Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq” as Want to Read:
Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,630 ratings  ·  287 reviews
"An intricate investigation of how the reality of conflict gets filtered through personal, political, and journalistic narrative...This work—quiet but challenging, plain yet beautiful—exemplifies [Glidden's] skillful, sensitive reportage."—Library Journal Starred Review

Cartoonist Sarah Glidden accompanies her two friends—reporters and founders of a journalism non-profit—as
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Drawn and Quarterly
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rolling Blackouts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rolling Blackouts

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,630 ratings  ·  287 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq
Brian Burmeister
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“They forget that refugees are people. When people think of refugees, they think of people with dirty clothes. But refugees can be wealthy, Einstein was a refugee. They have skills; they have ideas.”—Sarah Glidden, Rolling Blackouts

We live in a global society, something that has been reinforced repeatedly in the months since President Trump took his oath of office. As we have heard of changes to our immigration policies and watched footage of subsequent protests at airports nationwide, we are re
David Schaafsma
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-political
When I think of comics journalism, I think of Joe Sacco. Incisive, self-deprecating, personal, honest about his limitations. No romanticizing the places, the people, respectful of sources as appropriate. Rolling Blackouts is new generation comics journalism, but with similar characteristics. Glidden is not a journalist, or wasn’t, really, but she went along for the ride with some young journalist friends, Sarah, Alex, Jessica (and Dan, an Iraq war vet) who had just formed their own collective to ...more
Julie Ehlers
I was pretty lukewarm on Sarah Glidden's last book, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, so I wasn't expecting too much from this one. I'm happy to report that it exceeded my expectations dramatically. In Rolling Blackouts, some independent journalist friends of Glidden head to Iraq and Syria to report on the post–Iraq War situation in those countries, particularly as it concerns refugees. Glidden comes along to report on their reporting, and this book is the result. It's very valuable b ...more
Mar 05, 2017 marked it as zz-dnf
I made it to 104 pages before I decided to DNF this.

While I appreciated what this book was/is trying to do, it is an absolute snore-fest (or at least the parts till I read were). There were certain moments understated and powerful in their subtlety but the presence of the ex-soldier who compared his time in the military as a time spent with friends having fun took away all and any reason I had to read this. Actual people died, the majority of whom the Americans killed, in the Iraqi war and this
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
...(trying to think of someway to word how important this book has touched me without immediately erasing, then re-typing, then erasing, because these emotions are too raw for me to convey in such a form)...
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Oh how I long for half star increments!!!

More later... this is complicated and important
Follows Glidden's journey with journalist friends of hers to the Middle East.

It's fascinating to read about the journalistic processes of this up-and-coming group of reporters. How do they function as independent journalists? How do they formulate and choose their stories?
This follows one story-gathering trip from an outsiders perspective, so it was very accessible. I was particularly intrigued with the way technology influenced their methods - YouTube, the internet, recorders. There's a lot o
Elizabeth A
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphix, non-fiction, 2016
What is journalism? How are stories retold? Where do memory and truth meet? These are some of the questions explored in this wonderful graphic nonfiction book. This is timely read for our times, when there are unprecedented numbers of refugees and displaced people on the planet.

The author is not a journalist, but goes along with two journalist friends and a former Marine, as they travel around Turkey, Iraq, and Syria trying to understand the effects of the Iraq War on the people who lived in the
Kristen Merke
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I have met the author in person and had an unfavorable interaction. I went into this book already negatively biased, however I did my very best to remain open and read it start to finish to ensure I gave it my best chance.

That being said... This book is incredibly problematic and though I don't think it was the author's intention the book directly contributes to the false and negative stereotypes of the Middle East and The Iraq War.

