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When the Wind Blows
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When the Wind Blows

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  1,600 Ratings  ·  162 Reviews
Raymond Briggs's comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly British couple, in his usual humorous, yet macabre way.
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published 1982 by Schocken Books
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(showing 1-30)
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trishtrash
This is possibly the most disturbing book I've ever picked up. The format alone, jarring with the subject matter, sets ones teeth on edge... there's something wholly discomfiting about the illustrated evolution of the round and homely forms of an late-middle-aged couple as they undergo the effects of radiation poisoning. The isolation and naiveté of Hilda and Jimmy Bloggs, their ability to do exactly the wrong thing despite their best intentions, is as appalling as it is compelling to the reader ...more
Ivonne Rovira
May 30, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: especially for those interested in the 1980s
Recommended to Ivonne by: Manny Rayner, Petra
For those who are too young to remember the 1980s, it was a decade of utterly foolish magical thinking about nuclear annihilation, an era in which governments in both the United States and the United Kingdom pretended that, with enough shovels — and a stiff upper lip — people could survive a nuclear blast. Cartoonist Raymond Briggs published this illustrated black comedy in 1982 at the height of Cold War brinkmanship and civilian terror.

In When the Wind Blows, pensioners James and Hilda Blllogg
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Manny
Jan 21, 2009 Manny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Global thermonuclear war is a surprisingly amusing subject. This graphic novel isn't quite as funny as Doctor Strangelove, but it has some excellent moments.

My favourite bit is near the beginning. Jim is responsibly following the advice in his "Protect and Survive" leaflet (American translation: "Duck and Cover"). He wants to construct a fallout shelter by leaning a door against the wall at a 60 degree angle. So he goes down to the shop to buy a protractor.

He comes back and tells his wife that t
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Tfitoby
Sep 03, 2015 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've seen the movie previously but that doesn't change just how horribly sad and blackly funny Raymond Briggs' adult book about the nuclear warfare situation in the Cold War era is. The juxtaposition of his illustration style as seen in things like The Snowman and Father Christmas (staples of my childhood) with the bleak adult subject matter serves to underline the absurdity of the situation lived through by Mr & Mrs Bloggs.
Carolyn
Aug 30, 2014 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
WOW!

Briggs brings the realities of what the Cold War was and clearly demonstrates the threat that faced most of the modern western world in the early 1980's.

The reader is invited to look inside the private country home of Mr. and Mrs. J. Bloggs,and observe the daily goings on of a naive, stiff upper lipped, British couple as they struggle to make sense of an impending nuclear strike by the Soviet Union ("Ruskies"); these struggles acting as comic relief (military acronyms are another instrument
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Kirsty
Mar 28, 2017 Kirsty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, march-2017
I really enjoyed the differences between husband and wife here, and of course, the illustrations fit the story perfectly. The story itself is not at all what I was expecting, and feels very grown up in comparison to the likes of Father Christmas and the like. Regardless, it is both interesting and surprisingly amusing in places, and packs an awful lot of impact into its pages.
^
Jan 08, 2013 ^ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All citizens & politicians
A graphic and desperately poignant tale; which importantly bears periodic re-reading.

A retired working-class couple, James and his wife Hilda (affectionately referred to as ducks/ dear / dearest) respond to the threat (later proved) of a nuclear bomb strike.

James reads in his broadsheet newspaper and hears on the radio of the ‘deteriorating international situation,’ expressed in a typical political vagueness of speech. Thankfully he has picked up a leaflet in his local public library entitled
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Zaid
Jul 28, 2011 Zaid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Illustrated in a comic book format, which shouldn’t work with this type of story but does do so well. A graphic novel that depicts the horrors of nuclear war; sometimes a difficult, moving and poignant read, it tells the story of Jim and Hilda Bloggs who are a retired and thoroughly English couple (previously seen in Gentleman Jim by Briggs), that face the situation of a nuclear attack on English shores. When Jim hears on the radio the three-day warning he sets about making a homemade shelter, w ...more
Andrew
Oct 17, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Comix - Japana
Shelves: c-comics-alt
A couple of morons prepare for a potential nuclear attack (and fall out). The husband starts building a bomb shelter in the living room while the wife bakes a cake.

I guess I found it more sad than humorous. I found the two characters infuriatingly stupid. Unlike the lead in Gentleman Jim, the male character in this book was depressing. I quite liked Gentleman Jim and will admit the character is very similar. I guess in that book it was about the character getting a job during his retirement, wh
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Sarah M
The Bloggs are the cutest elderly couple I've ever come across in all the books I've read. Their innocence, optimism and sheer love for one another through that ordeal made me want to hug them. If this book doesn't discourage people from initiating war and remind them of their humanity, then I dont know what will.
Sarah Brownlee
Jun 04, 2015 Sarah Brownlee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this. Everyone. A powerful, chilling tale. We are not rulers, leaders, conquerors or kings. We are ordinary people; and as ordinary people we may find it difficult to grasp the motives and concepts of the powers-that-be - and the true reality of nuclear warfare. This is a simplistically brilliant book and I would urge everyone to read it.
Selina James
Mar 02, 2016 Selina James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I never thought such a short comic could make me both laugh out loud and cry in a space of about half an hour as well as (even after a horror fan for so many years) I don't think I've ever read something quite so disturbing. Somehow I still absolutely loved it.
Petra Eggs
Jul 11, 2008 Petra Eggs rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, reviewed
The coming nuclear war as a cartoon. Black humour and advice on how to use duct tape (of course, isn't duct tape used for everything?) and plastic bags to protect yourself.
I don't think its a spoiler to say that it doesn't work!
Palimp
Oct 01, 2016 Palimp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O como contar una historia tierna con el apocalipsis nuclear de fondo. Uno se compadece de esa pareja inocente que intenta seguir su vida sin darse cuenta de que el mundo se ha acabado. Hasta que te das cuenta de que esa pareja somos nosotros.
Neven
Nov 05, 2016 Neven rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best comics I've read. Perfect in every way.
Chris Lipscombe
Dec 17, 2012 Chris Lipscombe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So sad... and so powerful.
Liz
Feb 14, 2017 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, comics
Ένα μικρό αριστούργημα με βαθιά συγκινητικό ανθρωπιστικό και αντιπολεμικό μήνυμα. Εκπληκτική και η ομότιτλη ταινία κινουμένων σχεδίων, με soundtrack που συνέθεσαν, μεταξύ άλλων, οι Roger Waters, David Bowie, Genesis.
Graham
Dec 17, 2015 Graham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, graphic-novel
A very disturbing comic book that explores the effect of a nuclear war on the life of a happily married elderly couple. Much of the story is blackly comic in the story's juxtapositioning of very ordinary, very British life, with the almost incomprehensible destruction that comes as a result of nuclear weaponry.

