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Two Generals

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  551 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
A beautifully illustrated and poignant graphic memoir that tells the story of World War II from an Everyman's perspective.
In March of 1943, Scott Chantler's grandfather, Law Chantler, shipped out across the Atlantic for active service with the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, along with his best friend, Jack, a fellow officer. Not long afterward, they would find themsel
Hardcover, 152 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by McClelland & Stewart (first published October 12th 2010)
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I am feeling quartered over Two Generals. In one quarter, I dig Scott Chantler's art with reservations; in another, I am impressed by his portrayal of the Nazis, when he happens to portray them at all; in another, I am simultaneously disappointed with his propaganda of Canadian excellence and pleased that he shows Juno beach, the least talked about beach in the Normandy invasion; in another, I am disappointed that the two parts of the Two Generals are all there is.

His art: Chantler's illustrati
Nov 04, 2012 Erin rated it did not like it
A poor showing by Scott Chantler, who is by all accounts (if awards are to be thought of as accounts) something of an accomplished graphic novelist. This graphic novel, Two Generals, reminds me of stereotypes of Can lit as suffering from such an inferiority complex that it feels the need to do everything in a painfully dull and sincere way so as to assure readers that it can in fact be taken quite seriously because it follows as the Rules and Decorum of Serious Fiction. As a result there are pan ...more
Jul 17, 2011 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Very few comics have made me cry. This is one of them. The last handful of pages are masterful, as Scott Chantler reframes a scene we've visited several times before in the book, giving it new resonance and tying the whole narrative together in a way that packs real power. It's a brilliant example of thoughtful storytelling, emotional without being manipulative. But then, there isn't a pen stroke in this comic that isn't perfectly planned. Two Generals should be given to all prospective cartooni ...more
Andrew Brozyna
Nov 27, 2012 Andrew Brozyna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii, comics
Shelves of WWII books dominate the history section of bookstores. Yet the vastness of that conflict is reduced to just a few narrow subjects. The same paratroopers, tank commanders, and fighter aces tend to receive the greatest attention. Two Generals, a graphic novel about an officer in the Highland Light Infantry of Canada, is a refreshing contribution to WWII history. Scott Chantler's visual approach presents his grandfather's experience in a way more meaningful than simple text might allow.
La petite Marianna
-It's really a shame that this book doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves. I haven't heard or read anywhere about it - I came upon 'Two Generals' simply by chance, even though I continuously search for new comic/graphic novel titles and I have a strong interest in WW2.
-Anyhow, 'Two Generals' reads a lot like a classic ww2 drama film- so, if you like stories such as HBO series 'Band of Brothers', 'The thin red line', 'Saving Private Ryan' e.t.c most likely you might as well enjoy 'Two Gen
Sue Smith
Aug 10, 2012 Sue Smith rated it it was amazing
Beautifully handled and emotionally charged, this is a graphic novel that should make it's way into school lessons. World War II stories based on true situations are never easy to read. The reality of the situation is sometimes too much to bear and seems impossible to actually have transpired, but are always worth that pain.

I loved how this story spans past and present and brings up the valour that was given so long ago so we can enjoy the peace in our country today. It's wonderfully illustrate
Jul 06, 2011 Sonya rated it it was amazing
recommended by Dante. A good graphic novel with a startlingly touching coda.
Nicola Mansfield
Jan 22, 2011 Nicola Mansfield rated it it was amazing
Reason for Reading: I love reading journals,memoirs and books based on them.

Wow! That one word could some up my complete review. Wow to the story! Wow to the graphics! Wow to the physical book itself!

Let's start with the book. The top and bottom halves are faux leather-look, the corners are rounded on the board and the pages. The pages are a nice thick quality paper and the book virtually looks like a moleskin journal. It even has an elastic band to hold it together. Beautiful book to behold!

Morgan Yew
Jan 21, 2015 Morgan Yew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, cartoons
I wasn't on the beach of Normandy, or with the countless allied soldiers that fought for their countries. Most readers weren't. Yet we're inclined to write a review of the contents of a book which we weren't there to experience? If we're lucky we have family members around to tell us stories, or if we're not amateur historians, we're actually steeped in the historical data. I am none of those. Reading this was like sitting at Chantler's grandfather's feet in rapt attention.

