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When The Wind Blows
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When The Wind Blows

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  1,053 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Raymond Briggs's comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly couple, in his usual humorous, yet macabre way.
Paperback, 40 pages
Published 1983 by Penguin (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

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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
If you're like me, guys, sometimes you're like, "Curse you sun! Curse you daisies! Curse you smiling faces! I need something that's going to make me feel like curling up in a ball of woe, drowning in my own tears! I demand BITTER IRONIC SORROW!"

This is a total lie, of course. If I never had to read a sad book again, it would be too soon.

But for people who are like this, I recommend When the Wind Blows.

Jim and Hilda, an adorably batty British couple, learn (from their public library!) that nucle

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
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
I enjoyed the black humor approach in this short read in how Briggs facetiously illustrated how a total and naive reliance on the government to protect us in times of nuclear warfare would only prove to be foolhardy. Though the material is presented in a light and almost playful manner, its hard to read this book without being affected by the disturbing themes that lie subtly beneath the text. Apparently this book was so popular when it was released that it was even included in England when the ...more
Dec 08, 2014 ^ rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
Dec 02, 2014 Andrew rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrew by: Comix - Japana
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
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.
Nellie Airoldi
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.
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.
Graham Brunk
Raymond Briggs really does humanize an inhuman concept with this short graphic novel. The topic of nuclear warfare is no easy task to write about, but Briggs uses the story to describe (and subtly criticize) the inane pamphlets the British government had been handing out in the late 70s and early 80s about how to protect yourself in the vent of nuclear warfare. Who could not like an older couple living in the british countryside enjoying retirement? The story presents a couple just like that tha ...more
An interesting, unique little comix. In general, I like these concept comix - I loved the children's book-style illustrations, with the gentle watercolors and adorable blob-faced people. (The quiet art was reminiscent of Shaun Tan's wonderful The Arrival.) I loved the fussy, musty, English dialogue, and how this Englishness was meta-commented on by the moments of nostalgic, Churchillian, WW2 bombast.

And, of course, I liked how this was all woven with the obvious, underlying collapse of society:
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.
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
Petra X smokin' hot
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!
Lee Battersby
Beautifully sad and whimsical fable about the effects of a nuclear conflict upon a retired pair of typical Little Englanders. Filled with gentle humour and deft characterisation, it's a wonderful parable of the dangers of trust in authority and the imminent threat of worldwide conflict. The message is from another time, now, and some of the jokes float more towards the nostalgic then the classic, but the sadness and tragedy at the heart of this bittersweet tale are still strong enough to make it ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: I was posting a review on another site when this book was recommended for me. I'd never heard of it before but since I love apocalyptic books and Brigg's Snowman is a treasured favourite I knew I had to read it..

The only reason this book doesn't get a full five star rating from me is that it does show it's age and is a product of its times. This is a sad, despairing, dark book lightened with black humour. It packs quite the punch and at the time it was written during the Cold
I first became aware of this as a movie when it came out in the 80s as Bowie wrote a song for the soundtrack. As much as I loved post-apocalyptic worlds then, and as terrified as I was about nuclear war I didn't see it. But I found a copy of the graphic novel at the Oxfam and thought I'd give it a try. First off as a graphic novel it was SUPER ugly! The guy was a very good artist but he had NO idea how to lay out boxes or divide up the text. The last 10 pages or so were tiny little boxes of the ...more
Aug 09, 2008 Caleb rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Just about anyone (particularly comics fans)
Shelves: graphic-novels
I've been on a Raymond Briggs kick ever since reading a new edition of Gentleman Jim, and have been tracking down as much of his stuff as I can find in local libraries. This 1982 book is about nuclear war, but it's set entirely within the elderly Bloggs couple's home in the English countryside. The Bloggs are simple, gentle, naive people; the retired Jim is somewhat interested in current events and world politics, but only vaguely understands them. His wife isn't at all interested. They're still ...more
Matti Karjalainen
Raymond Briggs lienee tunnetuin jouluisesta "Lumiukko" -animaatiostaan, mutta englantilaisen lastenkirjailijan tuotannosta löytyy myös vakavampaa materiaalia. Sarjakuvaromaani "Minne tuuli kuljettaa" (Otava, 1982) on alanimekkeensä mukaisesti "kirja aikuisille ydinsodasta". Se kertoo Englannin maaseudulla elävästä sympaattisesta eläkeläispariskunnasta, joka hallitukseen ja viranomaisten riittämättömiin turvaohjeisiin naiivisti luottaen kuvittelee selviävänsä ydinsodasta parista ovesta ja muutama ...more
Sean O'Hara
I first encountered When the Wind Blows when my high school social studies teacher showed the film version to class. It's a great nuclear apocalypse movie, far more effective than melodramas like On the Beach or The Day After. (Has a great score, too, with music by Roger Waters, David Bowie, Paul Hardcastle and Genesis.) Sadly it's never been released on home video in the US. The original comic it's based upon, however, is.

