This is a book about war. And other things. A series of small stories that combine to make the big book. Elliot Ackerman did FIVE tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and has also been a White House Fellow. He’s got a Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart. And he wrote this damn book, as well as a few others. In my book that makes him a stud.
This book is about perspective. There are descriptions of battle as well as a lot of relevant information about Turkey and the Kurds, something that has rocketed to the forefront of American politics as of late, so the timing is right.
I find books like this to be mandatory reading. Every single American should read this book, and others like it, but I fear that won’t happen. Heck, I know it won’t happen. People don’t want to get dirty. They don’t REALLY want to know.
One line really stuck with me. The author is routinely asked if he had ever killed anyone during his service. (He did.) But one answer that works is “If I did, you paid me to do it.” I think this sums up Places and Names, the war, the hypocrisy, the messiness of shifting lines and alliances, the deception and fluidity of foreign policy. It’s never dreamy because it’s all too human.
Get it, read it.