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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.
Phil Klay is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. His short story collection Redeployment won the 2014 National Book Award for Fiction and the National Book Critics' Circle John Leonard Prize for best debut work in any genre, and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of 2014 by The New York Times. His nonfiction work won the George W. Hunt, S.J., Prize for Journalism, Arts & Letters in the category of Cultural & Historical Criticism in 2018. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and the Brookings Institution's Brookings Essay series. He currently teaches fiction at Fairfield University. His debut novel, Missionaries, was released in October 2020 with Penguin Press.
Klay will be in conversation with Kori Schake, a senior fellow and the director of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). Before joining AEI, Dr. Schake was the deputy director-general of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. She has had a distinguished career in government, working at the US State Department, the US Department of Defense, and the National Security Council at the White House. She has also taught at Stanford, West Point, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, National Defense University, and the University of Maryland.