Review: Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel
Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel by Andrea Grosso Ciponte is a beautifully rendered, but ultimately disappointing, look at one of the greatest stories of resistance from the Second World War. I think the idea of telling this story in comic form is a great one, but in the end the story didn't provide any new insights into the lives of the group's members, nor did it present what it does offer in what I would consider an organized fashion, choosing instead to jump from incident to incident almost at random. There were some places where I nearly lost the thread of the plot entirely due to large chunks of time being skipped with no reference or update for the reader at all as to what had happened during the missing months. This includes the founding of The White Rose, which I felt Ciponte should have at least touched on briefly, along with more of the history behind what drove each member to become disillusioned with the Nazi regime. Freiheit gives the reader the distinct impression that the impetus and driving force behind The White Rose was almost coldly intellectual in nature, when a deeper dive into Hans and Sophie's past could have revealed it to be so much more.
I did love the way the text of the leaflets was interspersed throughout, however; it added an emotional core to the story that carried me along even when I lost my way. In concert with the illustrations, they saved the book for me. Ciponte also handled the interrogations brilliantly, illustrating each member's bravery with subtlety and grace. Overall I think Freiheit is a noble effort, but it could have been so much more.