The Books

Why War is Never a Good Idea

by Alice Walker
Illustrated by Stefano Vitale

One Potato Review

Urgent and unapologetic. It took some pedigree to pull this off - but you’ll probably have some explaining to do when you’re through. From the artist responsible for the indelibly optimistic When the Wind Stops, here are luminous fishing villages and rainbow-colored frogs, a boy dreaming of polenta and eggs for dinner, a nursing mother, eyes in the trees, dark clouds, and Alice Walker’s dangling, ominous text (where you don’t have to look very hard to find a political agenda: “oil & gas & mahogany trees & every shining thing under the earth,” are presumed to be war’s motivations). Still, it’s the altogether head-turning range of Vitale’s illustrations (who knew that he even carried these tans and muddy browns in his paint kit?) that finally proves worthy of this subject. Ready when you are. Intelligent people (and conscientious parents) can disagree about the difference between what is scary or enlightening, moral or righteous, though we are, none of us, excluded from war’s randomness.