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Join Molly Crabapple, co-author and illustrator of Brothers of The Gun, and Latoya Peterson, deputy editor at ESPN's The Undefeated for a reading, discussion, Q&A, and signing.
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.
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.
Brothers of the Gun is the story of young man coming of age during the Syrian war, from its inception to the present. Marwan 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 watched 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. Many books will be written on the war’s exhaustive devastation of bodies and souls, and the defiant resistance of many trapped men and women, but the Mahabharata of the Levant has already found its wisest chroniclers.”—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 . . . In great personal detail, Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple poignantly capture the tumultuous life in Syria before, after, and during the war—from inside one young man’s consciousness.”—Angela Davis
Molly Crabapple is an artist and writer in New York. Her memoir, Drawing Blood, was published by HarperCollins in 2015. Brothers of the Gun, her illustrated collaboration with Syrian war journalist Marwan Hisham, will be published by One World/Penguin Random House in May 2018. Her reportage has been published in the New York Times, New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, VICE, and elsewhere. The New Yorker described her 2017 mural "The Bore of Babylon" as "a terrifying amalgam of Hieronymus Bosch, Honoré Daumier, and Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” Her art is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Rubin Museum of Art and the New York Historical Society.
Latoya Peterson is deputy editor of digital innovation for ESPN’s The Undefeated, where she works across editorial, product and data teams to help implement trailblazing new forms of storytelling. Peterson is editor/owner of the award-winning blog, Racialicious, covering the intersection of race and pop culture. Forbes magazine named her one of its 30 Under 30 rising stars in media for 2013. Her work has been published in ESPN Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Essence, Spin, Vibe, Marie Claire, The American Prospect, the Guardian and others. Her honors and fellowships include being a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, focusing on mobile technology and digital access; a Harvard Berkman Center Affiliate, a Poynter Institute Sensemaking Fellow, and one of the inaugural Public Media Corps Fellows.