Award-winning Glidden’s second full-length work (after How To Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) is an intricate investigation of how the reality of conflict gets filtered through personal, political, and journalistic narrative. In Israel, leaders of the author’s Birthright tour informed her experience, and she was both critical and thoughtful about the views presented to her. Here, the storytellers are her journalist friends seeking accounts of displaced Iraqis, the refugees themselves, and ex-marine Dan, who has served in Iraq and has his own understanding of war and its aftermath. Glidden spends most of the book documenting the trip but also parses the nature of journalism in our society of ephemeral online connectivity and polarized politics. As more involved works in this genre generate less popular buy-in and exposure, how are the crises of the world in conflict shared? To what end? Glidden’s understated, face-focused illustration style gets under your skin—by removing her own personality from the writing, the author sucks readers in so deeply that you really feel present, seeing her journey through her eyes.
Verdict: Glidden puts great care into everything she does, and this work—quiet but challenging, plain yet beautiful—exemplifies her skillful, sensitive reportage.