I will start with some positives, because though my
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stewart Tame
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was quite good. Glidden accompanied a few friends, Sarah, Alex, and Jessica--who formed their own journalism collective--on a trip to Turkey, Syria, and Iraq to collect material for some stories dealing with the Iraq war and its aftermath. Also along on the trip is Dan, an American Iraq War veteran who wants to see how the country has changed in the intervening years. Sarah thinks there could be a story in his reactions and observations. At the core of the book is the basic question of what ...more
Audacia Ray
The stories of this book all take place during a 2010 trip to Turkey, Iraq, and Syria - when Syria was the most stable of the places the group visits. American military invasion in Iraq is the central backdrop; it's really a book about how journalism is done, plus struggles with what the US has wrought in the Middle East. The main characters are a group of white American journalists and a vet who served in Iraq. Most of the action of the book are interviews and conversations, with only a little ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cartoonist, two journalists, and a former Marine set off together for the Middle East, researching potential stories on the effects of the Iraq war. There are about a million questions and complexities that arise throughout. The current affairs kick to the gut is when they make a stop in a thriving Syria (2010) meeting and interviewing Iraqi refugees already living in a state of limbo, waiting for the green light to resettle and start a new life.

Rolling Blackouts has been both praised and sla
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic, memoir
This book is a masterpiece. From the thoughtful storyline (I will be thinking about this book for a long time) and its important subjects to the beautiful, delicate artwork, I was completely won over. I hope it wins a Pulitzer.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Glidden is a huge talent. I thoroughly enjoyed the tastefully rendered watercolours, complex storytelling and her cross section of the refugee crisis, the art of journalism, and the effects of US military invasions in the Middle East.

Joe Sacco is a good reference point but I also think Guy DeLisle’s Middle East work has parallels. All 3 artists take enormous risks in telling their stories. They travel from distant lands to immerse themselves in a foreign culture that is both fascinating and comp
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a really fascinating and important book. I think Glidden overreached a bit, and that her publisher did her a disservice by not reigning her in some, but this is still an amazing accomplishment.

Here's the setup: Glidden accompanies two journalist friends on a trip to the Middle East. The reporters are seeking out untold stories, like those of displaced Kurds in Iraq, Iranian refugees in Turkey, and Iraqis who fled to Syria. Glidden is there to investigate, essentially, how journalism work
Sam Sattler
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Frankly, I had doubts about Sarah Glidden’s decision to use “comic panels” to tell the intriguing story of her visit to Turkey, Syria, and Iraq with her two journalist friends and a friend of theirs who just happened to have seen military action in Iraq as an American soldier. I have read two or three graphic novels and enjoyed the way that the panels added to the overall emotional impact of the novels, but Rolling Blackouts is my first experience with graphic nonfiction. I am happy to report th ...more
It was exciting to know that a graphic novel covering the Middle Eastern conflict was coming out. When I opened the package, the hardcover edition and the watercolor panels further ramped up the excitement levels. But around a few pages into the work, realization struck that the work wont be ‘working’ for me.

Glidden tags along to Turkey, Syria and Iraq with a few of her friends who had set up a media collective. Through the journey, she hoped to document the American intervention and the proces
Vivekanand Sridhar
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been a fan of Sarah Glidden since her first book on Israel and had been waiting for this book for the past 3 months. Read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Her constant hesitancy in approaching complex issues like the invasion of Iraq as an observer and assimilator instead of someone who holds a strong opinion is much like my own.

What makes the book even more intriguing is that this is not just comic journalism in a war-torn area like the books by Joe Sacco ; this is also a book on
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
'What is journalism?'. Sarah Glidden's latest graphic novel examines this question as it tells the story of Glidden, two friends of hers who are journalists and an ex-Marine on a trip through Turkey, Iraq and Syria. As potential stories are researched, and the impact of the American invasion of Iraq on the area is explored, Glidden also provides fascinating details on the journalistic profession and the challenges it faces. Highly recommended.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I love about Rolling Blackouts is that it isn’t about war, per say, but about the experience of being a journalist in a conflict area. As an outsider, it was interesting to read about the ethical struggles these young journalists faced while reporting stories, but not being able to help the Kurds more hands on. Tough stuff, for sure.
Never really captured my interest - I read through but did not feel engaged with the journalists and their story. Was hoping for more.
A Man Called Ove
A very tedious read. The book is repetitive and bland. Wonder why the author's journalist friends kept pestering the soldier Dan who accompanied them on this trip ! Why cant the "liberals" just agree to disagree with him and move on ? A much better travelogue through the same regions in the same time-period is "A Stranger to History" by Aatish Taseer.
So unlike the beautifully written "How to understand Israel in 60 days" by the same author.
Dov Zeller
This is a beautiful book, some combination of travel journal, graphic documentary, investigative journalism, and essay on journalism as a form of media/communication. Glidden travels with a small group of reporters who are working to piece together an article/articles about the effects of the Iraq War in the Middle East, paricularly the experiences of refugees, Iraqi and Kurdish. Accompanying Sarah Glidden, Sarah Stuteville, Alex Stonehill (and sometimes Jessica Partnow) is Stueville's childhood ...more
K.W. Colyard
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews

