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(Palestine #1-2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  14,437 ratings  ·  912 reviews
Prior to Safe Area Gorazde: The War In Eastern Bosnia 1992-1995—Joe Sacco's breakthrough novel of graphic journalism—the acclaimed author was best known for Palestine, a two-volume graphic novel that won an American Book Award in 1996.

Fantagraphics Books is pleased to present the first single-volume collection of this landmark of journalism and the art form of comics.


Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 17th 2001 by Fantagraphics (first published 1996)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  14,437 ratings  ·  912 reviews

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Jan Philipzig
Old-School Journalism

Over the past few decades, journalism has lost much of its credibility and almost all of its punch. Shallow, commercially-minded infotainment dominates, feeding us the "blue pill" (in Matrix terms) that makes us forget all those unpleasant realities out there. Why would media conglomerates fund costly in-depth research when a fluffy little human interest story not only feels better but is also much better for the bottom line? Mmmm, the blissful ignorance of media myths and i
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting through this graphic novel. It was a tough read due to the subject matter. I also wasn't fond of the art on a personal level.
I did immensely appreciate Joe Sacco's motivation for writing this graphic novel. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Joe Sacco said:
"I grew up thinking of Palestinians as terrorists, and it took a lot of time, and reading the right things, to understand the power dynamic in the Middle East was not what I had thought it was... And basically, it upset
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down one of the best comic books (and pieces of journalistic writing) that I have ever read. It's really up there with Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis and (in my humble opinion) the best and most clever comic book series out there, Gaiman's The Sandman. I hereby vow to get further into Sacco's work. He seems like an intelligent man with a great (albeit somewhat dark) type of humour, and I enjoy the political / historical focus of his work.

Palestine is essentially a travel memoir / political
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
book two for Jugs & Capes, my all-girl graphic novel book club!

Whew. This is a really, really devastating book. Part of the problem (and obviously part of the point) is that it is relentlessly awful, with story after story after story of death, destruction, skirmishes with soldiers, dead sons, dead husbands, maimed daughters, displacement, oppression, poverty, and pain.

It's so painful, horribly, that I actually started to get a little jaded; or that's not what I mean exactly, but the stories af
Emily May
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
They destroyed everything. There is no sign that we ever lived there.

This was good. Interesting use of "graphic journalism". A little bit of preaching to the choir in my case as I'm already pretty sympathetic to the Palestinians and aware of the abhorrent treatment they have received in the last several decades, but a must-read for the Americans and Europeans who only get the pro-Israeli stance on the issue. For a graphic novel, it's quite word-heavy, with a lot of pages filled up with text
We in the States are always told that we have to support the Israelis. Remember what the Jews have endured with the Holocaust! Why didn't we stop Hitler (there are always those that insist we had the chance)?? We need to make it up to the Jews! They need to have their own homeland as reparation for their terrible suffering!

Yes, the Jews suffered terrible things. It was awful and horrific, and I hope with every fiber of my being that something like the Holocaust will never happen again.

But what a
Palestine first appeared as a series of nine comic books, but is collected here in a special edition that also includes a foreword by the late Edward Said and an introduction by the author. Sacco writes that he was compelled to visit the Palestinian territories for two main reasons. First, he realized that the taxpayer dollars he paid as an American were being spent in financial aid to Israel, perpetuating the occupation. Second, after pursuing a degree in journalism, he became aware as to the o ...more
Kelly Bennett
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was ok
Despite an interesting medium, Sacco seems very blasé white dude about all of this. He admittedly goes to Palestine seeking the most tragic, horrific stories he can find, but spends the rest of his time avoiding as much of the experience as possible, and keeping some serious 'journalistic distance'. He's egotistical, self-centered and seemingly oblivious to the situations nuances. Halfway through the book he gets tired of hearing about bullet wounds and beatings, and he seems to treat the hospit ...more
Jul 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Joe Sacco is a comics journalist, or as he describes himself in this book, an "action cartoonist," entering areas of political turmoil to make documentary comics. Despite some occasional dips into free-wheeling personal anecdote reminiscent of Kerouac or Crumb, Sacco is predominantly a documentarian, not terribly concerned with narrative, but more focused on recounting the individual stories of the people he interviews. And there are a lot of interviews, conducted over countless cups of tea in i ...more
Huda AbuKhoti
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Palestine is a one of a kind graphic novel, at least to me. This is the first book I've read for Joe Sacco and I loved it!

