The Enemy.jpg
This book was written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Serge Bloch.

What is this book about?

The Enemy is a profound, moving and poignant fable for our time about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren desert battlefield. Are they the only soldiers left? How can they end the war? Just who is the enemy?

Questions related to the book:

1. Why have the creators chosen to set the war in a desert?

2. What does the story tell us about the ethics of war?

3. What does the story tell us about the nature of war?

4. ... about the nature of the enemy? (Is there more than one enemy in this story?)

5. ... about propaganda in war?

6. ... about nationalism?

7. ... about a soldier’s view of authority?

8. ... about how easy/difficult it is to stop war?

9. ... about the power of the individual?

10. ... about seeing things from someone else’s perspective?

11. ... about questioning our sources of information? How does the media effect our view of other countries and cultures?

12. ... about fear of the strange or different?

13. What do the illustrations add to the story?

To read more about this book and Davide's ideas behind its creation visit Books Illustrated's blog for a detailed interview with him.

A quote from the interview:

Q: What drove you to write the story?Conflict’s an ageless theme – constant and familiar to everyone – the enemy is a great focus.
  • Well, I simply noticed that in the times we’re living in, media often give us an enemy to fight against. I tell a story about a “classic” war, with soldiers and guns, but I think that there is some kind of global war we all fight. It’s more of a “culture” war. The media's manipulation I guess is the real enemy. So, that’s why at the end of the book there’s the message in the bottle. The moral of the story is peace but in a special way it’s the “necessity of communication”. We have to talk, directly, to each other. Today technology permits this to almost everybody. We don’t need to believe in what the press or TV say about the “others”, we just can check it out by ourselves.
  • Then maybe we won’t be everyone’s friends, we can discover to not like or be liked by the “others”. We’re not forced to be friends, but if we could be “not enemies”, it would be already great.
  • Davide Cali

Teachers' Notes for The Enemy