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The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History…

The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the…

by Wayne Vansant

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As far as graphic novels go, Wayne Vansant's The Battle of the Bulge epitomizes medium's usefulness in presenting hefty and complex information. Lauded by World War 2 historians for its accuracy, Vansant's book presents the events of one of the Allied defense of one of Nazi Germany's final desperate heaves at victory.

Using primarily illustrations and text, the story follows the events of the U.S. Army's largest ever battle. Doing so chronologically through sequential and thematic chapters, the book focuses on the grand scheme and the details that made that scheme, rather than on an individual soldier's or a unit's narrative. This approach lends itself to the massive scope of the operation, but does remove much of war's human element. For this mammoth battle, though, that trade-off lends itself to portraying the scope and magnitude of the Battle of the Bulge.

For those without a ton a background knowledge or exposure to military technology and tactics, the book contains a wealth of access features, such as battle maps, diagrams of vehicles, and charts about specific participant units.

I do wish the book would include a bibliography or source list. It does not. However, the back of the book does include a "Further Reading" page that suggests extension texts to readers.

Another criticism I have is the tone. The tone is dry, with speckled attempts a humor. Those attempts largely fall short of anything resembling wit. I suppose that is what a reader should expect from an author who spent years writing for Marvel.

Overall, the book is informative and useful, but the information could be presented more effectively through a more impactful writing style. ( )
  Igraham1 | Mar 29, 2017 |
In a couple of books I've read recently, The Battle of the Bulge was referenced and I found myself having to keep looking it up because I couldn't remember its significance in World War II. I decided that it would probably be good if I read a book on the battle as that would help me remember its role in the war. When I found that there was a graphic novel history of the battle, I thought that would be perfect.

However, once I started actually reading this book, I was a little disappointed because it's more of a military history than a people history. It's pretty dry and full of dates, officer's names, and strategies. There's very few personal stories in here, which is what really drives home the point for me in histories.

The format was also a let down. While, yes, it is illustrated, the illustrations do little. Showing a bunch of uniformed men page after page with little dialogue and just more dates and place names doesn't really do much in making the text more exciting. The maps were helpful but otherwise I found myself almost skipping over the illustrations as they added very little.

If you really like military history, then this is a good book for you. If you prefer to read about how wars and battles affect individual persons, then you should look for something different. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Aug 5, 2016 |
Currently, not a favorite format for me, but an interesting concept for a guy who grew up reading comic books. In particular, it recalls the Classic Comics Series which started a in 1941 and produced the graphic version of many literary favorites.
Having just finished Beevor's excellent study, Ardennes 1944, it provided another aspect for viewing this critical battle.
Wacht am Rhein was chosen as an operational name to disguise the many troop movements as defensive maneuvers. Allied senior generals chose to believe their own rhetoric and got caught with their intelligence trousers down below their knees. As Yogi would say, Pearl Harbor all over again. Eisenhower recovered but Bradley spent his time, dallying with staff and a glamorous correspondent in Luxembourg while Montgomery saw it as another opportunity to put himself forward as the sole allied land commander.
Fortunately, the terrain, road limitations and isolated but vigorous response at the squad and tactical level redirected and slowed the attack until reinforcements arrived and the Germans literally ran out of gas ( )
  jamespurcell | Feb 8, 2016 |
DNF - I read about half of it but just couldn't get into it and found my mind wandering. I'm more into personal stories than details of battles, operations and military movements. I won't say this couldn't be very good for the right person. I have another in the series by the same author on The Red Baron which I'm hoping will be more to my liking. ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Apr 4, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0760346224, Paperback)

Fought in the winter of 1944-1945, the coldest season in over 100 years, the Battle of the Bulge still ranks as the single largest battle ever fought by the United States Army. Thirty-one American divisions - fully one-third of the U.S. Army raised during World War II - saw action in this battle. This battle was truly a test: could this conscript army from a pacifistic democracy defeat the best remaining men and machines that Germany's totalitarian government could produce? In Battle of the Bulge, author and artist Wayne Vansant brings readers into the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during that freezing cold winter. With meticulous historical accuracy and hand-drawn visuals that can tell a story in ways words alone cannot, Vansant recounts the Bulge with insightful detail, replaying the thrusts and volleys of both the combined Allied and German forces during the tumultuous battle. This is a story of panic, fear, and physical misery; a story of how a generation of draftees, National Guardsmen, and a small core of regular officers and NCOs faced those three elements as snow piled around their foxholes and the incessant drumming of artillery splintered the woods that gave them shelter. It is the story of men, frozen and hurting, far from home and holding little hope of seeing it again until the killing finally ended. Above all, The Battle of the Bulge is a story of incredible triumph, now beautifully illustrated in graphic novel format for the first time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:04 -0400)

In "Battle of the Bulge," author and graphic artist Wayne Vansant brings readers into the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during the freezing cold winter of 1944-1945.

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