Ackerman brings to bear his skills as a storyteller to narrate a tale that’s as suspenseful as any thriller. He seamlessly blends these scenes with quotidian family moments ... Without sacrificing the intimacy of these reflections, Ackerman is also intent on making some broader points ... ndispensable reading for anyone who wants to think seriously about these questions before our country makes the decision whether or not to go to war the inevitable next time.
The quality of the writing stands out...From the opening lines, clean, clipped sentences have the quality of simplicity ... less a history of the final evacuation than a meditation on the meaning of the end for America’s fighting men and women. It is part of a distinguished and growing literature by American veterans trying to understand the experience of those who served ... The Fifth Act’s contribution to understanding the war lies foremost in passages of reflection and well-chosen quotes, such as the 'should’ve and could’ves' or the line from The Aeneid. They give pause and offer a window into deeper thought.
This book, while not a comprehensive analysis of the full 20 years of war in Afghanistan, is powerful testimony to what went wrong despite the bravery of American military personnel and our Afghan allies. Ackerman reflects on his personal and professional journeys in Afghanistan; his analysis says much about America and why the way the nation fights twenty-first-century wars has little impact on the general public and why there is so little accountability for failure. Ackerman’s tales are compelling and heartfelt; this title will stand the test of time as a warning against further military misadventures.