The Washington Post
How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less (NOOK Comics with Zoom View)by Sarah Glidden
A stunningly accomplished debut graphic novel, HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS is Sarah Glidden's charming and funny travel memoir of her trip through Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Masada and other historic locales, brought to life with lush watercolors in all of their quirky and breathtaking detail. It is also a sensitive, deeply thoughtful and personal examination of a highly charged issue, an account of a journey Sarah never expected to take. Her experience clashes with her preconceived notions again and again, particularly when she tries to take a non-chaperoned excursion into the West Bank. As she struggles to "understand Israel," Sarah is forced to question first her beliefs, then ultimately her own identity.
Sarah Glidden won the prestigious Ignatz Award for "Most Promising New Talent" as well as the Masie Kukoc Award for Comics Inspiration. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies.
The Washington Post
This graphic memoir, the author's book-length debut, relates her eye-opening visit to Israel.
Before embarking on her "birthright" tour of Israel, Glidden explained to her non-Jewish boyfriend that "I'm ready to go there and discover the truth behind this whole mess once and for all. It'll all be crystal clear by the time I come back!" The narrative sustains that spirit of self-deprecating innocence throughout, making Glidden an effective guide through the trouble spots of the Middle East, though inevitably she returns home with more questions than answers, more ambivalence than assurance. Anticipating propaganda that would attempt to counter what she terms her "left-wing and progressive," pro-Palestinian sympathies, she met Israelis who shared some of her reservations and discovered that people whom she liked could have conflicting opinions on complex issues. "We ask only one thing of you and that is not to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine, but to be pro-peace," she heard at a speakers' panel of Jews and Muslims who had both lost loved ones to the conflict. By the end of her two-month tour, she realizes that peace in the Middle East is the ultimate goal, but that achieving it will be a very challenging process. She attempts some inventive narrative techniques, but the author would have to show more insight or more of an edge to give readers more than they already know.
A primer for those who aren't aware of the complexity of issues and emotions underlying this seemingly interminable strife.
- DC Comics
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Meet the Author
SARAH GLIDDEN won the prestigious Ignatz Award for "Most Promising new Talent" in 2008 for her self-published mini-comic version of HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL. She has also contributed to various collaborative book projects including Syncopated: An Anthology of Non-Fiction Picto-Essays, I Saw You...Comics Inspired by Real-life Missed Connections, and Awesome 2: Awesomer.
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It may be a strong assessment, but I think that the word "propaganda" is accurate.
Part memoir and part geopolitical expose, How to Understand Israel has taught me more about the Israel-Palestine conflict that just about anything else I've ever read. Finally I have a fair grasp of the complex historical background and the various layers of tension between the two groups. The author is frank about her own uncertainties and changes of opinion as her "Birthright Trip" proceeds, which makes this book much more approachable than the numerous academics texts on the same subject. For anyone who thinks that graphic novels are all about superheroes, prepare to be surprised. How to Understand Israel is smart, compassionate, and well worth the read.