Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty with the Marine Corps in Iraq and Afghanistan, receiving both the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for Valor. Readers could be forgiven for expecting his novels to be heroic war narratives. Instead, his 2015 debut, “Green on Blue,” took the point of view of a young Pashtun named Aziz serving in an American-funded Afghan militia that is secretly engaged in collusion with the Taliban forces it was created to fight. The ominous title refers to the military term for attacks on coalition forces by their supposed Afghan allies.

Mr. Ackerman broke not just with expectations but also with some of our reigning orthodoxies. He transgressed the unwritten (but much spoken) rule against appropriating the experiences of other races or ethnicities. Just as provocatively, he gave Americans mere bit parts in a drama centered on remote mountain villagers whose loyalties are to themselves and their way of life.


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