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When the Wind Blows
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When the Wind Blows

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,471 ratings  ·  275 reviews
Raymond Briggs' now famous bestselling comic cartoon book depicts the effects of a nuclear attack on an elderly couple in his usual humorous yet macabre way. ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published September 25th 1986 by Penguin (first published 1982)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,471 ratings  ·  275 reviews

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Jan 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Greta G
"Aching with love and bitterness, it is meant to break your heart" - Guardian
"Whatever your politics this is the most eloquent anti-Bomb statement you are likely to read" - Daily Mail
"Armageddon comes and we are in a place to which no picture book has ever taken us before. Humour has rarely been blacker. A terrific shock..." - The New York Times
"We should all force ourselves to read this grimly humorous and horribly honest book"- Sunday Telegraph
"A visual parable against nuclear war ; all the mo
Dave Schaafsma
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gn-political
A 1982 graphic novel by Raymond Briggs, also known for The wordless picture book The Snowman. Many of his works are wryly amusing, featuring versions of his own parents. Here, Jim and Hilda Bloggs are elderly, retired, sweet, loving and clueless as they prepare for nuclear attack, following government instructions on duct tape and supplies. It does not go as well as they had hoped, and the black comedy turns darker and darker, as they remain sweet and clueless and sweet til the end. The Bloggs a ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
This is not some regular kids' comic book. The issue highlighted here is pretty intense. It’s a story of an elderly couple who builds up a fallout shelter in order to be safe during the upcoming nuclear war. Quite intense, right? So the husband, following some leaflet, uses their regular doors in some 60-degree angle with the wall to make this shelter and the story continues with them in their tiny safe haven!

Although the theme is a bit different and strong, the writer presented it with humor (
P8tra X
Jul 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Ivonne Rovira
May 30, 2015 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
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
Himanshu Karmacharya
I am at a loss for words. This book has emotionally devastated me.
Beautifully depicting the horrors of war and nuclear weapons, with its contrasting black humor, this book is a must read.
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book has my heart.
Roger Francis
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the saddest stories I've ever read. It was written at a time when governments believed a nuclear attack was a real possibility. In fact, the public had received leaflets through the doors advising them to remove the hinges and hide behind the door if the inevitable happened. Of course we know now, hiding behind doors is pointless.

Raymond Briggs introduces us to an elderly couple who remind us all of our nan and grandad, offering us cups of tea, sweets and cake.

Their innocence is
May 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sequential-art
In an alternative history, the UK is struck by a devestating nuclear attack. Cities and communication systems are destroyed, roads melted, the very earth and air poisoned and ravaged. All seen through the eyes of Mr and Mrs Bloggs living alone in the countryside, who are a bit peeved the milkman hasn't came yet.

For some questionable reason, in the mid 90s when I would have been 11/12, we were shown part of Threads at school; a harrowingly brutal depiction of a city on fire and slowly decaying wi
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Raymond Briggs? No! Don't think "Snowman." Instead think nuclear war. Devastation. Innocent victims.

Did I enjoy reading this? No. Does it communicate the consequences of nuclear war? Yes.

Do NOT read this for pleasure. Read only if you need to be reminded of the horrors of war ... compounded with the finality of nuclear technology.
Juho Pohjalainen
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A plain harrowing tale about two clueless old bumpkins preparing for the inevitable nuclear war with just the sort of cheery attitude that entirely encompasses the notion that "Ignorance is a bliss". These two morons really have no idea what's coming to them, just living their daily lives almost as normal, talking about politics without truly understanding, old James trying to prepare for the nuke the best he can and talking about whatever's "the correct thing", and both of them feeling nostalgi ...more
Sarah Booth
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
a darkly humorous look at what would happen if the Russians dropped the bomb on England. Our couple, James and Hilda, have a WWII mentality about the event which is woefully out of date for nuclear fall out. They're ill prepared having only a little time to take a few precautions outlined in pamphlets put out by the government which were designed more to keep panic from rising, as opposed to offering any real help in a no win situation. I'd recently heard about the movie of this and being unable ...more
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
When the Wind Blows Follows the lives of a nice elderly couple in rural England as they act in accordance with the government mandated policy on surviving the upcoming nuclear holocaust. The book is a great, but depressing (it is the end of the world after all), piece of satire, critiquing everything from the national government for woefully under-preparing their citizenry for the horrible situation they have been put in to the naivety of people firmly ensconced in the past and glorifying the go ...more
Sep 03, 2015 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. ...more
Fairly macabre, but an interesting read...
Rosemary Standeven
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Similar in theme to "Atomic Cafe" and "Dr Strangelove", but with an innocence and fragility that makes the impact so much greater ...more
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels

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
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
I couldn't help but wonder the whole time I listened to this if Courage the Cowardly Dog was based off of this... as there are quite a bit of similarities.

This graphic novel follows a elderly couple through a nuclear bombing. It was written around the time of the Cold War when the Russians bombing us and Britain was a real possibility. This Graphic novel shows our elderly couple following a Government leaflet issued to them in Britain, their blind faith in their Government knowing best and what
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
When the Wind Blows has a short and uncomplicated plot about an elderly couple in the English countryside who are affected by a nuclear attack.

The beauty of the book is its dialogue between the couple. They are funny and adorable in a way only children and old people can be. Their conscientiousness, concern for each other and odd nostalgia for WW II add to the charm of this darkly humorous book.

Also, since this is a graphic novel, I must also say something about the art. Initially, it looked qu
Emilia P
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-books
Man, I've been waiting to read this one for ages!

An old couple in the British countryside and their personal experience of a nuclear holocaust. That's it. That's the whole thing.
It expertly captures the mood of "it can't happen here" and "the government will take care of us, right?" that many of us carry around about so many things! You could read it at their naive expense or you could read it as a mirror of your own countless self-protective illusions about the world. Or some of both. Als
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: march-2017, borrowed
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.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Devastatingly poignant. Not for little kiddos. Maybe in the right social studies class for age 9 and up. Avl. on openlibrary.
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
Funny and at the same time somewhat disturbing. It was an ok read for a cold and rainy day.
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
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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 Brownlee
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
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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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