The story of the Highl
Jul 15, 2014 Dominick rated it really liked it
I've read only one other Chantler, the historical fiction Northwest Passage, and I liked this historical fact/biography one a lot better. Chantler tells the story of his grandfather and his grandfather's best friend, as they take part in the Canadian contribution to the invasion of Normandy in WWII. Chantler's style here is restrained and measured, far less cartoony than the other work of his I've seen--which is all to the good, especially given the subject matter here. Chantler evidently resear ...more
Marc Weidenbaum
Mar 05, 2011 Marc Weidenbaum added it
Shelves: comic
The men are sharply tailored and serious, with a dry sense of humor. The same can be said of the graphic novel that tells their story. The is this tale of Canadians on the European front fighting during World War II. It's a memoir, in effect, albeit told largely in the third person: two friends who head from Canada to Normandy to help save the world. As with most war stories, it's divided in half: prep, then battle. Prep is boredom and bicycles, love letters and training. Battle is violence and ...more
Mar 11, 2014 Lucie rated it liked it
I had to read this for my English class, so I wasn’t expecting much. I have to say Two Generals wasn’t an excellent book, it was decent and enjoyable. I don’t generally buy graphic novels, even if I do enjoy them (Persepolis, Polina etc.) I just never get around to it so when I heard that it was a graphic novel about WW2 I got more interested. For me it was the long description and lack of dialogue that killed it. I understand this is a biography of Scott Chantler’s grandfather and that h
Sep 19, 2011 Lucinda rated it liked it
I am intrigued by the graphic novel, by the interesting problem of understanding when image is better than text, or when the image gives you a fuller sense of what is going on than text ever could. or if that is actually the case.

anyhow, I am not really sure that Two Generals succeeds in this regard. not like, say, Essex county. but i may just be insufficiently schooled in independent graphic novels (as opposed to the Marvel comics kind) to be a judge.

unfortunately I have seen the brilliant hbo
Dec 09, 2011 Chantale rated it it was amazing
A historical graphic novel about two best friends serving with the Highland Light Infantry (HLI) of Canada in WWII. History comes alive through the illustrations and story. Chantler did his research for the Two Generals primarily using the war diaries of Law Chantler (his grandfather) and Jack Chrysler's letters to his wife as well as the HLI's War Diary.

I became curious about how many Canadian graphic novels have been published about WWII and came across this Wikipedia fact: "Canadian World War
Jul 30, 2016 Alessia rated it liked it
Shelves: school-reads
While I was reading through this, I have to be honest…I was kind of bored. It was another story about World War 2, and the struggle of the men involved. I understand that it was an extremely trying time for everyone involved, but the fact that my teacher mad us read through yet another World War 2 story, made me not really interested in this story at all.

But as I started to read it, I did enjoy it. The characters were likeable, and I liked the art style. WHAT DID make this story stand out for me
Thomas Vree
May 14, 2012 Thomas Vree rated it really liked it
I was at a friends house for NYE and he had this book lying on his coffee table that he had received for Christmas. “You read fast. Read it right now.” So I did. I'll blame the SMS for getting a little verklemt reading it. Nothing I didn’t already know, but it just increased my admiration and appreciation for the greatest generation. The main character (the author/artist’s grandfather) spent time in St. Thomas and it mentions his going down to Port Stanley to the Stork Club, and at the start of ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
Those looking for war adventure or grand military strategy will be disappointed by Two Generals. What appears at first glance to be a war chronicle is, in fact, a warm-hearted account of the bonds of friendship during wartime. Tracing the WWII experiences of the author's grandfather and his best friend, much of the story takes place during officers' training, observing the absurd and poignant details of young men from a young nation learning how to fight a war. The book lacks the epic sweep or i ...more
Jan 04, 2013 Bruce rated it liked it
I wanted and expected to love this. My love for Chantler's previous historical book, Northwest Passage, as well as war comics like Garth Ennis' Battlefields series, seemed to make it a slam dunk. Ultimately, however, I found it good but forgettable. The parts that dug into the character of Scott Chantler's grandfather, Law, and his various relationships were great. Unfortunately, when the actual war scenes started, he almost completely abandons that personal perspective and gives a fairly dry, p ...more
3.5 stars

Taken from the diary of Chantler's grandfather, this non-fiction graphic novels follows two young Canadian men as they join up with the army during World War II. For me, these are the stories that make history come to life and they need to be told to help us keep in mind that there was more to these historical events than names, dates, and other numbers.

There were men and women giving their lives to keep us all safe.

My favorite quote came near the end of the book, when the author refle
Deni Loubert
May 15, 2014 Deni Loubert rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
This graphic novel is an amazing view into the lives of two men. That one of them happens to be the grandfather of the author is a bonus for all of us. Law Chantler was in the Highland Light Infantry when World War II began and shipped out in 1943. We follow Law and his best friend Jack, as they endure pain, discover friendship and through their eyes we find out more about war than any text book will ever tell you. I met the author at a conference and he told me about the several years he spent ...more
Nov 22, 2010 May rated it really liked it
This graphic novel is tribute to "two generals"--Scott's grandfather, Reginald Law Chantler, and his friend, John Hartwell Chrysler, who both served in Canada’s Highland Light Infantry and fought in WWII. Based on actual diaries, letters and photographs, Scott's story focuses on the friendship between the men as they struggle through basic training in England and then trying to stay alive after landing on the beaches of Normandy. This is not a book about the futility of war but rather, a wonderf ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Ana rated it it was amazing
It brought tears to my eyes.

