The Next Nationalism
Serve to Lead® | James Strock
Elliot Ackerman | '2054: A Novel'
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Elliot Ackerman | '2054: A Novel'

Serve to Lead Podcast

Elliot Ackerman is a widely respected writer. His reach extends across fiction and non-fiction, from novels to essays to memoir and commentary. He is an exemplar of Theodore Roosevelt’s ideal of service combining thought and action.

In this episode of the Serve to Lead podcast, Ackerman discusses his bestselling new book, 2054: A Novel. This is a successor to 2034: A Novel of the Next World War. Each is co-authored with Admiral James Stavridis. A third volume, 2084, is also planned.

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Ackerman shares his views of the value of history and literature in comprehending the unprecedented challenges of our moment of global change and unrest—ranging from great power competition to climate disruption to the rise of new technologies, including artificial intelligence and biotechnology. He also reflects on how longstanding notions of spheres of influence may be transformed in our interconnected world.

Publisher’s Summary

From the acclaimed authors of the runaway New York Times bestseller 2034 comes another explosive work of speculative fiction set twenty years further in the future, at a moment when a radical leap forward in artificial intelligence combines with America’s violent partisan divide to create an existential threat to the country, and the world.

It is twenty years after the catastrophic war between the United States and China that brought down the old American political order. A new party has emerged in the US, one that’s held power for over a decade. Efforts to cement its grip have resulted in mounting violent resistance. The American president has control of the media, but he is beginning to lose control of the streets. Many fear he’ll stop at nothing to remain in the White House. Suddenly, he collapses in the middle of an address to the nation. After an initial flurry of misinformation, the administration reluctantly announces his death. A cover-up ensues, conspiracy theories abound, and the country descends into a new type of civil war.

A handful of elite actors from the worlds of computer science, intelligence, and business have a fairly good idea what happened. All signs point to a profound breakthrough in AI, of which the remote assassination of an American president is hardly the most game-changing ramification. The trail leads to an outpost in the Amazon rainforest, the last known whereabouts of the tech visionary who predicted this breakthrough. As some of the world’s great powers, old and new, state and nonstate alike, struggle to outmaneuver one another in this new Great Game of scientific discovery, the outcome becomes entangled with the fate of American democracy.

Combining a deep understanding of AI, biotech, and the possibility of a coming Singularity, along with their signature geopolitical sophistication, Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis have once again written a visionary work. 2054 is a novel that reads like a thriller even as it demands that we consider the trajectory of our society and its potentially calamitous destination.

Critical Acclaim

“Stavridis is not just a novelist, but also Admiral James Stavridis, formerly supreme allied commander at NATO. He and Ackerman are the authors of the bestseller 2034. In this follow-up, it is 20 years after the nuclear war between the US and China when the US president collapses and dies during an address to the nation. Conspiracy theories spread, and civil war ensues. Meanwhile, computer scientists and intelligence experts believe they know what lies behind the assassination: a profound breakthrough in AI. This sounds thrilling and provocative, and one to devote a good chunk of time to reading.” —New Scientist

“A captivating thriller . . . At its core, 2054 is part who-dun-it, part House of Cards political thriller, part sci-fi, and part-klaxon warning.” —The SCIF

“[A] propulsive thriller. . . The authors have created an enjoyable, intelligent and ultimately frighteningly plausible vision of a future replete with new technological threats.” —Financial Times

“This taut, chilling, provocative page-turner is one part Crichton, one part Clancy, and might just make you think these truly are the good old days.”—Michael Hainey, Air Mail

“Gripping and imaginative . . . an enjoyable techno-thriller that explores the chaotic, self-destructive potential of human ingenuity.” —Booklist

“2054 is a compelling, terrifying and totally plausible thriller of future world history and calamity—not so far away—crafted into a sophisticated geopolitical narrative superbly handled by this unique partnership of retired admiral/NATO supremo, and a prize-winning literary writer of beautiful novels who also happens to be a decorated Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excellent—and a worthy sequel of their thriller 2034.—Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of The World: A Family History

About Elliot Ackerman

Elliot Ackerman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Halcyon, 2034, Red Dress In Black and White, Waiting for Eden, Dark at the Crossing, and Green on Blue, as well as the memoir The Fifth Act: America’s End in Afghanistan, and Places and Names: On War, Revolution and Returning. His books have been nominated for the National Book Award, the Andrew Carnegie Medal in both fiction and nonfiction, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, among others. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and Marine veteran who served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he received the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for Valor, and the Purple Heart. He divides his time between New York City and Washington, D.C.


Image Credits | elliotackerman.com


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The Next Nationalism
Serve to Lead® | James Strock
The Serve to Lead podcast focuses on today’s extraordinary leadership opportunities in business, government, and politics. In a time of intense polarization, this includes advancing our shared American identity and narrative. James Strock is an independent writer, speaker, entrepreneur, and reformer. Strock writes ‘The Next Nationalism’ at Substack.