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American War
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Archive: Other Books > American War by Omar El Akkad - 4 Stars

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message 1: by Olivermagnus (last edited May 23, 2017 05:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Olivermagnus (lynda214) | 1952 comments American War starts out with an unidentified narrator warning us that “this isn’t a story about war. It’s about ruin.” Set towards the end of the 21st Century, the United States becomes involved in a second Civil War. When the oil reserves begin to fail, the federal government decides to ban the use of fossil fuels, and some of the southern states protest. The northern states then try to quash them and we're back to 1862, just with different weapons.

We meet six year old Sarat in April 2075, living with her family in St. James, Louisiana. When Sarat’s father is killed in a terrorist attack, she and her mother, brother and twin sister, are evacuated to a refugee camp in Mississippi. In a bizarre twist, the Middle East has finally fixed their own terror problems and they provide aid to the southern refugees. The story then follows Sarat as she's gradually recruited to become a terrorist herself. While some of Sarat's radicalization was too quickly accomplished, the author did a great job of presenting it in a way that I found believable.

This is a skillfully constructed novel with first rate writing. There is a lot of violence, especially during the interrogation sequences, but I can recommend it to any reader who enjoys a dystopian novel set in an unusual environment. It definitely shows how circumstances create the terrorists we fear so much. It also provides glimpses into how war affects the poor and the families left behind, picking up the pieces of man's inhumanity. This is Omar El-Akkad's first novel and he's done a fantastic job of creating a compelling novel that is bound to become an award winning movie.

Charlie  Ravioli (charlie_ravioli) | 393 comments Nice review. I gave it a 3.5. I thought the premise was very interesting and there was so much that was topical to the book and the world so far this century. The only downside for me was the characters, I just didn't seem to care that much about them.

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