Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco collaborated on the new book DAYS OF DESTRUCTION, DAYS OF REVOLT. The nonfiction book is about the places and people in the United States that
have been used and then abandoned, where wrenching change has spawned hopelessness, desperation and ravaged landscapes.
Mr. Hedges talks about the book with NPR's Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan today. Link to he article, transcript and podcast is here.
CONAN: It's interesting, you mentioned the drawings by Joe Sacco. I was wondering, as I started to read the book, about why a cartoonist, not a photographer, for example. There's an image that he has of Camden where an old - elderly man is describing what it looked like in the 1950s and what it looks like now. And I realized that couldn't be done...
CONAN: ...as well or as - with such impact with a photograph.
HEDGES: Right. There are things that he does as an illustrator that a photographer cannot do, and it was counterintuitive as a reporter. And the book is, of course, heavily reported. It was always the best personal narratives that I handed over to Joe, the ones you really prized, the ones that are emblematic of a city or of a place, and then he drew them out.
So that, for instance, we did one of an elderly miner, who's since died - Rudy - who begins working in the mines in the 1930s as a teenager after his father is killed in a mine accident when it's not mechanized or it's not unionized. The only time he leaves West Virginia is when he is drafted in World War II. He's wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. And you can see the entire, sort of, history of coal through his life. And Joe has drawn it out. It's - it gives it a kind of punch.
I mean, these, you know, these pockets, you know, this sort of segment of the population, has largely become invisible. And I think one of the goals of the book was to make them visible. And Sacco was able to raise - I think that because of the drawings raised the book to a level, give it a kind of punch that simple prose would not have had.
Related: More of Joe Sacco's art and Chris Hedges in this BooksVideosTV video: