Listen to a sample

What to expect

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.

Critics Review

  • [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.

    Sunday Times
  • [American War] creates as haunting a post-apocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America . . . El Akkad has written a novel that not only maps the harrowing effects of violence on one woman and her family, but also becomes a disturbing parable about the ruinous consequences of war on ordinary civilians.

    New York Times
  • It is an ambitious concept and El Akkad . . . pulls it off in an imaginative feat of world building . . . American War is an assured debut and El Akkad’s experience as a war reporter lends a grisly realism to proceedings . . . A vivid and nightmarish vision of an all-too-conceivable future.

  • American War is an extraordinary novel. El Akkad’s story of a family caught up in the collapse of an empire is as harrowing as it is brilliant, and has an air of terrible relevance in these partisan times.

    Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

More from the same

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to get tailored content recommendations, product updates and info on new releases. Your data is your own: we commit to protect your data and respect your privacy.