Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War

Uncertain Ground: Citizenship in an Age of Endless, Invisible War

By Phil Klay

"After serving in Iraq as an officer in the U. S. Marines, Klay returned home to produce two exceptional pieces of fiction shaped by his experience of war: the National Book Award-winning story collection Redeployment and the debut novel Missionaries, best-booked by the Wall Street Journal. Here he collects essays written over the past decade that explore what the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have really meant to the people of the United States, for whom the fighting itself has been essentially invisible.


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Book Information

Publisher: Penguin Press
Publish Date: 05/17/2022
Pages: 272
ISBN-13: 9780593299241
ISBN-10: 0593299248
Language: English

What We're Saying

November 29, 2022

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November 17, 2022

“This terrific collection of books balances the innovative with the iterative, and champions doing the right things the right way to make our work and our future tangibly better, no matter the industry or the endeavor.” READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

From the National Book Award-winning author of Redeployment and Missionaries, an astonishing fever graph of the effects of twenty years of war in a brutally divided America.

When Phil Klay left the Marines a decade ago after serving as an officer in Iraq, he found himself a part of the community of veterans who have no choice but to grapple with the meaning of their wartime experiences--for themselves and for the country. American identity has always been bound up in war--from the revolutionary war of our founding, to the civil war that ended slavery, to the two world wars that launched America as a superpower. What did the current wars say about who we are as a country, and how should we respond as citizens? Unlike in previous eras of war, relatively few Americans have had to do any real grappling with the endless, invisible conflicts of the post-9/11 world; in fact, increasingly few people are even aware they are still going on. It is as if these wars are a dark star with a strong gravitational force that draws a relatively small number of soldiers and their families into its orbit while remaining inconspicuous to most other Americans. In the meantime, the consequences of American military action abroad may be out of sight and out of mind, but they are very real indeed. This chasm between the military and the civilian in American life, and the moral blind spot it has created, is one of the great themes of Uncertain Ground, Phil Klay's powerful series of reckonings with some of our country's thorniest concerns, written in essay form over the past ten years. In the name of what do we ask young Americans to kill, and to die? In the name of what does this country hang together? As we see at every turn in these pages, those two questions have a great deal to do with each another, and how we answer them will go a long way toward deciding where our troubled country goes from here.

About the Author

Phil Klay is a veteran of the US Marine Corps and the author of Redeployment , which won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction, and Missionaries , which was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2020 by the Wall Street Journal.

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