American War

Omar El Akkad

2018 Nominee

James Tait Black Prize for Fiction

2018 Nominee

The Arthur C. Clarke Award

07 September 2017
743 pages


A Best Book of the Year: The Guardian, The Observer, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post.

2074. America's future is Civil War. Sarat's reality is survival. They took her father, they took her home, they told her lies . . .

She didn't start this war, but she'll end it.

Omar El Akkad’s powerful debut novel imagines a dystopian future: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague and one family caught deep in the middle. In American War, we’re asked to consider what might happen if America were to turn its most devastating policies and deadly weapons against itself.

[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.
Informed by writer El Akkad's experiences working as a journalist in Afghanistan and Egypt's Arab Spring, this is a timely and haunting book that reflects our uncertain era.
Impressive . . . the novel’s evocation of the future is so sharply observed and so anchored in an informed reading of present geopolitics that it is hard to resist . . . It comments intelligently on the world today, where displaced millions are broiling in camps or trying to eke out a better life elsewhere, at whatever cost.