Cover image for Safe area Goražde
Safe area Goražde
Sacco, Joe.
Personal Author:
First Fantagraphics Books edition.
Publication Information:
Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
ii, 227 pages : chiefly illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
"The war in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95"--Jacket.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DR1313.7.S64 S33 2000 Graphic Novel Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The long awaited follow up to Palestine. Sacco spent four months in Bosnia in 1995-1996, immersing himself in the human side of life during wartime, researching stories that are rarely found in conventional news coverage. Here Sacco focuses on the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, which was beseiged by Bosnian Serbs during the war. The book is strongly compared to the Pulitzer prize winner Maus, and advance praise rate it as one of the most important documents to emerge from the conflict as it portrays day to day life at the heart of these sad events.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Sacco has carved a unique niche for himself in the comics world. He is, essentially, the only exponent of comics as journalism. For this successor to the two-part, American Book Award^-winning Palestine (1994^-95), he spent four months in Bosnia, focusing on the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, where he interviewed survivors of the city's siege by the Serbs. Sacco is somewhat more restrained here than in Palestine. The drawings are more subdued, the layouts are more straightforward, and he spends many caption-heavy pages explicating the conflict. Still, most of the book is devoted to townspeople's accounts of how they endured shelling and starvation, and to portrayals of their efforts at resuming their lives while grappling with the question of how their neighbors could have turned on them so cruelly. Sacco's precise, expressive drawings tell the victims' stories more compellingly than the text does and in more sustained fashion than broadcast journalism does. As keen as is his eye, his ear for eliciting these devastating, heartfelt stories gives the book its undeniable power. Gordon Flagg

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1995, comics artist and journalist Sacco (Palestine) rode in a supply convoy into the U.N.-designated "safe area" of Gorazde, a small Bosnian Muslim town deep within Serb territory and under military siege by Orthodox Christian Serb nationalists. Sacco spent the next four months among the 57,000 residents of this imperiled enclave. His new work of comics reportage brings exceptional historical context to the tragic individual stories produced by the dissolution of Yugoslavia. An extraordinary work of both journalism and comics nonfiction, it attempts to make sense of a conflict that many in the West find too confusing or too gruesome to follow. Sacco strikes up friendships with Gorazdens, interviews dozens of refugees and retells, in their words and his drawings, the horrific events of the three-and-a-half-year war that led to the town's isolation and near destruction. Sacco befriends Edin, a Muslim school teacher who becomes his guide and translator, who tells Sacco his own family's story of war suffering. The book captures both the minor difficulties of life under siege (e.g., the swelling and discoloring of hands from washing clothes in freezing spring water) to ever more harrowing accounts of Serb nationalist atrocities (among them, rousing sleeping villagers and telling them, "You won't need shoes, you're going to be killed"). Sacco's compulsively detailed, realistic drawings provide tremendous emotional information beyond his powerful text; coupled with the personal stories, the book is almost overwhelming. Although Sacco's depictions of Serb-inflicted degradations and atrocities are uncompromising and at times excruciating, the graphics are neither gratuitous nor sensational. Asked why his Serb neighbors would burn down his house, Edin can only reply, "I don't know, I would like to ask them." Some questions may never be answered, but this book is essential reading for anyone still asking. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved