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Houston Matters

A Veteran Returns To Iraq To Reflect On The ‘Places And Names’ Where He Fought

Elliot Ackerman discusses his memoir of fighting in Iraq and returning as a writer.



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Having survived several tours of duty in both in Iraq and Afghanistan, you’d think Elliot Ackerman wouldn’t be eager to go back to either of those places.

But, for his new memoir, the former Marine did just that.

Ackerman returned to Iraq to visit some of places where fought — like Fallujah, where he led a rifle platoon in the bloody second battle for that city. He went to see how those places had changed since he’d left — or hadn't changed at all.

And he talked with people there – even some he fought against, such as a former fighter for Al Qaeda in Iraq.

What resulted was Places and Names: On War, Revolution, and Returning.

In the audio above, Ackerman tells Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty why he wanted to return to Iraq, about his experiences there, and how the visit changed his thinking on the wars in which he fought. Their conversation was recorded at an event at Brazos Bookstore.

Ackerman has written several novels and was a finalist for the National Book Award for his 2017 book Dark at the Crossing.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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