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The Wolf of Baghdad: Memoir of a Lost Land

by Carol Isaacs
2020 / 208 pages

For more than 2,000 years, Jews have lived in Baghdad and as late as the 1940s a third of the city’s population was Jewish. But within a decade most of Iraq’s 150,000 Jews had fled the country, such that in 2016 there may have been only 5 Jews left in Baghdad.

In this impactful graphic novel, Carol Isaacs has a woman walking through the deserted streets of the city, but seeing ghosts of a sort. These aren’t the dead though, but memories of how life used to be – as she wanders we see a shadow of what used to be, with see-though Jews and others living side by side as they once did. The presentation is all the more powerful for how Isaacs pairs wordless comic pages – the woman walking with no one to talk to – with a full page highlighting a quote from one of the exiles, also recalling what once was.

This is not a book for the reluctant reader, as it needs to be pondered, not flipped through. But for a history lover, this will be powerful.

There are no cautions. I did wonder if a Jewish history might present a Jewish understanding of God, but the Jewish religion hardly comes up.

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