American War

American War

Omar El Akkad / Dec 12, 2019

American War An audacious and powerful debut novel a second American Civil War a devastating plague and one family caught deep in the middle a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most d

  • Title: American War
  • Author: Omar El Akkad
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • An audacious and powerful debut novel a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074 But even she knows tAn audacious and powerful debut novel a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle a story that asks what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074 But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she begins to grow up shaped by her particular time and place But not everyone at Camp Patience is who they claim to be Eventually Sarat is befriended by a mysterious functionary, under whose influence she is turned into a deadly instrument of war The decisions that she makes will have tremendous consequences not just for Sarat but for her family and her country, rippling through generations of strangers and kin alike.

    • American War By Omar El Akkad
      300 Omar El Akkad
    • thumbnail Title: American War By Omar El Akkad
      Posted by:Omar El Akkad
      Published :2019-06-07T17:57:00+00:00

    About "Omar El Akkad"

      • Omar El Akkad

        Omar was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar until he moved to Canada with his family He is an award winning journalist and author who has traveled around the world to cover many of the most important news stories of the last decade His reporting includes dispatches from the NATO led war in Afghanistan, the military trials at Guant namo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri He is a recipient of Canada s National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions He lives in Portland, Oregon.


    1. I struggle on this one between 3 and 4 stars. On one hand, it is action-packed and a pretty horrifying dystopian novel. On the other, my suspension of disbelief was severely challenged by the timeline and the realignment of world power (don't worry - no spoilers). The protagonist, Sarat is an interesting and tragic figure, but she was hard to have sympathy for at times. Some of her actions were predictable, not to say almost caricatural while her actions do seem realistically driven by her suffe [...]

    2. A second civil war, a war over fossil fuel banned in the North but in the Southern states they still have plenty of resources and once again do not want to be dictated by those in the government. Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, South Carolina secede from the Union. It is the late 2000's, climate change has already changed the map, coastal cities wiped out, west and South, Louisianan lowlands gone, a plague is released resulting in South Carolina being quarantined, walled in, residents not allo [...]

    3. My reasons for disliking this book are complicated. My main feelings about it is that it's a hacky piece of work that is trying very hard to be politically profound, but failing in execution.First, let's talk about why it fails (in my eyes) as a dystopian novel. And, no, I don't mean its lack of a teenager falling in love with a rebel boy or the fact that they don't seem to all be dressed as emo soldiers (although there are plenty of soldiers).See? This is how it's done.There are two ways to go [...]

    4. 3.5ish stars This is not your typical dystopia. I feel like that word, dystopia, has developed something of a negative connotation in literature recently because of the inundation of books, especially YA ones, that fit into the sub-genre. American War is science fiction in the same way that The Road or The Handmaid's Tale are science fiction, which is to say, more speculative than science. And while this book may not be on the same level as those two, it's really not that far from it.The author [...]

    5. 4 stars I can't quite gush effusively for Omar El Akkad's American War, but not sinceThe Handmaid's Tale has a dystopian novel spoken to me so loud and clear. (The thinly veiled "Fuck you, Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions" message was probably integral to my enjoyment.) Pretty simple concept: imagining the United States, circa the late 21st century in the midst of a second Civil War, thanks in no small part to global warming (Florida is gone gone gone) and the polemical divide between"Blues" and " [...]

    6. I didn't understand the point of this. Something huge is missing in this novel. There is a hole in the center. Omar El Akkad tells a story of a new American Civil War taking place around the year 2075. To paint this setting he borrows heavily from the American Civil War of 1862-1865 and he replicates and augments the Old South's long-abiding sense of injustice - the Lost Cause and lost way of life, loyalty to family and one's people before all else, "real" Southern values, etc. But we know what [...]

    7. When you wade into the ever-agitated waters of social media, you realize just how quickly the currents of infectious bile are flowing. Follow the tributaries of today’s political combat a few decades into the future and you might arrive at something as terrifying as Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, “American War.” Across these scarred pages rages the clash that many of us are anxiously speculating about in the Trump era: a nation riven by irreconcilable ideologies, alienated by entrenched su [...]

