Green on Blue

A Novel

Green on Blue

From the author of Waiting for Eden and the National Book Award Finalist Dark at the Crossing, a “compassionate, provocative, and alive” ( debut war story about a young Afghan orphan, “Green on Blue is harrowing, brutal, and utterly absorbing. With spare prose, Ackerman has spun a morally complex tale of revenge, loyalty, and brotherly love” (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner).

Aziz and his older brother Ali are coming of age in a village amid the pine forests and endless mountains of eastern Afghanistan. They are poor, but inside their mud-walled home, the family has stability, love, and routine. One day a convoy of armed men arrives in their village and their world crumbles. The boys survive and make their way to a small city, where they gradually begin to piece together their lives. But when US forces invade the country, militants strike back. A bomb explodes in the market, and Ali is brutally injured.

To save his brother, Aziz must join the Special Lashkar, a US-funded militia. As he rises through the ranks, Aziz becomes mired in the dark underpinnings of his country’s war, witnessing clashes between rival Afghan groups—what US soldiers call “green on green” attacks—and those on US forces by Afghan soldiers, violence known as “green on blue.” Trapped in a conflict both savage and contrived, Aziz struggles to understand his place. Will he embrace the brutality of war or leave it behind, and risk placing his brother—and a young woman he has come to love—in jeopardy?

Green on Blue has broken new ground in the literature of our most recent wars, accomplishing an astonishing feat of empathy and imagination. Writing from the Afghan perspective, “Elliot Ackerman has done something brave as a writer and even braver as a soldier: He has touched, for real, the culture and soul of his enemy” (The New York Times Book Review).
  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476778570 | 
  • February 2015
List Price $12.99 (price may vary by retailer)


Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Green on Blue by author Elliot Ackerman includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book. 



Living in a small Afghan village a two-days’ walk from the nearest bazaar, brothers Aziz and Ali are destined for the spare lives of farmers. But when their father, against orders, returns home early one day from fighting in the mountains, the Taliban kills both the boys’ parents and burns their village to the ground. Orphaned and homeless, they travel to the city of Orgun to beg in the streets where eventually Ali is grievously wounded in a bombing attack orchestrated by a man named Gazan. Seeking badal—or revenge—for his older brother, Aziz joins the American-backed Special Lashkar, a force charged with protecting the eastern border against Gazan. Yet the more he learns about the shifting alliances between his commander Sabir, the American Mr. Jack, and a village elder named Atal, the more the lines between opposing forces blur into a haze of corruption and greed. In the end, Aziz must decide whether to embrace the brutality of war or leave it behind, and risk placing his see more

About the Author

Elliot Ackerman
Peter van Agtmael

Elliot Ackerman

Elliot Ackerman served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and is the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. A former White House Fellow, his essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and Ecotone, among others. He currently lives in Istanbul where he writes on the Syrian Civil War. Green on Blue is his first novel.