American War (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

American War could have been set during any war, anywhere. It is a brilliant character study of a young girl growing up in a refugee camp, being influenced and manipulated by people with ulterior motives and shaped by the events surrounding her. I found myself swept up in her life, alternately angry with her choices and hopeful for her future. Add this to the speculative fiction backdrop of a second civil war and a country destroyed by deeply held resentments. A compelling read that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

— Jenn, Atlanta

American War begins as a politically second historical civil war that confronts tragedy from years 2074 to 2093. Author Omar El Akkad introduces an intriguing futuristic concept of a Reunification plagued disease that spreads across the continent. Rehashing the Rebels against the Union in an innovative type warfare forces the prohibition of fossil fuel which creates a compelling conspiracy that is imaginative and undisguised. Sequentially this forces the reader into a sacred terrorist type biological nationwide epidemic plague that is not only visionary but an inventive storyline created by the author. A novel worth investing in.

— Mike, Albuquerque


"Powerful . . . As haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy created] in The Road, and as devastating a look as the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America. . . . Omar El Akkad's debut novel, American War, is an unlikely mash-up of unsparing war reporting and plot elements familiar to readers of the recent young-adult dystopian series The Hunger Games and Divergent."
--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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 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.

About the Author

OMAR EL AKKAD 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 Guantanamo 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.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780451493583
ISBN-10: 0451493583
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 352
Language: English