Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War

Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War Review

A bracingly immediate memoir by a young man coming of age during the Syrian war, Brothers of the Gun is an intimate lens on the century's bloodiest conflict and a profound meditation on kinship, home, and freedom.

"This powerful memoir, illuminated with Molly Crabapple's extraordinary art, provides a rare lens through which we can see a region in deadly conflict."--Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy

In 2011, Marwan Hisham and his two friends--fellow working-class college students Nael and Tareq--joined the first protests of the Arab Spring in Syria, in response to a recent massacre. Arm-in-arm they marched, poured Coca-Cola into one another's eyes to blunt the effects of tear gas, ran from the security forces, and cursed the country's president, Bashar al-Assad. It was ecstasy. A long-bottled revolution was finally erupting, and freedom from a brutal dictator seemed, at last, imminent. Five years later, the three young friends were scattered: one now an Islamist revolutionary, another dead at the hands of government soldiers, and the last, Marwan, now a journalist in Turkish exile, trying to find a way back to a homeland reduced to rubble.

Marwan was there to witness and document firsthand the Syrian war, from its inception to the present. He watched from the rooftops as regime warplanes bombed soldiers; as revolutionary activist groups, for a few dreamy days, spray-painted hope on Raqqa; as his friends died or threw in their lot with Islamist fighters. He became a journalist by courageously tweeting out news from a city under siege by ISIS, the Russians, and the Americans all at once. He saw the country that ran through his veins--the country that held his hopes, dreams, and fears--be destroyed in front of him, and eventually joined the relentless stream of refugees risking their lives to escape.

Illustrated with more than eighty ink drawings by Molly Crabapple that bring to life the beauty and chaos, Brothers of the Gun offers a ground-level reflection on the Syrian revolution--and how it bled into international catastrophe and global war. This is a story of pragmatism and idealism, impossible violence and repression, and, even in the midst of war, profound acts of courage, creativity, and hope.

"From the anarchy, torment, and despair of the Syrian war, Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple have drawn a book of startling emotional power and intellectual depth."--Pankaj Mishra, author of Age of Anger and From the Ruins of Empire

"A revelatory and necessary read on one of the most destructive wars of our time."--Angela Davis

Title:Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War

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    Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War Reviews

  • Murtaza

    This was an absolutely beautiful book, for the writing, the illustrations as well as the story that it tells. It is, in effect, the story of the revolution in northern Syria told through the life of o...

  • Asma

    Tear gas burns our eyes. Nael, Tareq, and I are standing with hundreds of other protesters in the street in front of al Mansouri Mosque, gagging on the tear gas lobbed at us by the military. Our fac...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    From the National Book Award longlist for non-fiction comes this illustrated memoir of the Syrian war. The author is a native of Raqqa, the first city in Syria to be overtaken by religious fundamental...

  • Paul

    Brothers of the Gun is a book about the pull of one’s native land, Mosul and Aleppo, but most importantly, Raqqa, where Marwan studies, works, grows up, and reports to the world. This is the pull th...

  • Jade

    Brothers of the Gun by Marwan Hisham is a memoir of life in Syria during the ongoing war, from the start of the revolution in 2011 until now. Marwan Hisham tells us his story, of being a young man in ...

  • John

    I received this book as an advance copy for review purposes.Frankly Amazing, it starts off a seemingly good but routine memoir of catastrophe, but it suddenly changes to something remarkable a little ...

  • Leo Walsh

    A very good, insightful memoir by Marwan Hisham, a Syrian journalist. It chronicles life in the country before and after ISIS. And makes it clear that even conservative Syrians, like Hisham's traditio...

  • Booxoul

    Review of Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War by Marwan Hisham and Molly CrabappleOne of the best things I did was to read Brothers of the Gun. I loved every minute of it. It had all the e...

  • Siobhan

    I bought this out of love for Molly Crabapple's work, and ongoing interest in the Syrian conflict, and wound up blown away by the writing. He gives such a layered, nuanced and HUMAN account of varied ...

  • Karin

    This book is intense. A memoir of a young man living in Syria in the early- mid 2010s and the unrest that's occurred in that time. I hope Americans read this and see how many parallels we have with th...