    8. This is a novel that hearkens back to the great days of serious and very dark future history, the kind that used be common in SF before it got taken over with fluffy (if dark) YA that is usually a lot more simple and caricature than serious.So now we're back to the good and serious SF, no light tones here, and we fast forward to a history of America where its dominance in the world has sunk with a lot of its land, where ecological changes have turned the deserts into blasted lands, where politic [...]

    9. "Everyone fights an American war." (306)Do you know the experience of diving into a book expecting one certain thing, only to realize part-way through that the thing is actually about another subject? You assume X, but get Y?That's how I read Omar El Akkad's recent novel American War. Everything I read described a near-future novel about a second Civil War, with the north and south tearing at each other once again. And the book does fulfill that promise. We follow a Louisiana family as members e [...]

    10. American Horror StoryBy Judge Maris KreizmanFair warning: American War is not a beach read. Not only because the novel is not fluffy and light, but also because it’s set in a near-future dystopia in which global warming has submerged the majority of America’s current coastlines. Spring Break forever? Not likely.I hate to use the word “timely” nowadays, especially because I have a habit of making everything from Gilmore Girls to Fifty Shades of Grey about contemporary American politics. B [...]

    11. I’m giving up on this book at a little more than half way through. The premise of a dystopian world during and after a second American Civil War was interesting, and I was curious about the two maps shown before the Prologue. Set in the future beginning in 2074, the story centers on the Chestnut family and specifically on young Sara T, known as Sarat. The descriptions of their life and the environment in which they survived were mostly depressing, and the pace was slow in some places. The book [...]

    12. "Come here," she said. I shook my head. "I'm scared.""Good," she said. "Now you have something you can kill."Fear. The ultimate driver of hate, bigotry, conflict, ultimately: of war. The emotion that pervades so much of our current geopolitical situation: the fear of our neighbor, of their religion, of their skin, of their seemingly foreign customs and traditions. Fear: perhaps the only emotion hardwired into the human condition, the underlying evolutionary mechanism that keeps us alive and perp [...]

    13. Full review now posted!Sometimes, a book hits you at exactly the wrong moment. In my case, that’s exactly what happened with American War. My lack of love for this book is definitely a case of “it’s not you; it’s me,” and that is in large part due to the timing.This was a very good book objectively. It was beautifully written, well-researched, poignant, and plausible. But subjectively, I couldn’t get far enough past the sadness that said plausibility invoked within me to enjoy anythi [...]

    14. 4.5/5 stars. This book was really good and really scary, and it came as a surprise to me how much I liked it. Not because I had heard bad things about it beforehand, but because I had a feeling that this book was either going to be too dark and sinister for my taste, or it would be just the right amount of dark and sinister as well as give me an interesting insight into what America could look like less than 100 years from now. Basically, this book takes place in America in the 2070s-2090s, and [...]

    15. Omar El Akkad's AMERICAN WAR is an often-chilling and devastatingly visceral peek into our country's future should we not find a peaceful way to resolve our political differences. Of particular interest in this novel for me was the defined sense of realism, despite being submerged in *obvious* dystopia; the new American Civil War feels incredibly real, the dejected southerners trained to become self-sacrificing martyrs are believable, and Akkad brings the horrors and desperations of an America f [...]

    16. I wish I could give this book 10 stars out of five. I'd wished I could give it 10 stars from the prologue alone, and it got better and better.Like I said in my updates, this book feels like more like a prophecy instead of a novel given what happened recently. I feel like the author truly knows war, and he understands the grudges some stubborn people seem to hold all their lives. Also he grasps the most horrifying thing about the war, that it destroys every single person's belief no matter what t [...]

    17. Could the United States tear itself apart in another bloody Civil War? Could the catalyst for such a conflict could be a threat to the god-given liberty of red state Americans to drive gas-guzzling pickups - the inalienable constitutional right to bear Chevrolets?Omar El Akkad thinks so, and based on this scenario he has produced American War - a fictional history of the second American Civil War to come. American War is an interesting blend of ideas. It's part future history, like Robert Charle [...]

    18. It's hard to say where exactly Omar El Akkad went wrong with American War, because on the surface, this appears to be such a well-constructed novel. El Akkad ties in the story of our protagonist, Sarat, with his imagined vision of a second American Civil War in a way that's comprehensive and undeniably steeped with tragedy. The world building in this novel is immense, with various news articles scattered like historical set pieces throughout the narrative. But when you look closer, there are too [...]

    19. I was torn between three and four stars here. I was torn the same way with the small press book Ruin Season, when I read it last week. That one I went up to four and this one I went down to three. In so many ways this is probably a better novel, but since it's published by Random House, and it has lots of other reviews / ratings, I don't feel like I should be boosting up my rating to help the book out, or at least not feel like as much of an asshole.I thought the book was quite good. The premise [...]

    20. Gave up, folks. This doesn't mean it's a bad book. It means I just couldn't's a mix of YA, sci fi, dystopian, looking at the U.S. after an event that destroyed part of it. There is constant war between the North and the South. It was interesting to see what someone else thought were our nation's weak points and our strengths. There is just so much going on in real life right now that is more gripping than any fiction. I am sure readership of fiction has gone down: someone will come up with stati [...]

    21. How does this sound: this book is like if Jesamyn Ward wrote The Road. Still need convincing? American War is the story of the second American Civil War, a war that breaks out in 2074 over the use of oil. Now, the North and South are once more divided, Texas has become a part of Mexico again, and China is the the most powerful nation in the world. Sarat is a young girl in Louisiana when the war begins, but when her father is killed, she and her family are moved to a camp for displaced persons. T [...]

    22. One has to wonder how much author Omar El Akkad's career in journalism compelled him to pen this cautionary tale set during the all-too-believable future civil war between America's North and South. The setting (an ecologically exhausted world fraught with political instability) was not groundbreaking territory for a dystopian novel, but El Akkad's focus on the ugliness of war and the ambiguity of "the cause" was one of the more realistic I've read.Strengths: Whether you agree or disagree with t [...]

    23. They should subtitle this book IT COULD HAPPEN HERE!!, emblazoned in big red letters on a sash wrapped and affixed with a blood-red seal. The author can regale MSNBC and NPR with his Nostradamus vision while book clubs queue at signings, clutching their pearls in one hand and cupping lattes in the other.(My first thought, on picking up the book, was Why has no one written this yet? It will be a bestseller and have its rights optioned, posthaste.)The author has no doubt witnessed and can testify [...]

    24. This was a 2.75 or 2.50 stars book for me mostly. First of all I never understood the plot of the book and then I realized is because there is none . The book goes back and forward and tells you how the story is going to end from the beginning and then it takes you forward, then backward and forward again, we never connected with the main character and her plight because the book doesn't explore the circumstances that made the world the characters live possible , and you also never get a cohesiv [...]

    25. 4 starsAn all to possible, and probable, second civil war breaks out - it is 2074. With climate changes in full effect, the Mississippi River becomes the Mississippi Sea. Most of the south eastern coast line is now underwater. Louisiana is just a morsel of what it was. Oil is outlawed, drones become bombers in the sky and the southeastern states have seceded from the north. Camp Patience is divided into regions resembling the forgotten states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia a [...]

    26. The United States of fifty years from now is a vastly different place - physically, not just politically.  Climate change has ravaged the country with coastal cities becoming lost to the sea.  They even packed up and moved the capital inland from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, Ohio.A train derailment and subsequent oil spill have forced the hand of the government in banning fossil fuel use across America.  It’s the final straw that breaks the camel's back following decades of environmental a [...]

    27. American War is a story told by an old man as he looks back on his life. He recounts a second American Civil War from 2074-2095. The MAG states--Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia--secede from the Union over the use of fossil fuels. South Carolina also secedes, but it becomes an active quarantine zone walled off from the rest of the country. Texas and much of the southwest have been taken over by Mexico. The world is experiencing extreme climate; the coastal states have been flooded and there has bee [...]

    28. He said that her country once occupied the most fertile land in all of the world; mother of sugar and mother of cotton and mother of corn. He taught her about the first time the North had torn her country to shreds. He said people think of that war now the way they think about most wars: just a bunch of young men killing young men on the orders of old men. This bleak dystopian story begins in the late 2000s when the second civil war is underway over conflict about climate change and the use of f [...]

    29. Once I realized that this near-future dystopia could actually be read as an allegory for the recent past / present Middle East, it flowed better for me. El Akkad had a great concept here, and I am glad I read it - it is a 3.5 stars for me. I look forward to more work by this author. --Read for Book Riot's 2017 Read Harder Challenge "A debut novel"

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