American War

American War

A Novel

Book - 2017
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An audacious and powerful debut novel about 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.
Publisher: Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780771009396
Characteristics: 333 pages ;,25 cm.


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Defended by Tahmoh Penikett.

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Oct 04, 2018

Sadly, I was unable to get through the book - I read about 100 pages, and had to quit, as I kept falling asleep every time I read it.

BookReviewer2015 Aug 07, 2018

An interesting and fascinating read of a future America embroiled in civil war, brought on by environmental catastrophe. Interesting as it echoes anxieties of the early 21st Century.

Jul 15, 2018

I don't think I would have made it through this book if I didn't listen to the audiobook. It is a drama, very little if any edge of your seat action or suspense that you are led to expect in a war/plague type book. Just a story about a girl growing up and becoming bitter.

Jul 09, 2018

Very unfocused book. The backstory appears to have been made up as the writer went along. This should have been a better book. I can't understand how the writer can say Mexico reclaimed land when they are consumed by Cartel money, I don't see this happening in the time frame stated in the book.

loonylovesgood Jul 06, 2018

Devastating and powerful story. Really hard book to put down. It's also one of the most plausible futuristic scenarios I've encountered in fiction.

Apr 05, 2018

Wow, can this guy write! He packs so much into a single sentence without the sentence becoming a wearing load of trivia. And he found a way to have the main character remain true to herself through the end. I was hypnotized and read the book in a day. It's no happy-sappy story though, so I'll need to take a long break before reading another of his. Believable storyline.

Mar 31, 2018

Definitely worth reading. I found the plot a bit thin for my liking. The author's writing style is outstanding making the reading itself very pleasant.

Mar 30, 2018

In American War, journalist Omar El Akkad paints a dark dystopian future in which the unreconciled shadows of America’s past rise up to tear the country apart once more. His protagonist begins as a child caught in the middle of that fight, and is irrevocably twisted and shaped by the horrors of war. We follow Sarat as she goes from refugee to fighter to war hero to wanted terrorist, perceptions of her swaying and turning depending from which side of the conflict she is being seen. We see her broken and remade, and broken again, and must inevitably follow her to the consequences of that final breaking. She is not a likeable character, and the reader is not necessarily supposed to sympathize with her actions, but it the author’s quest to make us understand her nevertheless.

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Mar 13, 2018

I thought it was a well written book but disturbing.The main character was deeply traumatized and takes her revenge. I was hoping for some signs of hope or restoration but left feeling hopeless. Is this the book Canada needs to read? Many of the others, I have read all 5, build bridges, this one is destructive.

liljables Feb 23, 2018

In an attempt to read the Canada Reads 2018 shortlist before the debates air at the end of March (good luck with that, right?), I picked up American War, the contender that had most piqued my interest. I think American War is an important but difficult book for one main reason: it is utterly, terrifyingly believable. Given the state of...everything in 2018, the narrative written by first time novelist Omar El Akkad feels like a "when, not if" scenario for our neighbours to the south. Like many CR heavy-hitters before it, I think the more sensitive readers among us may pass over American War, but if you can stomach it, I urge you to pick up this book.

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Mar 30, 2018

Sarat Chestnut is born by the sea, into contested territory between the Reds and Blues that are fighting the Second American Civil War. Her world is wracked by climate change, and by the South’s refusal to give up on fossil fuels. Much of the Southern US coast is now underwater, and out-of-control drones crawl the skies. When her father is killed in a bombing, Sarat’s mother and her three children flee to Camp Patience, a refugee camp on the North/South border. There they scrape together a life always on the edge of dissolution, and the children grow up with the question of what the future can possibly hold for them. It is here that Sarat meets the mentor who will shape her mind, and turn her to his own ends.


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Mar 30, 2018

If we nod and smile while they parade some fantasy about this being a noble disagreement between equals and not a bloody fight over their stubborn commitment to a ruinous fuel, the war will never really be over…You fight the war with guns, you fight the peace with stories.

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