This book takes place between 1991 and 1992 in several Palestinian cities, Cairo and Tel Aviv from the Israeli side. The main focal point of the book was showing the occupied land's people point of view of the story, because in the west this other side of the story is pretty much invisible.

The art style was really amazing, all the drawings were very supportive to the content
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
pretty much a masterpiece on every possible level.

first off, because sacco wisely lets the people he encounters do the talking. it's a warts-and-all first person account of people's lives in palestine, and almost all embellishments and social commentaries come from the mouths of the people he talks to, rather than from things he learned reading edward said or whatever.

at the same time, he allows his own story to weave throughout. we are privvy to his own frustrations and fascinations along the
Joe Sacco delivers a scathing piece of comic-journalism with Palestine. The Arab side of the story is fully ignored by the Western media since, well, the beginning of the conflict.

The treatment inflicted upon the Arab refugees is horrendous, but the Western media is never going to acknowledge it. They come and kick you out of your home. There are almost no Arab youngsters above 16 years of age who have not received a jail term. The soldiers can hold you up for 6 months. Without reason. And that
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
PALESTINE by Joe Sacco, original 1993 for 9 volume set, my edition 2006 re-printing from @fantagraphics with foreword by Edward Said.

As a fan of graphic storytelling, I was a long-time coming to Joe Sacco. He is one of the most well-known names in graphic/comic journalism & war reporting with several award-winning books to his name. His most famous works are about Bosnia (Safe Area Gorazade, others) and Palestine.

This book tells of Sacco's reporting in 1991 and 1992 in Palestine. There are some
Apr 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Non fiction readers, graphic novel lovers
For the love of God everyone needs to read this book. Americans are so ignorant when it comes to the struggles of the Isralies and Palestinians. THis is something we need to know about and Sacco presents it in a real person to person manner that will leave shocked and horrified, as you should be. If more people read this book the world would be a better place, because people would have to stand up and fight!
Resh (The Book Satchel)
- art work was not my kind of art.
- important non fiction read
- author does give his own opinions (eg: about wearing hijab) but he also mentions views of those supporting and opposing his views.
- even though this is a graphic novel (non fiction), it does not undermine the tragedies happening in Palestine. Every page is a shocking read.
Shaimaa Ali
Dec 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sacco is really raising the bar for any other so-called: Comics!

This is a real Master Piece!! Not an ordinary Comic that you are going to forget once you turn over its last page!
With the eyes of a foreigner, Sacco illustrated what he saw in Occupied Palestine. His illustrations spoke a thousand words besides his commentary on the plot. It was so real that I felt when I'll raise my head from the book I'll find those characters moving in front of me!
He addressed lots of issues, the occupation his
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Superb book by Joe Sacco, regarding his journalistic cartooning and narration on the stories that are located in Palestine. It's a subject matter that I have avoided for a long time now. Due to the fact that Israel has close ties to the American culture and the feverish defense and anger towards that country. It is better to look away. Luckily, Sacco doesn't turn his head around, and here we get an interview after interview of Palatine dwellers and what it is like to live in and on an occupied l ...more
Mar 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well. I think this should be required reading in high school. It's cool (graphic novel), it's controversial (not everyone is interested in the Palestinian side), and it's informative (I defy anyone to look at the pictures and say you knew this--and walked away without saying anything). Whatever you believe about the Israel-Palestine question, this is a book that will challenge your powers of argument. Quite apart from the situation on the ground in Israel/Palestine, the author shares his fears, ...more
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
In the early 1990s, Joe Sacco spent about two months visiting in Palestine. His narrative and images are eye-opening, brutal, and depressing -- all in one. Life has been hell for these people: they have been uprooted from their ancestral homes, jammed into occupied areas or refugee camps, and subjected to harsh rule, including persecution and torture, by the Israeli Defense Forces. Unfortunately, this graphic novel fails to tell a compelling story. It is too reportorial, with story after story, ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
How do you say you have enjoyed a book that is filled with heartache, abuse, violence, inhumanities against your fellow man? I can however say I am richer for having read this. But, how do you know if what you have read is accurate without having lived it? Fortunately this is a biographical experience for the artist and so presumably it is an accurate presentation as he perceives his experiences in Palestine.

