Monday, February 15, 2021

18. Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel

Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel. Andrea Grosso Ciponte. 2021. [February] 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure.

Premise/plot: Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel is a nonfiction graphic novel set in Germany circa 1942/1943. It tells the story of the White Rose resistance group--within Germany, mind you--led by young Germans who opposed Hitler. Primarily it is story of a handful of people: Sophie Scholl, Hans Scholl, Christoph Probst, Alexander Schmorell, and Willi Graf. (There may have been others? But this is the core group who sacrificed everything--yes, everything--to use their newly found voices to make a stand for what they believed was right.) This is a story about the power of words--or the potential power of words. It is the story of a publication--the White Rose--of pamphlets distributed within Germany challenging the status quo. This graphic novel includes--in English, thank goodness--those six leaflets. The graphic novel focuses on their story and its impact. 

My thoughts: The story of Sophie and Hans felt a little familiar to me; perhaps I've read a little bit about them before? But I was so happy and pleased to have the opportunity to review this title and learn more about these (mostly) student resisters. 

Whether intentional or not this graphic novel felt timely and relevant. And it made for a lovely read on a very cold wintry day.

At the same time, this one feels sparse. The story isn't presented in a straight-forward, education-friendly way. It is, well, sparse and a bit all over the place as to what it shares and when it shares it within the text. Which is certainly okay--more than okay--if you see the book as say a piece of art. 

But if you genuinely are wanting more narrative to tell the whole story, or more of the whole story, then it's...sparse. One reviewer (on Goodreads) noted that you learn more reading wikipedia articles about the founding members than you do reading this book. That reviewer wasn't wrong. It's a little light on facts and the illustrations have to do the heavy lifting.

As long-time blog readers know I don't *usually* review many graphic novels a year. But this one appealed to me because of the World War II setting. I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys (or should that be "enjoys"???) learning more about the Second World War.

© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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