tourist”) for The Washington Times, C-Span, BBC Radio and others, Axe traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Chad and East Timor (to name a few) to cover conflict.  Upon returning back to the States, he would fall into depression, with his only thoughts revolving around getting back into the thick of things.

Axe dedicates a whole chapter to Lebanon, which he visited after the 2006 war.  It’s not as action-packed as his descriptions of say Iraq or Chad, but it is interesting to see Beirut in comic form.

The book struck me as its form really adds a new twist to the usual “war correspondent” memoir.   The visuals, drawn by artist Matt Bors, are based on Axe’s recollections of events and pictures he supplied and offer an interesting way to view subjects that have, over the course of the years, been covered quite a bit.

It’s an interesting read and was a nice break from the usual stuff on my bookshelf.

I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes I pulled from the book — here is Axe debating his chosen field:

In choosing war, was I courageously embracing some important, painful truth?  Or was I willfully ignoring the real truth?  That most people live in peace, comfortably, happily and have no need for a place like East Timor.

Axe on being back in the US, away from the front lines:

Every beer I tasted stale, every conversation was a lie.  I still found war tedious, I still found peace worse.  I didn’t feel much anymore.  What pleasure I used to take in everyday things was replaced with a constant low-grade anger…mostly anger at myself for thinking that going off to war would make me smarter, sexier and happier.


Written by woodenbeirut

October 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Posted in Beirut, Books

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