Not an easy book to read, but although uncomfortable it is one necessary read and experience for someone who has never seen a war. While most anti-war books will speak mostly about the valiance of the winners and the atrocities of the losing side, this book spares no one. The message is clear and simple: war is hell and we must do everything in our power to never allow this to happen.
I first heard about the book while reading Regarding the pain of others – Susan Sontag writes about the major impact this book had at the time and the fact that although it is quite brutal it seemed to have little impact during the time of its publication. Moreover, even the vivid description of what war causes did nothing to change the views of its readership regarding war – the most brutal war of our existence, World war II, was just a few years away.
Having pictures of dead soldiers alongside captions of war propaganda, praising the valiance of soldiers, send chills down your body. The mutilations and horrid deaths do cause soul wrenching feelings for its readers and cause viewing war in another light. Even during the foreword the voice of the author send an outstanding message: men should not seek the glory of war and women and mothers should teach their children that war does not cause anything but pain and suffering. The page that instructs mothers not to buy their children toy soldiers for they cause a false feeling of justice and protection.
Today there is a museum that praises the pioneering of the author and truly sees the genius of the artwork he created – at the time of its publication the author was send to a mental asylum as his views were considered anti patriotic – yet one more example of how we see reason too late.