“A novel with as much desolation and devastation as Omar El Akkad’s ferocious American War, set in a time that is beyond ours but in the scope of now, is usually tagged as dystopian. However convenient such labels are, this book transcends easy labels with its visceral immediacy, its vivid and unforgettable characters, its blasted, wasted, ‘high water everywhere’ landscapes, and its harrowing course of action. Omar El Akkad has written an unblinking, visionary book about this country, its relationship with itself, and its place and effect in the larger world. Underlying it all, there are also surprise moments of human tenderness and beauty.”
— Rick Simonson, Rick Simonson, Seattle, WA
"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 Guantànamo 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.