This book is not of my favorite genres. The only reason I read it is because of its being long-listed for the National Book Award. I must confess Ackerman has written a novel deserving of the award. Ackerman's experience as a journalist and Marine make him eminently suitable to tell this story. Haris Abadi is an Iraqi American who heads out to Syria to join the 'cause.' Thence emerges a tale of strife which leads him to question if he is truly an idealist or just a pragmatist. The supporting characters in the novel are strong all of which makes for good reading.