Picks and Pans Review: When the Wind Blows
by Raymond Briggs
Briggs is the eccentric British children's book author and illustrator, but nobody is likely to mistake this dark little number for a children's book. It is a comic-strip tale of an average English couple, James and Hilda Bloggs, preparing for and muddling through nuclear war, from early advice on fixing a fallout shelter through radiation poisoning. It's often funny, in the bitterest and blackest of ways. Jim tells Hildy at one point, "You're very efficient in a National Emergency, dearest," and she replies coquettishly, "Oh, get on with you." Jim keeps reminiscing about the romance of World War II and insisting on "the correct thing to do," even as the world is being obliterated around them. Briggs' vivid satire could and well may be used as a textbook by antinuclear campaigners arguing the ultimate futility of hoping to survive any large-scale modern war. (Schocken, $10.95)
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