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Macedonia: What Does It Take to Stop a War?
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Macedonia: What Does It Take to Stop a War?

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  200 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
"Pekar has proven that comics can address the ambiguities of daily living, that like the finest fiction, they can hold a mirror up to life."
-The New York Times

For years Heather Roberson, a passionate peace activist, has argued that war can always be avoided. But she has repeatedly faced counterarguments that fighting is an inescapable consequence of world conflicts. Indeed
Paperback, 161 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by Villard Books (first published May 1st 2007)
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Fredrik Strömberg
Yet another book that I really wanted to like, but that ultimately was a great disappointment. I followed Harvey Pekar's career from early on and always enjoyed his autobiographical stories, most of which are included in my library. And I've had a special interest in the modern day wars of the Balkans for a long time, even collecting comics related to that part of European history.

So, I was anticipating a lot when starting to read this book, not the least when I found out that it was based on t
I read this based solely on the strength of CLEVELAND, Pekar's other work, and yes, it paid off, somewhat.. the writing is stellar as can be expected, though I didn't care much for the history and desertation-type exposition on Macedonia. Still, it was interesting enough, if you do what I did, skip the blocks of exposition.

overall, its an interesting book, though not conclusively ended, though I suspect Pekar wishes us to reach our own conclusions on whether war is inevitable or can be averted
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Este es el tipo de cómic "densito", de mucho texto y contenido político, que borda Joe Sacco. No así el equipo formado por Harvey Pekar, Heather Robeson y Ed Piskor. Hay mucha cantidad de información y está presentada de un modo que la hace confusa y monótona, algo que sucede también con la narración. Adoro a Harvey Pekar, su estilo de hacer cómic funcionó muy bien en American Splendor o en El derrotista, pero Macedonia parece un trabajo hecho por aficionados que apenas tienen recursos para cont ...more
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This is one of the times I would've liked to have been able to use half stars. 3.5 sounds more like it. The content is very interesting to me and extremely well-researched, but the pacing feels pretty odd at times. I believe it could've used some tighter editing. Ed Piskor's art is solid in this, but not as good as his more recent work (which is to be expected, it was released ten years ago). I definitely recommend it if you're interested in international diplomacy, peace-making processes, or di ...more
I thought the story was good, but I wasn't very impressed with the art. I can't tell if Harvey Pekar did the drawings or Ed Piskor did, but the characters were all pretty basic and similar. Heather's trip was great though. I really enjoyed how the dialogue between characters told what could have been a dry paper. That said, there's not a whole lot as far as the plot goes.
Nicholas Whyte[return][return]This is the story of peace activist Heather Roberson, who went there in the summer of 2003 to find out how the 2001 conflict had been prevented from escalating into another full-scale Balkan war, and acquired an obsession to match my own. She and Pekar portray well her fascination with this paradoxical, contradictory country, exploring Skopje and Tetovo with excursions to Belgrade and Pristina, and I found much to agree with - the curious mix ...more
Mark Plaid
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
Harvey Pekar co-authors this non-fiction graphic novel, Macedonia, with student of peace and conflict studies at the University of California, Heather Robeson. The book mainly focuses on Robeson's research into the events in Macedonia after the Kosovo conflict in the late nineties. It involved Albanian soldiers going into Macedonia after the Kosovo conflict. Most thought war was inevitable but NATO went in, disarmed the soldiers, gave the rebels amnesty, and many of their issues were addressed. ...more
Ricardo Medici
Nov 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was expecting a lot from this book. A graphic novel about Macedonia co-signed by Pekar? Wow, I couldn't really see the connection between this author's previous work and this line of writing, but well, it was an enticing prospect to say the least.

Unfortunately, you don't get much of a graphic novel here. There's hardly a plot, a story to tell or any character development. There's a total disregard for the use of this artform's visual and narrative resources. The drawing is monotonous and unins
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Pekar attempts to stuff too much extraneous information, via massive self-referential speech bubbles which have nothing to do with the action of the panels themselves, into this informative but awkward non-fiction comic about Macedonia's lasting peace through the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s. The history of the conflict is shown through the most tenuous of threads, the studies of an affluent white college girl from Berkley.


Pekar packs too many words into each frame. He's the Woody Allen o
Artur Coelho
May 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Estaremos condenados a não conseguir evitar guerras? Quando os interesses étnicos ou políticos colidem nas exíguas fronteiras de um país, estaremos condenados a repetir os ciclos históricos de derramamento de sangue? A personagem principal deste livro atípico de Pekar pensa que não. Para defender a sua tese, desloca-se à Macedónia, ex-república Jugo-eslava que apesar da intensidade do caldeirão étnico pareceu evitar o mergulho na guerra civil com auxilio das instituições internacionais. Baseada ...more
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
While I love Pekar, and graphic novels, this one was definitely written for the text-lover. Not that I minded, it just relied *heavily* on the written word for explaining the complicated history of Macedonia, as opposed to Joe Sacco's work or [link:Pyongyang] by Guy Delisle.

I mainly read this book due to the its subtitle, "what does it take to stop a war?" and how peacemakers worked to help the constant destabilization in the Balkan arena. Fascinating--complex and understated, the main character
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is a must-read for anyone who read Joe Sacco's tale of war in the former Yugoslavia, "Safe Area Gorazde". "Macedonia" is the chronicle not of war in the Balkans, but the tenuous job of preventing armed conflict in an ethnically diverse Balkan state. Told through the point of view of an American graduate student, we follow her progress in trying to uncover how Macedonia has kept the peace. That this country has managed to keep the peace is surprising, as her visit finds Macedonia rife with i ...more
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
This is Harvey interpreting, with cartoonist Piskor, the journals of Ms. Robison, a Berkeley student who travels within Macedonia to prove a point. Though the narrative is over-wordy, meandering, the point is valuable: Macedonia dropped from headlines because they avoided Balkan war; howzthat?
Harvey uses the experience of a Berkeley student to portray conflict resolution through a real place. He's responding to Joe Sacco's reportage in comics; though Sacco does this better, Harvey is swell, alwa
This book gives a fairly comprehensive history of Macedonia and the more recent peace process, both the positive aspects and the current challenges the country faces.

The choice to frame all of the information through the eyes of the traveling student, Heather Roberson, is at times frustrating. I found the focus on Roberson to be somewhat distracting to the story of the Macedonian peace process. Regardless, I certainly know more about the history of the Balkans and have a new context for viewing
Heavy on the rhetoric, the graphic novel is an unusual format for this kind of book, which reads almost like a college level text book on conflict studies. With this region's conflicts currently in the news, it was interesting and informative for gaining insight on why the Balkans have been plagued with conflict. However, Pekar's harsh, aggressive artwork may have clouded the tone of the book too much, creating anger where they may not have been any and arguments in place of discussion. The resu ...more
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
The opening few pages let's you know directly from Pekar himself that this is meant to be a follow-up piece to Joe Sacco's work such as Safe Area Gorazde. Unfortunately, it doesn't achieve the same balance between the narrator's fish-out-of-water-story and the story of the Macedonians being interviewed. Reads far more like an extended "American Splendor" slice-of-life story as we follow the main character's problems renting rooms and dealing with cabs. The epilogue is really informative though ...more
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another book I brought with me to Macedonia. I read this during PST and it was nice to read during that time since I kind of understood some of the things it talked about. I'll read it again shortly as well. A very fast read and it does a nice job of discussing the conflict in 2001 and some things you might expect while in the country as a foreigner. Although, it sometimes makes the country sound much worse than it is, but this was shortly after the conflict, so that might explain why.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Jammed full of information about a region few know too much about. This is somewhat similar to other Pekar books, with less personal touch and more facts. In fact, it seems more like an illustrated thesis paper, often bogged down by history and research. In fact, if this was a thesis paper, it would be awesome. But as entertainment, it works only if you are interested in learning more about Macedonia.
May 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
One thing I've always had a problem with Pekar's work is that the distribution of text to image always seems a little off, never quite working as comics consistently, despite some real nice pages accentuated by Piskor's art. Also, I felt like this particular story suffered from being a factual essay revealed through a narrative, but the narrative itself seems lacking. Still, a nice try, and I would probably like it more if Joe Sacco wasn't already the absolute master of this kind of comics.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Though I learned a great deal about Macedonian political history and the nature of conflict, the dialog was painfully didactic and, often, unnatural. I've read few graphic novels, so perhaps this conforms to a standard writing style adopted by the genre with which I'm unfamiliar. It felt highly edited; subtlety, nuance were sorely lacking.
Neil McCrea
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
I love Harvey Pekar, he's even a bit of a personal hero to me.

That said, I'm torn on this book. It is heavy handedly didactic, something which is generally anathema to me, but I found myself exceedingly glad I read it. The recent political developments in Macedonia are something I was completely unaware of, and the insight this work provided did me a great deal of good.
Matthew Towles
Aug 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
According to GoodReads, one star means "I didn't like it." Although I did not like Macedonia (it focuses way too much on dialogue and ultimately sacrifices emotion for information), I wouldn't say it's a "one-star" book. I'm sure to some it's very enjoyable and interesting (as evidenced by its rating on GoodReads), however, i found it to be neither.
Nov 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comix
not terrible, but not what one would expect of a pekar work. reading about the eastern european situation is interesting, and the whole thing reinforces the idea that there are no rights, only privileges.

two stars.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2007
My first graphic novel. It was very informative and an enjoyable way to read about something that could be just dry reading. I sometimes felt that some connecting information was missing so i found myself turning back pages thinking I missed a part. Maybe this is what graphic novels are like?
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Full disclosure: I picked up this book thinking it was about Macedonia, Ohio. It's not. It's about the country. Which everyone else already knew. It was informative, but not a super effective graphic novel.
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting "graphic novel," for once non-fiction, recounting a grad student's journey to Macedonia to find how the country avoided war in the wake of Kosovo and similar anti-Albanian clashes.
Larry C
Mar 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
So dreadfully dull that I couldn't finish reading it.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Extremely dull. Why was this made into a graphic novel?
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are a few pages of loooong text that I have to admit I skipped. I really like Pekar's personal-narrative style in collaboration with someone else's story.
Sep 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Learned more than I thought about the mess of Macedonia. Harvey teams with Heather Roberson to tell her tale of her trip and what she discovers.
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Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series.

In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name.

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