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Sep 12, 2023

Yesterday’s anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States has us turning to the legacy of America’s post-9/11 wars. As veterans reflect on their time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and as the country contemplates the impact of these wars on the morale of the US military and America’s standing in the world, literature offers a powerful way to make meaning from war’s experience.

From Ernest Hemingway to Kurt Vonnegut and J.D. Salinger, the author-soldier has long been a fixture in American literature. In this episode of None Of The Above, the Eurasia Group Foundation’s Mark Hannah is joined by two of his favorite contemporary novelists, veterans Elliot Ackerman and Phil Klay. Books, they argue, are more than a medium to unpack trauma and untangle the web of emotions war provokes: war stories have implications for the battles we have yet to fight.

Elliot Ackerman is a veteran of the US Marine Corps who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Elliot is the author of several novels, including Halcyon (2023) and 2034 (2021), which he co-wrote with Admiral James Stavridis. 

Phil Klay is a veteran of the US Marine Corps who served in Iraq. Phil is the author of the novels Redeployment (2014) and Missionaries (2020). His most recent book is Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in the Age of Endless, Invisible War (2022).

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