Despite the book's subject matter being incredibly dark and depressing, this is still a fun read with plenty of laughs. I'm not sure how Briggs has managed to take an extremely unpalatable
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Jason
A Cold War parable that retains its relevance well into the days of the War on Terror; after all, although the USSR went away, the various nuclear arsenals did not. In this slender book, which is not exactly a comic but close enough, a couple of doddering Middle Englanders face an impending nuclear confrontation with the same (misplaced) can-do spirit with which they and their families faced earlier bombing campaigns of the Germans during WWII. Clever, tender, and chilling.
Dominick
Briggs published this when the idea of a graphic novel barely existed, and the same applied to the idea of comics for adults. Not only was he ahead of the curve, he also produced one of the great short graphic novels, in this funny and horrifying tale of the bomb falling and its aftermath. A savage indictment of politics, of course, but also of human complacency and ignorance.
Nellie Airoldi
Oct 14, 2014 Nellie Airoldi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Di una tenerezza a dir poco infinita con quel mix di ansia e angoscia per il futuro che viene a poco a poco annientata da una delle coppie letterarie più innamorate e più affettuose che io possa ricordare.
Zohal
Jul 30, 2012 Zohal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, this was incredibly heartbreaking. It didn't go where I was expecting it to. Predictable yet unpredictable. Horribly vivid yet very humorous with characters that get on your nerves but break your heart all at the same time.

Highly highly highly recommend!!! :) :D
Jonathan
Feb 26, 2013 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone should read this book. Brilliant illustrations and writing. A real classic that reminds us what awful things could have happened, and I guess still could. No excuse for complacency, even if it is just expressing your opinion.
Dana Jerman
Mar 20, 2010 Dana Jerman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Felt like "On The Beach" only with an elderly cast. Very poignant and loving and terrifying!
নুসরাত
Heart touching story I have read after so long. It's about a elderly couple who survived the 2nd world war and experineced another atomic blast. Loved the story, loved the artwork.
David Finton
Nov 04, 2016 David Finton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the surface of things: this is a short little graphic novel. I ordered mine online and got a used copy that had the spine slightly worn. If you ignored the cover of the elderly couple standing proudly in front of a nuclear mushroom cloud, one could almost assume this would be the kind of book you could hand to a elementary school child.

The book itself is quite dark. It's divided into two parts, where the first part is devoted to the couple preparing for the bomb and the second part is devoted
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Adam
Jun 29, 2015 Adam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die"
~Alfred, Lord Tennyson "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

The year is 1982. The tensions of the Cold War are prevalent in Western society. Relations between the United States and the Soviet Union are deteriorating, tensions are increasing, and nuclear war seems more imminent than it has since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Popular culture is taking a hard and unflinching look at the increasing probability of a post-nuclear worl
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ash newton
Sep 26, 2016 ash newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a morbid satire that finds its humor in an elderly couple's well-mannered obliviousness as they prepare for britain's imminent nuclear devastation.
Thehappymeerkat
Jul 06, 2016 Thehappymeerkat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
I never saw When the Wind Blows on tv when it aired so I was keen to read this when I saw it at my local library. Set during the cold war James and Hilda Bloggs hear news of an attack planned on Britain by the Russians. They prepare for the fall out following government guidelines. And then the bomb falls...

This graphic novel is so disturbing and powerful it leaves you feeling sad and chilled to your core. The couple are a well meaning but not too knowledgeable pair and with little information o
...more
Kelly W.
I borrowed this book from a friend who is currently obsessing over nuclear war fiction. It feels disturbingly appropriate nowadays, and the naivety of the couple just underscores how flippant people can be about nuclear war. While the format as a comic/cartoon makes this story appear cute, it’s really very dark with serious implications about war. I’d suggest picking it up if you have the mindset for something dark.

Things I Liked

1. Naivety: The elderly couple in this comic is entirely obsessed
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Raymond Redvers Briggs is an English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He is best known for his story "The Snowman", which is shown every Christmas on British television in cartoon form and on the stage as a musical.

His first three major works, Father Christmas, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featu
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“Dear sir, Mr. B.J. Thing... er... we the people of Britain are fed up with being bombed. We had enough of it last time with old Hitler so will you just leave us in peace, you live your life and we'll live ours, hope you are well... please don't drop any bombs.
Yours sincerely, Mr. and Mrs. J. Bloggs”
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