Written By: Omar El Akkad

Narrated By: Dion Graham

Date: April 2017

Duration: 12 hours 23 minutes


“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.


  • William R

    Excellent book

  • MaryPage E

    Not something I would normally read, but I still really enjoyed it!

  • Katie C

    The first thing that struck me while reading the prologue was “I’m going to love this book”. The writing is beautiful and the premise is thought-provoking. The novel starts out with an unnamed first person narrator telling the story of a doomed war and a girl named Sarat. “This isn’t a story about a war. It’s about ruin.” Right there, I was hooked. Unfortunately, the next two-thirds of the novel weren't anywhere near as good. Sarat’s story was interesting enough to keep me reading but I found it tedious and unimpressive. I felt detached from her even though I completely understood why she was the way she was. Sarat’s harrowing story starts when she is 6 years old living with her parents and two siblings. She quickly learns the brutality of war. At the end of each chapter, there is an excerpt about the war after it ended. Sometimes it was an interview, but it was mostly articles about events that occurred and their outcome. These articles left a great sense of foreboding. I really enjoyed the way the author incorporated this into the novel. Another saving grace was the last third of the book when the narratives changed. I was debating on giving this a lower rating but the ending was excellent.

American War: A novel

by Omar El Akkad

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American War: A novel, Omar El Akkad
American War: A novel, Omar El Akkad
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