The story concerns an elderly British couple, the Bloggses, the sort of s
Dani Peloquin
I was so impressed with Raymond Briggs' Ethel & Ernest from last month that I decided to read his other graphic novel When the Wind Blows which is also in the 500 Essential Graphic Novels. Unlike his other graphic novel, When the Wind Blows is not as uplifting or heartfelt. Instead, Briggs tells the story of a happily married couple and how they are effected by nuclear war. The couple survived the Blitz in London during WWII and therefore have very interesting reactions to the Cold War. Whil ...more
Richard Kirby
This graphic novel follows the actions of Jim and Hilda Briggs, a perfectly ordinary couple going about their perfectly ordinary lives. The story is set during the Cold War with the then USSR, at a time when nuclear war was thought to be a real possibility. During atime of heightened tension between East and West, the initial part of the story covers Jim's preparations for a nuclear attack, as set out in the public information leaflets of the time. The pair reminisce about their experiences in t ...more
The creator of The Snowman brings us this short graphic novel account of a retired British couple preparing for the apocalypse. Jim has picked up a brochure from the public library on how best to build and stock a shelter, and immediately sets about doing so. His wife is either long-suffering or equally dim; I'm pretty sure it's the latter. Anyway, Jim paints over the windows and builds a makeshift shelter using the doors, as per the library brochure, and together he and his wife stock food in t ...more
Kristen Northrup
Inspired by a few recent raves over on LibraryThing, I ordered this from the library. Had never heard of it.

The Day After gave me nightmares in junior high and the Berlin Wall came down during college, so this story was a chilly blast from the past. It's an equally vivid portrait of the British character of a certain era.

Although surprisingly short (40 pages), the story is quite dense with many small panels and takes longer to read than expected, although still just one sitting.

Suspense is built
I am not saying that this is a bad book, with my one star. I am saying that this book *broke* me, that it gave me screaming nightmares and panic attacks (and I was not a child when I read it), and that I walked around in a daze for weeks after reading it, waiting for the sky to fall and death to come slowly and inexorably. Which is, I suppose, what it was meant to do--and it did it very well indeed.
Miki Saiki
The story is successfully showing the reality and real human being in this society.

I read this book in a university course, and I was really surprised to see so many students didn't know much about nuclear and radiation. But they described the chatacters as hopeless.
My opinion about the story is that characters are actually refelcting the audience ironically.
We, as a audience, know how stupidly the characters are acting (like they are building up obviously useless shelters and eating radioactiv
Steve Mitchell
This is quite a scary book illustrating that if there ever was a nuclear war, we would all go together, and those vaporised at the start would be the lucky ones. I remember that government leaflet Protect and Survive where we were supposed to live through the nuclear attack by painting the windows white and hiding under the cushions. Jim and Hilda put their faith in such documents and we get to read about them slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning. This book used to be in the children’s secti ...more
I picked this up as im going through a graphic novel phase. Not knowing anything about this book other than The Snowman was also written by Raymond Briggs.

A short picture book based on the 80's threat of a nuclear bomb falling (but one here does)over Britain. The Thatcher era.

The two main protagonist Jim and Hilda are both quite igronant about the oncoming war but Hilda more so than Jim. This adds a charm to the book.
Written in simple language where the characters often use the incorrect words i
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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
More about Raymond Briggs...
The Snowman Father Christmas Fungus the Bogeyman Ethel and Ernest Gentleman Jim

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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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