How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less

Sarah Glidden, Author, Sarah Glidden, Illustrator
Sarah Glidden, DC/Vertigo, $24.99 paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4012-2233-8
Reviewed on: 08/30/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-85768-059-4
Hardcover - 206 pages - 978-0-85768-042-6
Paperback - 206 pages - 978-1-4012-2234-5
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Glidden, a progressive American Jew who is sharply critical of Israeli policies vis-à-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. (Oct.)
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