Elliot Ackerman

Elliot Ackerman

Ackerman at the 2015 Texas Book Festival.
Born (1980-04-12) April 12, 1980
Citizenship American
Alma mater Tufts University,
Fletcher School
Genre fiction
Notable awards Silver Star,
Purple Heart
Years active 2013 to present

Elliot Ackerman (born April 12, 1980) is an American author, currently based out of Istanbul.[1] He is the son of businessman Peter Ackerman and author Joanne Leedom-Ackerman and the brother of mathematician and wrestler Nate Ackerman.

Early life

At the age of 9, his family moved to London.[2] The family moved back to Washington, DC when he was 15.[2]


Beginning in 2003,[3] Ackerman spent eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps 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 operated as 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.[1] He was also briefly attached to the Ground Branch of the Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division.

The cover of Green on Blue, Ackerman's debut novel.

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.[4]

Ackerman has served on the board of the Afghan Scholars Initiative and as an advisor to the No Greater Sacrifice scholarship fund.[5] Most recently, Ackerman served as a White House Fellow in the Obama Administration.[5] He currently lives in Istanbul with his wife and two children and writes on the Syrian Civil War.[6]

Ackerman's fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, Ecotone and others. He is also a contributor to The Daily Beast, and 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. Reception has been positive, with Publishers Weekly noting that the novel "is bleak and uncompromising, a powerful war story that borders on the noir."[7] An early critical mention in 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] In Stars and Stripes, Green on Blue and Phil Klay's Redeployment were described as carrying "the sting of authenticity and the sensory expression of experiences lived."[9]


Ackerman studied literature and history at Tufts University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 2003, in a special program to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in 5 years, rather than the usual six.[10] He holds a master's degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and has completed many of the United States military’s most challenging special operations training courses.

Awards and honors

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[11] and a Bronze Star for Valor while leading a Marine Corps Special Operations Team in Afghanistan in 2008.[5] Ackerman is also a recipient of the Major General Edwin B. Wheeler Award for Infantry Excellence.

Select bibliography




  1. 1 2 "Elliot Ackerman". elliotackerman.com. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Safe on the Southbank". nytimes.com.
  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. National Public Radio. Talk of the Nation, July 26, 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 "Press Release: White House Appoints 2012-2013 Class Of White House Fellows". Whitehouse.gov. White House Office of the Press Secretary. 4 September 2012.
  6. "Elliot Ackerman". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  7. "Green on Blue". Publishers Weekly. PWxyz, LLC. Retrieved 1 January 2015..
  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. "From War Zones to the White House: Elliot Ackerman (F03) Translates Fletcher Experience into Diverse Career Path - Tufts Fletcher School". tufts.edu.
  11. 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.
  12. Elliot Ackerman (6 August 2014). "Waiting Out the Afghan War". The New Yorker. Condé Nast.
  13. Green on Blue: A Novel. Scribner. 17 February 2015. ISBN 978-1-4767-7857-0.
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