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Christina Shipp and Stephen Conrad Moore as A.J. and Ajax in Iraq

Ellen McLaughlin, author of Ajax in Iraq, turned to the ancient Greeks to make sense out of our soldiers’ experience in Iraq because the Greeks were the first to make sense of the fear, rage, and terror that constitute war by creating a theater for veterans and by veterans. Aeschylus fought in both the battles of Marathon and Salamis (c. 480 BCE). Sophocles was 16 when the Greeks triumphed at Salamis and served as a citizen general in the Athenian army during the Peloponnesian War. These were men who knew the terrors of war first hand, and it is their authority McLaughlin draws on to untangle the Gordian knot of meanings that are present for us, Americans, about our ten-year wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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