Alan's War

The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope

By Emmanuel Guibert; Emmanuel Guibert (Illustrator)
(First Second, Paperback, 9781596430969, 336pp.)

Publication Date: October 28, 2008

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"When I was eighteen, Uncle Sam told me he'd like me to put on a uniform and go off to fight a guy by the name of Adolf. So I did."

When Alan Cope joined the army and went off to fight in World War II, he had no idea what he was getting into. This graphic memoir is the story of his life during wartime, a story told with poignant intimacy and matchless artistry.

Across a generation, a deep friendship blossomed between Alan Cope and author/artist Emmanuel Guibert. From it, Alan's War was born - a graphic novel that is a deeply personal and moving experience, straight from the heart of the Greatest Generation - a unique piece of WWII literature and a ground-breaking graphic memoir.

About the Author

Emmanuel Guibert has written a great many graphic novels for readers young and old, among them the Sardine in Outer Space series and The Professor's Daughter with Joann Sfar.

In 1994, a chance encounter with an American World War II veteran named Alan Cope marked the beginning of a deep friendship and the birth of a great biographical epic.

Another of Guibert's recent works is The Photographer. Showered with awards, translated around the world and soon to come from First Second books, it relates a Doctors Without Borders mission in 1980's Afghanistan through the eyes of a great reporter, the late Didier Lefèvre.

Guibert lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.

Praise For Alan's War

Guibert writes and draws for American G.I. Alan Cope in this poignant and frank graphic memoir of a young soldier who was told to serve his country in WWII and how it changed him forever. When he first enters Fort Knox at 18, he is young and impressionable, more of a dreamer than "the military type." Slowly, Cope grows through his experiences in the war. He forges candid friendships with his fellow soldiers and remains ever insightful in his recollections of the war and his life afterward. Together, Cope and Guibert forge a story that resonates with humanity. Guibert's illustrations capture the time period vividly. While the subject matter is familiar from many wartime memoirs, Guibert's fluid, simple but assured linework captures the personalities of Cope and his friends, elevating the material to a far more affecting level.

After churning out a series of popular children's books, French graphic artist Guibert recently detoured into biography. His chronicle of reporter Didier Lefevre in Afghanistan, The Photographer (in three volumes, so far), won several awards and raised the bar for Guibert's versatile drawing skills. The unlikely subject of his latest biography is World War II veteran Alan Cope, an American retiree living in France, with whom Guibert developed a close friendship in the early 1990s. Cope's charismatic demeanor and storytelling penchant gradually put a spell on Guibert, inspiring him to capture Cope's life in a fascinating tapestry of illustrated anecdotes, reproduced letters, and photographs. Cope, it turns out, saw very little action during his extended European tour in the latter half of the war, yet his peculiar misadventures as a radio operator, tank gunner, and chaplain's assistant carry their own appeal. His encounters with temperamental officers, friendships with fellow soldiers and German musicians, and struggles to find work in post-war France reveal a fascinating side of wartime life rarely seen in military films or history books.
-Carl Hays

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