Sarah Glidden is a progressive Jewish American twentysomething who is both vocal about and critical of Israeli politics in the Holy Land. When a debate with her mother prods her to sign up for a Birthright Israel tour, Glidden expects to find objective facts to support her strong opinions. During her two weeks in Israel, Glidden takes advantage of the opportunity to ask the people she meets about the fraught and complex issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but their answers only lead her to question her own take on the conflict.
Simple linework and gorgeous watercolors spotlight Israel's countryside, urban landscapes, and religious landmarks. With straightforward sincerity, lovingly observed anecdotes, and a generous dose of self-deprecating humor, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less is accessible while retaining Glidden's distinctive perspective. Over the course of this touching memoir, Glidden comes to terms with the idea that there are no easy answers to the world's problems, and that is okay.
This debut book landed on several best-of-the-year lists, including Entertainment Weekly's; earned a YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens distinction; and won an Ignatz Award. Her second book, Rolling Blackouts, which documents her experience shadowing journalists in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria, will also come out this fall from Drawn & Quarterly.
Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is sharply critical of Israeli policies vis- -vis the Occupied Territories, went on an all-expense-paid "birthright" trip to Israel in an attempt to discover some grand truths at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This graphic memoir tells the touching and often funny story of her utter failure to do so. As the tour group moves from the Golan Heights to Tel Aviv, Glidden's struggles with propaganda and perspective lead only to a morass of deepening questions and self-doubt. Her neurotic need for objective truths and struggle to reconcile historical perspectives is hugely gratifying for the reader. This is especially true when the group visits Masada, the site of an epic confrontation between a sect of Jewish rebels and a Roman siege army that culminated in mass suicide. Gruesome fanaticism or a stirring clarion call for the burgeoning Zionism movement? You be the judge. As befits a travelogue, Glidden's drawings have the look of something jotted down on the fly; if it weren't for a haircut here or a pair of glasses there, many of the characters would be indistinguishable. Yet the simplicity of the drawing is offset by bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine's unresolved struggle with history and heritage. \n