Syrian journalist Hisham unleashes a searing broadside against a complacent world in this deeply personal memoir ... With the added power of illustrations by Molly Crabapple (Drawing Blood, 2015), Hisham demands that at least for the duration of this narrative readers pay attention to the unbridled violence within Syria ... Along with Crabapple’s haunting images, the author’s words offer both an elegy for what has been lost and an angry plea for all that remains. This is memoir at its most powerful, ensuring that we cannot forget lives we never knew.
Crabapple used vibrant, sometimes lurid color in the original magazine pieces, but the black-and-white illustrations in the book, carefully blotched and smudged, invite more thought ... Hisham, who, after attending a religious school in a village near Aleppo, became fascinated by European soccer and literature, is the ideal interlocutor for Western readers.
[Hisham's] viewpoint as a civilian struggling within the city, and especially his perspective on ISIS, is gripping. Brothers of the Gun tracks the Syrian civil war in both words and images from the ground and from the inside, offering one of the clearest explanations (even when it’s confessing befuddlement) of the war’s growth and the unrest that is its motor ... Crabapple is an accomplished artist, and her black-and-white images, varying in size from spot drawings to double-spreads, have a fluidity and dynamism that add to the text rather than distracting from it. Sometimes the deliberately ink-as-blood-splotched aesthetic of the book feels gratuitous — sensationalizing already dramatic images. One of the greatest strengths of the illustrations is their range.
A richly detailed, sometimes horrifying account of the Syrian civil war ... Hisham writes with a wryly observant eye for telling remarks ... [a] fast-moving account, which is enhanced by Crabapple’s powerful ink drawings ... A sharp, searing view of war from the front lines and an important contribution to understanding how a nation can disintegrate before one’s eyes.