Reading this you are inundated with hardship and atrocity, and the reading process simul
Settare (on hiatus)
Oct 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-east
The content is fine, but this book is too tiresome on the eyes. I didn't enjoy reading this at all, and not because of the content. It's not exactly an "enjoyable" subject to read about, but I was eager to read it because I found Sacco's narrative very interesting. But I had to give up at last, because the artistic style of Sacco didn't resonate with me at all. The format is black and white, too word-heavy for a comic, and very hard to follow due to the styling of the text and fonts.
In short, I
A Man Called Ove
A human, moving picture of Palestine in the early 90s. Diametrically the opposite view of Leon Uris's "The Haj" or modern thrillers in which Palestinians r usually depicted as evil. And thus, while it provides a view from the other side portraying Jews as evil, I remain sceptical. Also, reminded me of Basharat Peer's "Curfewed Night" on Kashmir (also loosely filmed as Haider) which I know told a partisan story.
But, worth a read since a neutral person is telling a lesser known aspect. Will be rea
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-books
Apart from Spiegelman's "Maus" this comic covers another serious topic. The book's best review is written by Edward Said as his Homage to writer Joe Sacco. There's no attempt to smooth out the meager, uncertain existence, collective unhappiness, and deprivation of the beings. This comic depicts a life of aimless wandering within inhospitable environment and mostly waiting. The images are more graphic. Joe has been a watchful listener, often skeptic, occasionally fed up, but mostly sympathetic an ...more
This is very hard book for me to review. The subjects matter is heart-breaking and I don’t have words to describe the atrocious politics of Israel government. Their inhuman actions and how little international community care about Palestine.

Palestine is non-fiction graphic novel based on journalist-comic artist Joe Sacco’s two months in Israel, Palestine and The Gaza Strip. The events of the book takes place in 1990s. It’s been two decades since then, things only got worse.

I wasn’t the fan of th
Redwan Orittro
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
I have read many reviews where the reader mentioned how they prefer Guy Delisle's "Jerusalem" over Joe Sacco's "Palestine" because the latter is too dark.

Well guess what? Sacco paints the picture perfectly. Truth is a bitter pill to swallow and Sacco does not sugarcoat the treatment that Palestinians go through at the hands of the Israeli army and the settlers who loot, kill, arrest, torture and take over Palestinian lands each and every single day.

This book is a must read to anyone who sides w
Maryam AlNaser
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf, 2017
it's so sad that 20 years after this book was written, the circumstances are still the same. ...more
yasmine skalli
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this hurt my heart. not enough people are aware of Palestine’s situation.
Biblio Curious
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This graphic novel is a great example of using the right medium to share your message.

Essentially, the few words in this book are a political commentary loaded up with information dumps. If this happened in a novel format, the story would be boring as could be with vast descriptions of ugly people filled with pain & sorrow.

The plot line is a journalist traveling through various parts of Palestine with a local guide. He interviews folks from various walks of life and receives a lot of political c
Jan 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to rate this higher, but I'm a harsh critic with my books lately and ultimately it was more of a 'like' than a 'really like'. This book just didn't hit me like I wanted and if I'm honest, I felt slightly underwhelmed by the end. The artwork looked good, with nice varying layout styles, but it was nothing amazing to my graphic novel novice eyes. I really enjoyed the subject matter and reading about Palestinians lives, but there was something lacking for me. I'm used to reading heart wren ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Am I now responsible for what I learned? And if so, what do I do? I feel that way a lot after finishing a heavy book. Now what?

It's hard to transition back to the world around me after being so immersed in a book like this. I have to blink a few times when I look up from the integrated text and pictures that tell this story of refugee Palestinians to remind myself where I am, that I am in America in a house I own where my kids are safe and the stakes of every day life are pretty low.

I've tried
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Joe Sacco was born in Malta on October 2, 1960. At the age of one, he moved with his family to Australia, where he spent his childhood until 1972, when they moved to Los Angeles. He began his journalism career working on the Sunset High School newspaper in Beaverton, Oregon. While journalism was his primary focus, this was also the period of time in which he developed his penchant for humor and sa ...more

Other books in the series

Palestine (2 books)
  • Palestine, Vol. 1: A Nation Occupied
  • Palestine, Vol. 2: In the Gaza Strip

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