Rolling Blackouts : Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq
by Glidden, Sarah

"Sarah Glidden's remarkable Rolling Blackouts adds a new twist to the [graphic journalism] form. Glidden accompanies a team of journalists through Syria and Iraq and her muted watercolours record not only the lives of people in war zones but the way the media interacts with them. Highly recommended."-The Guardian

Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends-reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit-as they research potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East and, specifically, the war's refugees. Joining the trio is a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq adds an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint, both to the people they come across and perhaps even themselves.

As the crew works their way through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, Glidden observes the reporters as they ask civilians, refugees, and officials, "Who are you?" Everyone has a story to tell: the Iranian blogger, the United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, the Iraqi refugee deported from the US, the Iraqis seeking refuge in Syria, and even the American Marine.

Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) records all that she encounters with a sympathetic and searching eye. Painted in her trademark soft, muted watercolors and written with a self-effacing humor, Rolling Blackouts cements Glidden's place as one of today's most original nonfiction voices.

Sarah Glidden's debut book, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less landed on several best of the year lists, including Entertainment Weekly; earned a YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens distinction; and won an Ignatz Award. A graduate of Boston University, she now lives in Seattle.

Splitting the difference between comics journalism and graphic autobiography, cartoonist Glidden joins two friends, members of a nonprofit journalism collective, on a reporting trip to the Middle East. They're accompanied by Dan, a childhood friend and ex-marine whose return to Iraq will be part of their story. There's much merit in Glidden's re-creations of the pair's interviews with refugees-particularly an Iraqi refugee deported from the U.S. for alleged terrorist ties-and in her depictions of the hard work of gathering background and lining up interview sources. But even more revealing are the insights into the journalistic process itself. At every turn, the group faces professional and ethical considerations, from the need as freelancers to market their stories to potential publishers to the awkwardness of questioning Dan about his role in the war. Glidden's simple illustrations are more functional than flamboyant but enhanced by graceful pastel watercoloring, they effectively convey the text-heavy story. At a time when the value of journalism is widely dismissed, her sympathetic portrayal of these idealistic practitioners makes a strong case for the profession's necessity. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

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