So far the majority of my favourite graphic novels have been written by Canadians, this is no exception. The Two Generals is a beautifully told and illustrated story of two friends' adventures during the war.

A friend of mine told me her daughter read this as part of her Canadian History course in high school. I applaud whoever chose to add this to the curriculum. Bravo!

I don't want to give any of it away so I won't go into detail, however, I do believe this should be
Aug 16, 2014 Alana rated it liked it
If I could give this half stars I would give it 2.5. I liked it, especially the artwork. However at times the writing felt like facts were just being stated without a solid narrative (even though it is non-fiction, there needs to be some sort of narrative interest there I think). Also, the title is confusing. The two main characters were not generals, but I think the title is referring to them as generals, out of respect?? Or something?? In jest?? I am not sure. I think maybe a better title woul ...more
Feb 05, 2014 Nick rated it really liked it
The story of two Lieutenants from Ontario, as told by the grandson of one of the men: their backgrounds, training and experience landing on D-Day and subsequent World War II actions and inactions. Beautifully illustrated and well-paced, the story lacks a bit of violent action, but makes up for it by properly portraying the dreadful boredom of warfare, and in intense suspense-building pre-D-Day, some dramatic though blurry fighting, and a great deal of pathos involving the sympathetic writer's gr ...more
Mar 03, 2015 Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading in schools. Especially in Canada. This is such a touching story of two generals who fought in World War II, their accounts of what had happened, what they witnessed. I am proud of my country and what it stands for, and even though this was an extremely dark moment in history we got through it. There was a lot of damage and you can see that when you are reading this.The author is the grandson of Law Chantler, one of the generals, and the story told in this graphic ...more
Nikki Stafford
Jul 02, 2016 Nikki Stafford rated it really liked it
This is a gorgeous book, written about the author's grandfather and his grandfather's best friend, who lived only about half an hour from where I live now, and who both entered the Second World War together. The drawings are at times harrowing, and it's sparsely yet touchingly written, using his grandfather's letters and journal entries. I first read this book when it came out, and decided to read it again. It's eminently rereadable and I was amazed by how many of the pages had been seared into ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Tom rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Two Generals was absolutely fantastic. The author tells the story of his grandfather, who served in a Canadian infantry division in World War II, and landed at Normandy on D-Day. The comic is a touching look at a man in a war, the connections he makes with others, and the ultimate sacrifice some pay in order for others to live and be free. It also has its comedic moments, and one right in the center of the story when Chantler pulls his scope back and had a rather well done two-page spread of a p ...more
Blair Conrad
An intimate look at two friends' experience during WWII. An interesting story, and it was nice to see it from the point of view of "the little people". I thought the story lagged a little at the end, though.
What really made the book for me, though was two things.
First, the book - the notebook style, complete with elasticized hold-closer, made the story feel very personal, like a memoir. Second, I really enjoyed the visuals. The spare drawing style was very effective, but the use of colour blew m
Sep 01, 2012 Kyle rated it really liked it
This book is excellent non-fiction. Scott Chantler takes the war journals of his grandfather and recreates the battle of Normandy. It's not overly-cathartic, which is good, because it's non-fic, but still, I wiped a few tears from my eyes. Tersely written, the script is quiet and understated.The pictures are drawn in that clean, Canadian, Drawn&Quarterly style of illustration, but they are not the star of the show. The star of the show is the author's backstory. Clearly Chantler is paying ho ...more
Alexander Weber
Feb 22, 2013 Alexander Weber rated it it was amazing
I'm not one to cry while reading, especially a graphic novel. But Scott Chandler has done such a fantastic job here...the way he tells this a non-linear way that isn't gimmicky, but is exactly what you need to understand what's going on in these people's lives, and in the lives of their grandchildren looking back...I don't want to say anything more. It's very touching, and interesting, and well drawn and even funny. And yeah, totally made me cry a little.
Wow, such a good graphic novel
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Scott Chantler is the acclaimed cartoonist of the graphic novels TWO GENERALS (which was long-listed for CBC’s CANADA READS: TRUE STORIES, named one of Chapters-Indigo’s Best Books of 2010, and selected for BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2012), NORTHWEST PASSAGE (which was nominated for Eisner, Harvey, Shuster, and Doug Wright Awards), and the THREE THIEVES series (the first book of which, TOWER OF TREASURE ...more
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