Reviews

  • Elliot Ackerman writes beautifully about war - especially the new wars of the Middle East through fiction and now non-fiction. His exceptional memoir is really a double memoir of his own experiences as a Marine and those of a Jihadist fighter he befriends in a refugee camp. The result is a superb, uniqueand unforgettable story of war and death, fear and cruelty, above all the horrors and allure of combat.

    Simon Sebag Montefiore
  • Elliot Ackerman's voice scares me. It's a bit too close for comfort. He sees too much and he knows too much, and that makes him a great guide to today's post-everything Middle East. Read him at your own risk - but ignore this book at your own peril.

    Thomas E. Ricks, author of ‘Making the Corps,’ ‘Fiasco,’ and ‘Churchill and Orwell'
  • Rare is the writer who can illuminate either the experience of the individual or the larger context of the times in which we live. Elliot Ackerman manages to do both. He is as adept at describing the strange cocktail of emotions that accompany the moments preceding combat as he is unraveling the Gordian Knot of contemporary geopolitics. That he does so in the graceful, lucid prose fans of his fiction have come to admire is even more remarkable. Places and Names is an extraordinarily beautiful and insightful work of memoir and journalism by a writer who deserves to be read widely.

    Kevin Powers
  • How often does one encounter a novel as perfectly shaped, as fresh, as subtle and as explosive as this? I couldn't turn away from Elliot Ackerman's latest taut wonder, and when I got to the final page, I wanted to start all over again, in the light of the haunting last words. Patiently, and unflinchingly, Ackerman is becoming one of the great poet laureates of America's tragic adventurism across the globe.

    Pico Iyer
  • When I finished Elliot Ackerman's Places and Names my copy was covered with bracketed paragraphs and underlined phrases. There is no surer indicator of a book filled with insight and good writing. Ackerman's honest searching to come to terms with his war experience helped me better understand my own. This book is a gift that should be shared with every American who helped pay for people like Ackerman to fight their wars for them.

    Karl Marlantes, prize-winning author of Matterhorn and Deep River
  • Places and Names is its own profile in courage: the story of how a Marine turned reporter struggled with the polemics of desolation in the Middle East. Elliot Ackerman is a man of both action and thought, and his book is closely observed, rigorously lived, and clarifying for all of us who have not understood how U.S. policy in the Islamic world went so terribly wrong.

    Andrew Solomon, author of 'Far and Away', 'Far From the Tree', and 'The Noonday Demon'
  • In Places and Names, Elliot Ackerman, a soldier turned writer, seeks out his former foes and confronts his own memories on battlefields where the killing continues. The result is one of the most profound books I have ever read about the real nature of war and the abstract allure of the ideas and the bloodshed that fuels it.

    Jon Lee Anderson
  • Places and Names is a brilliant and gripping account of the aftermath of failed wars and revolutions, and of the still burning idealism that smolders in the wreckage. Elliot Ackerman brings a novelist's skill with language, a reporter's eye for detail, and his life experience as a highly decorated Marine veteran of five deployments to bear in this unique and powerful meditation on violence, heroism, and the fracturing of the Middle East."

    Phil Klay, National Book Award winning author of ‘Redeployment’
  • What a great, honest book-the kind that makes one feel lucky to have in one's hands. Ackerman has served his country twice: first as an infantryman in our nations wars, and then as a guide-wise beyond his years-who helps us understand what we've done. His prose is easy and comfortable like an old jacket. His understanding of war is so profound that one feels like secrets have been revealed-truths-information that one day may be necessary for our survival. Well done.

    Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe
  • Elliot Ackerman fought the Long War, and now, with Places and Names, he gives us a searingly honest record of his ongoing effort to make sense of the war. This is, literally, a book of wanderings; Ackerman's sojourns to conflict zones, old battlefields, and muddy refugee camps recall the wanderings of that earlier soldier, Odysseus, as he struggles to come home from war, and, no less than his predecessor, Ackerman finds himself journeying through the shadow world of ghosts and spirits that go by the name of memory. Vivid, profound, restless, and relentlessly probing, Places and Names is destined to become a classic of the Long War.

    Ben Fountain, author of 'Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk'