American War Summary
Omar El Akkad

Everything you need to understand or teach American War by Omar El Akkad.

  • American War Summary & Study Guide

American War Overview

Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, American War, weaves together a number of genres to tell a story set in a dystopian and decaying America in the years 2074-2095, when a bloody civil war erupts over the prohibition of fossil fuels. The sharp division between the “Blue” North and the secessionist “Red” South engenders a deeply sectarian worldview in the novel’s main character, Sarat, who is only six years old when the war begins. Part speculative fiction, part literary fiction, and part Bildungsroman, the novel follows Sarat’s tragic journey and eventual radicalization during the war, and calls into question where the line is drawn between victimhood and complicity. The narrative is told from the perspective of Sarat’s nephew who, many decades after the war, tells his aunt’s story in order to reveal a secret that has burdened him into his old age.

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