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American War

Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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Summary

Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, that unmanned drones fill the sky. And when her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons, she quickly begins to be shaped by her particular time and place until, finally, through the influence of a mysterious functionary, she is turned into a deadly instrument of war.

Telling her story is her nephew, Benjamin Chestnut, born during war - part of the Miraculous Generation - now an old man confronting the dark secret of his past, his family's role in the conflict and, in particular, that of his aunt, a woman who saved his life while destroying untold others.

©2017 Omar El Akkad (P)2017 Penguin Random House Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Every One NEEDS to Experience This

I think I heard about this book on te 1A podcast during an interview of the author (I could be mistaken). The book sounded interesting and so i pre-ordered the audio book.
I cannot tell you how much this book affected me and how sad I am that there isn't more. It brings closer to reality the ramifications of our actions as a country, from denial of climate change and refusing to change to reusable resources, to prejudices that are developed as the result of a divided country, to how extremism is born.
I would be surprised if this book isn't picked up by English departments to be read and analysed in the same way that Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm are.
I repeat--everyone needs to experience this book.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Epic novel about the Second American Civil War

Throughout the entire time reading this, all I could think of is the fact that this would look amazing as a TV series. This dystopian novel explores how the north and south of the United States are divided in the latter half of the 21st century after fossil fuels are banned due to extreme flooding in Florida.

It is written in the perspective of a dying historian in the 22nd century, attempting to recollect the role of his aunt, who essentially was leading the insurgency against the north. She was as much a victim as aggressor in this novel, being groomed as a child soldier and being tortured in prison as a young adult. In the background, a rising Pan-Arab empire helps stoke the fires in the US.

It is slow but relentless, and rather fitting for what is currently happening all over the world. A fascinating read indeed.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Thought provoking

This book deserves consideration as one of the best contemporary looks at America’s place in the world and how it can be viewed from the point of view of those it helps

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A bizarre tale that attempts too much

The idea that a civil war in the Usa could happen after a global climate change catastrophe later in the 21st century is a smart one. This time the premise of the war. The south wishes to continue using fossil fuels the north has banned them. But the story runs too close to the original 1860s civil war and it veers into at times an evil generational tale involving refugees, militia, plague, torture...its just too ambitious to work properly. I'm also a bit perplexed as to the moral of the tale? It has its moments though.

2 people found this helpful

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Reminds me of crime and punishment

It felt bitty. Fragments of this and that strand - some seemed to reflect Palestinian refugee camps and life therein. Some bits seemed unlikely and laboured. It was a struggle to complete the novel and I am not sure I would recommend it.

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Excellent, harrowing and extraordinary

A profound book about the effects of being displaced by war, and its brutalising effects on civilians.

It’s set in late 21st century America, but is in fact a light being shone on the brutalising lives being led in today’s war zones.

Don’t let this put you off, it is also gripping. I could not wait to get back to it any moment I had.

Terrifically written, with bravura scenes. Great narration.

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Horrible narration spoils the story

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A narrator that doesn't sound like a robot

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Couldn't reach the ending because the narrator was so unbearable

Would you be willing to try another one of Dion Graham’s performances?

Oh god no

What character would you cut from American War?

The narrator

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so bad

terrible waste of time and money, the plot is rubbish, the characters are dull and two dimensional, situations implausible, anticipation is irrealistic