American War by Omar El Akkad
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a book! This is a very timely and well written exploration of a future American Civil war between the South and the North. It felt very timely given the divisiveness we’re experiencing in America today. The author tells the story of this war through the exploration of how the war impacts a family, while also exploring the impact of the war on the nation as a whole. The book vividly takes the reader to places that are difficult and ugly. The horrifying lengths at which people will go to protect what they believe or enact revenge for what has been done to them. I love how the author showed the reader how one of the characters, Sarat, developed into who and what she became during the war. Why she made the choices she made and how each decision she made affected her and those around her. It is this exploration that really made this book so impactful. I love that the author didn’t make the war in his book about race but rather about the environment and technology. I think making it about race would have been too easy. This made it very real to me … given the current problem of climate change and how many people have convinced themselves that climate change isn’t real (despite the breadth of scientific evidence that it is all too real).
This is a harrowing novel that I think is a sobering look at what our future could be if we don’t begin to think about America and its issues in new ways. The growth of Sarat throughout the book gives the reader an insider’s look at how war can change a person and how they see the world. I highly recommend this one … this is not for everyone but if you think you can handle the war/violence, I can’t recommend it enough. I think it’s worth taking the time to read this one!