Thursday, April 3, 2008

Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century

Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century

by Osamu Tezuka (1995)*

A real graphic novel, not just a thick comic book... just started reading, son #1 found the whole series at the library and snagged 'em for me... serious war/race thriller/drama set in Japan and Germany, mostly 1936-45 (the chapter tacked on to the end showing the characters still fighting each other in the Middle East 10 years later was a little contrived...)

It's fictional, the search for and hiding of secret documents showing Hitler was Jewish, and a circle of Japanese and German characters that continuously stretch the limits of "Hey, it's you again, whatta small world!" but very realistic in the historical events surrounding WWII and the treatment of the Jews... the characters are very passionate and sometimes quite torn by twisted loyalties, such as the half German-Japanese boy who falls for a Jewish girl...

Interesting to talk about divided loyalties in a classroom, explore the different messages the students get from parents vs teachers vs coaches vs pop culture vs the playground... who do you listen to? who do you follow? how could you possibly know what is right?

from the introduction to book 5, by Gerard Jones:

(discussing the lies/reasons we have wars): "...Nation -- the deadly sentiment that an arbitrary and invisible political definition has some bearing on human relationships and is worth killing and dying for..."


connections: Anne Frank, Number the Stars, All Quiet on the Western Front, the Middle East, Viet Nam war

*originally serialized/published in Japan 1983-85

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