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Friday, November 14, 2014
7:00–10:00 p.m.


Manhattan Center, 75 Varick Street.

Tip of the Spear: A Discussion on the Evolution of Special Operations, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Operations in the Media and Literature

Presented by Consequence Magazine and Words After War

A reception will follow the event, and books will be on sale courtesy of Word Bookstore.

Moderated by Lea Carpenter. Panelists: Elliot Ackerman, Tony Schwalm, Bob Shacochis.
For much of the past 50 years, the special operations and intelligence communities have operated largely in the shadows, a closed fraternity of highly trained individuals all working to complete their missions in absolute secrecy. And yet, over the past few years, for a number of complex reasons – including the dynamic nature of the Global War on Terror and the growing use of social networks worldwide – these communities are beginning to emerge from the shadows. Please join us for a moderated discussion on the evolution of this secretive world, including some of the myths and misunderstandings that surround it, along with the growing need for writers and journalists to engage with the changing nature of war and conflict around the globe. 


Elliot Ackerman, a former CIA Paramilitary Officer and Marine Corps Special Operations Officer, is a novelist and essayist based out of Istanbul whose current work focuses on Syria’s civil war, and the rise of the Islamic State. His novel Green on Blue is forthcoming from Scribner and his fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Daily Beast, and Ecotone among others. He 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. Ackerman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Tony Schwalm, author of The Guerrilla Factory, is a retired lieutenant colonel with the U.S. Army Special Forces. Prior to joining Special Forces, as a tank company commander in Operation Desert Storm, he was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, he served with U.S. Special Operations Command and served as a government civilian leading a team of social scientists assigned to the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan providing socio-cultural analysis to Special Operations Forces deployed in that war-torn country. 

Bob Shacochis, author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul, and winner of the 2014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction, is a novelist, essayist, journalist and educator. His work has received a National Book Award for First Fiction, the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. The Woman Who Lost Her Soul was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. The Immaculate Invasion, about the 1994 military intervention in Haiti, was a finalist for the New Yorker Magazine Literary Awards for best non-fiction book of the year, and named a Notable Book of 1999 by the New York Times. Shacochis’ op-ed commentaries on the US military, Haiti, and Florida politics have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. 


Lea Carpenter’s novel, Eleven Days (Knopf, June 2013), tells the history of America’s special operations forces through the story of an officer who goes missing while on a mission the same night as the bin Laden raid, 2nd May 2011, and of the changed course of the officer’s mother’s life. The novel was short-listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and long-listed for the Bailey’s Prize for Fiction. Carpenter was a founding editor at Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope, and Deputy Publisher of The Paris Review. She has A.B. from Princeton University and an MBA from Harvard. She is working on her second book, set in the Intelligence Community.
Coronavirus Update: As New York is on a "pause" for social distancing purposes, all in-person events for the next several weeks have been converted to online, postponed or canceled. Please check this page as information will be updated as possible—and call ahead before any upcoming in-person events until further notice. Thanks. 
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