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Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier

Review

Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier

Written by Barroux , translated by Sarah Ardizzone

An ordinary walk down a Paris street turned extraordinary when Barroux, a French author and illustrator, discovered the diary of a French solider from World War I in a pile of trash recently removed from a basement. After rescuing the diary, which was accompanied by a medal and sheets of song lyrics. Barroux decided to illustrate the words of this unknown solider. The result is a unique graphic novel that provides a remarkable perspective on the first months of WWI.

The combination of the diary entries and Barroux’s illustrations will make for an unforgettable reading experience for readers of all ages.

The unknown soldier writes of the difficulty of leaving his wife and child and his later worry when he doesn’t receive mail from them right away. He tells of his friend Fernand, and how the two look out for each other, often finding places to sleep together in order to stay warm and how finding straw to sleep upon is a blessing. He describes the sound of the artillery fire as he and his company near the front line. He recounts seeing wounded soldiers, and towards the end of the diary, writes of his own injury; he was hit with shrapnel. The diary ends abruptly and we are left to wonder what happened to the unknown soldier.

The soldier’s diary entries are sparse, but Barroux’s lead pencil drawings add depth and texture to the words. Barroux’s illustrations look like quick pencil sketches and are a perfect accompaniment to the soldier’s words, which are also quick as he stole moments to record events and his thoughts in his diary. The combination of the diary entries and Barroux’s illustrations will make for an unforgettable reading experience for readers of all ages.

An extensive website (www.lineoffirebook.com) has been created to support the book and includes further information about WWI  and Barroux, as well as teaching resources.

Reviewed by Aimee Rogers on June 18, 2014

Line of Fire: Diary of an Unknown Soldier
Written by Barroux , translated by Sarah Ardizzone

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2014
  • Genres: Graphic Novel, History, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix Yard Books
  • ISBN-10: 1907912398
  • ISBN-13: 9781907912399