Tuesday 26 December 2017 at 13:28

American War by Omar El Akkad

By Eric Antoine Scuccimarra

I don't generally read much fiction, but I made an exception for this book, and I was not disappointed. The book is about a second American Civil War which is fought between the North and the South, but this time over a ban on fossil fuels which is passed as a result of destructive climate change. I'm not going to reveal too many plot details, but I will say that the book presents a very plausible future based on current political, scientific and economic trends.

For me the power of the book was not in speculating on a possible future, but in shedding light on the present. The main character in the book was from the South, but ends up in a refugee camp after fleeing from her home. After the camp is destroyed in retaliation for guerilla attacks on the north, she ends up becoming a terrorist for the south.

The sad fact is that while this book is speculative fiction, the events that occur could easily be occurring today, in other parts of the world. By putting Americans at the center of the story, the book forces one to consider what is actually occurring every day in Syria, Africa, Myanmar and other places. By making the main character a refugee and a terrorist we are forced to confront the forces that create these sorts of situations. Instead of just blaming all terrorism on "Islamic terrorists" as many Americans tend to do, we are forced to realize that in the right circumstances any of us could end up doing the same things.

We are never asked to sympathize with the main character and the book never attempts to justify her actions, but we are forced to consider the circumstances that made her who she is rather than just labelling her as a "terrorist" and ignoring the forces and situations that made her that way.

This was a truly impressive book, and I very highly recommend it.

Labels: books


Login or Register to leave a comment..