Elliot Ackerman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Elliot Ackerman
Ackerman at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Ackerman at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1980-04-12) April 12, 1980 (age 38)
Alma materTufts University,
Fletcher School
Notable awardsSilver Star,
Purple Heart
Years active2013 to present

Elliot Ackerman (born April 12, 1980) is an American author. He is the son of businessman Peter Ackerman and author Joanne Leedom-Ackerman and the brother of mathematician and wrestler Nate Ackerman.

Early life[edit]

At the age of nine, his family moved to London.[1] The family moved back to Washington, DC, when he was fifteen.[1]

Ackerman studied literature and history at Tufts University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2003, completing a special program in which he earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in five years, rather than the usual six.[2] He holds a master's degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He also completed many of the United States military’s most challenging special operations training courses.[citation needed]


Beginning in 2003,[3] Ackerman served eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps, working as both an infantry and special operations officer. He served multiple tours of duty in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. As a Marine Corps Special Operations Team Leader, he was the primary combat advisor to a 700-man Afghan commando battalion responsible for capture operations against senior Taliban leadership. He also led a 75-man platoon that aided in relief operations in post-Katrina New Orleans. He was briefly attached to the Ground Branch of the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division.[4]

Ackerman served as Chief Operating Officer of Americans Elect, a political organization founded and chaired by his father, Peter Ackerman, and continues to serve on its Board of Advisors. Americans Elect is known primarily for its efforts to stage a national online primary for the 2012 US Presidential Election. As one of its officers, Ackerman was interviewed extensively, notably on NPR's Talk of the Nation.[5]

Ackerman has served on the board of the Afghan Scholars Initiative and as an advisor to the No Greater Sacrifice scholarship fund.[6] Most recently, Ackerman served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration.[6]

Ackerman's fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Ecotone and others. He is also a contributor to The Daily Beast. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has been interviewed in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal and appeared on Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report, NPR's Talk of the Nation, Meet the Press, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Al Jazeera and PBS NewsHour among others.

Ackerman's first novel, Green on Blue, was published February 17, 2015 by Scribner. Tom Bissell of the New York Times Book Review said,

"Like all novels written in skilled, unadorned prose about men and women of action, this novel will probably be compared to Hemingway’s work. In this case, however, the comparison seems unusually apt…Elliot Ackerman has done something brave as a writer and even braver as a soldier: He has touched, for real, the culture and soul of his enemy.”[7]

The Los Angeles Review of Books describes the novel as a "radical departure from veterans writing thus far" due to his choice of a first-person narrator, the lowly Aziz, a poor soldier in a local militia.[8] The Stars and Stripes review described Green on Blue and Phil Klay's Redeployment as carrying "the sting of authenticity and the sensory expression of experiences lived".[9]

Ackerman's second novel Dark at the Crossing, was published January 24, 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf. Reception was positive, with Library Journal writing in a starred review, "Here is a thriller, psychological fiction, political intrigue, and even a love story all wrapped into a stunningly realistic and sometimes horrifying package. Put Ackerman on the A-list." [10] In The New York Times Book Review the novelist Lawrence Osborne wrote, "One could argue that the most vital literary terrain in America’s overseas wars is now occupied not by journalists but by novelists...Elliot Ackerman is certainly one of those novelists...He has created people who are not the equivalents of the locally exotic subjects in your average NPR story, and he has used them to populate a fascinating and topical novel." [11] The novel was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2017. Ackerman was a featured author at the Miami Book Fair in 2017.[12]

Awards and honors[edit]

Ackerman is a decorated veteran, having earned a Silver Star and Purple Heart for his role leading a Rifle Platoon in the November 2004 Second Battle of Fallujah[13] and a Bronze Star for Valor while leading a Marine Corps Special Operations Team in Afghanistan in 2008.[6] Ackerman is also a recipient of the Major General Edwin B. Wheeler Award for Infantry Excellence. For his writing he has been named a finalist for both the National Book Award for Dark at the Crossing, as well as a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for his novel Green on Blue.[14]

Select bibliography[edit]


