An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and one family caught deep in the middle.
'[American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road" Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
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, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war.
Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war - part of the Miraculous Generation - now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.
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.
MORE PRAISE FOR AMERICAN WAR
"A dystopian vision of a future United States undone by civil war and plague." Kirkus
"An extraordinary novel." Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven
"a work of a singular, grand, brilliant imagination ... a warning shot across the bow of the United States." David Means, author of Hystopia
"[An] exciting debut . . . what sets this impressive book apart from other dystopian novels is the fully realised plausibility of the scenario El Akkad's created, the roots of which can be all too easily identified in the world around us today ... As diverting a read as this engrossing novel is, American War should no doubt also be read as a cautionary tale." Independent
"[American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"American War is the most impressive new novel I've read this year. Set in a scarily plausible future scarred by civil strife and climate change, it's thrilling for the sheer transporting force of its storytelling. Its lasting power, though, lies in its complex account of moral disintegration, both individual and societal." Garth Greenwell, 'Best holiday reads 2017', Guardian