Even after decades of U.S. military involvement, the Middle East remains a mystery to many --- if not most --- people in the West. In Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, Sarah Glidden offers a work of meta-journalism that chronicles the experiences of a small band of reporters as they trek through areas many of us may never visit to gather the stories of individuals impacted by U.S. involvement in Middle Eastern affairs. The result is an intimate view of the journalistic

Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sarah Glidden's graphic novel, Rolling Blackouts is a book about the author traveling with journalists to document them documenting a story in the Middle East in the 21st century. She joins a crew of journalist friends who are bringing along a former soldier to document stories they found in Iraq and Syria. The team interviews many Iraqis and Kurds and There's a lot that I liked about this book I found at my library.

I like that it was both travelogue and an examination of regional issues. I lov
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was such a powerful read about interviewing the refugees in 2010, post-Iraq War; the graphic memoir format making it "easier" in a sense to process. It solidified the fact that I am SO ignorant of all that is going on, the different perspectives, the true effects of war, and how we (I) am in such a bubble living in America. I mean for the most part, we don't have to worry about Canada and Mexico attacking us. And if the states weren't united to make the USA, it'd give us a glimpse of what's ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is great and one of the reasons why comics are important and amazing. Me reading a memoir about a journalism trip to the Middle East would probably not have happened anytime soon, but because this story was a comic I read it and now feel like a more informed human being. I had no clue about the Iraq war and invasion in the early 2000s. Glidden does a really great job making the story interesting and informative.

The art isn't fantastic; it's not unpleasant but it doesn't amaze me. However if
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was fascinated by Sarah Glidden's graphic nonfiction account of her time following a group of journalists as they chased stories in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The extent to which the region was destabilized by the two invasions of Iraq is obvious. Of course there were some groups that benefited at the time but many more people lost their homes, livelihoods and even family members. The US and other invading forces believed that the middle class would rebuild a safe and independent Iraqi state but ...more
World Literature Today
"Sarah Glidden’s project is twofold: to try to define journalism on her travels as an observer and to record the human fallout of the Iraq War in the region. In 2010 she accompanied several journalists in the Seattle Globalist coalition, who wanted to cover stories ignored in the mainstream media, on a two-month trip to the Middle East in order to document their trip. Glidden is both documenting the trip and recording her own interactions—hence my sobriquet “docu/memoir.” As Sebastian Meyer, an ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ABQ Graphic Novel...: * January 2019: Rolling Blackouts 4 12 Jan 08, 2019 08:29PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Algeria Is Beautiful Like America
  • Hostage
  • Exit Wounds
  • Safe Area Goražde: The War in Eastern Bosnia, 1992-1995
  • Here
  • The Home That Was Our Country: A Memoir of Syria
  • Palestine
  • A Game for Swallows: To Die, to Leave, to Return
  • Journalism
  • Year of the Rabbit
  • Threads: From the Refugee Crisis
  • The Best We Could Do
  • Chroniques de Jérusalem
  • The Customer is Always Wrong
  • Shenzhen: A Travelogue from China
  • The Property
  • A Fire Story
  • Paying the Land
See similar books…
Sarah Glidden was born in 1980 in Massachusetts and earned a BFA in painting at Boston University. Her first graphic novel, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, was published by Vertigo Comics in 2010 and was featured in the Best American Comics series. It is now published by Drawn and Quarterly, as is her second book, Rolling Blackouts, which will be released in October, 2016. Glidden has ...more

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
50 likes · 11 comments