  • "Goodbye, My Brother". Esquire Mar 23, 2017
  • "A West Point Literature Professor's Inspiring Plea for Creativity in Our Military". The New Republic Oct 27, 2014
  • "Hometown Heroes". War, Literature and the Arts October 3, 2014
  • "Pictures from My War". The New Yorker Sep 21, 2014
  • "Watching ISIS Come to Power Again". The Daily Beast Sep 7, 2014
  • "Charlie Balls". Ecotone, Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2013, pp. 81–90
  • "Airstrikes and the U.S. Strategy to Combat ISIS ". The Daily Beast Aug 8, 2014
  • "The Islamic State's Strategy Was Years In the Making". The New Republic Aug 8, 2014
  • "Waiting Out the Afghan War". The New Yorker Aug 6, 2014[15]
  • "Syria's War Poets". The Atlantic Jul 28, 2014
  • "Four Hundred Grand". The Daily Beast Jul 6, 2014
  • "A Black Flag and a Rainbow Flag". The New Yorker Jul 2, 2014
  • "Watching ISIS Flourish Where We Once Fought". The New Yorker Jun 17, 2014
  • "The Wounds Caused By Friendly Fire". The New Yorker Jun 12, 2014
  • "The Bored Horsemen of the Apocalypse ". The Daily Beast Jun 9, 2014
  • "I Was a Marine in Afghanistan: Bowe Bergdahl Haunted Us All". The New Republic Jun 4, 2014
  • "Extraordinary Bravery on the Streets of Fallujah". The New Republic May 25, 2014
  • "The US Marine Who Disappeared in Syria". The Daily Beast May 3, 2014
  • "A Man to Believe In". The Daily Beast Mar 5, 2014
  • "Joyce Carol Oates Goes to War". The Daily Beast Jan 30, 2014
  • "I Fought at Fallujah. Here's What I Think About When People Ask If It Was Worth It". The New Republic Jan 13, 2014
  • "The Case for Female SEALs". The Atlantic Dec 24, 2013
  • "Greg Baxter's 'The Apartment'". The Daily Beast Dec 12, 2013


  • Green on Blue: A Novel[16]
  • Dark at the Crossing: A Novel. Knopf, 2017. ISBN 978-1101947371
  • Waiting for Eden. Knopf, 2018. ISBN 978-1101947395


  1. ^ a b "Safe on the Southbank". nytimes.com.
  2. ^ "From War Zones to the White House: Elliot Ackerman (F03) Translates Fletcher Experience into Diverse Career Path - Tufts Fletcher School". tufts.edu.
  3. ^ Michael Blanding. "The Opposite of Fear: In the Battle of Fallujah, a Marine Platoon Learns What Its Leader Is Made Of". Tufts Magazine. Tufts Publications.
  4. ^ "Assassination and the American Language". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-11-03.
  5. ^ National Public Radio. Talk of the Nation, July 26, 2011.
  6. ^ a b c "Press Release: White House Appoints 2012-2013 Class Of White House Fellows". Whitehouse.gov. White House Office of the Press Secretary. 4 September 2012.
  7. ^ Bissell, Tom (2015-02-27). "Elliot Ackerman's 'Green on Blue'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-29.
  8. ^ "Afghanistan: A Stage Without a Play - The Los Angeles Review of Books". The Los Angeles Review of Books.
  9. ^ "Back from the battlefield: Iraq, Afghanistan vets produce a surge of great fiction". Stars and Stripes.
  10. ^ "Library Journal Fiction Reviews: September 15, 2016".
  11. ^ "The New York Times Book Review: February 5, 2017, pg BR17".
  12. ^ "2017 National Book Awards". www.nationalbook.org. Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  13. ^ Gunnery Sgt. Demetrio J. Espinosa (16 January 2007). "The Face of Defense: Marine Earns Silver Star for Courage Under Fire". defense.gov. Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 29 May 2011.
  14. ^ "2016 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Finalists". www.daytonliterarypeaceprize.org. Retrieved 2017-11-21.
  15. ^ Elliot Ackerman (6 August 2014). "Waiting Out the Afghan War". The New Yorker. Condé Nast.
  16. ^ Green on Blue: A Novel. Scribner. 17 February 2015. ISBN 978-1-4767-7857-0.

External links[edit]