Book Review: American War by Omar El Akkad

Monday, July 31, 2017
www.ofbeautyandnothingness.co.uk
Since last year my reading has skyrocketed, I cannot stop reading and I love to read a range of genres from crime and mystery, dystopian and fantasy to magical realism, quirky non-fiction, literary fiction, and YA. It's always so exciting to receive arcs from publishers so when this one arrived, I couldn't wait to read it!

*American War by Omar El Akkar - (352 pages - released on 7/09/2017) - ★★★★★, 5/5

I received a physical ARC from the lovely people at Pan Macmillan/Picador; I love the cover and I couldn't wait to read it as it sounded amazing but also very relevant to the scary times we currently live in. It follows a close knit family in the south of America who are struggling to get by and they want to travel north where they hope to have a better life away from the danger of war, rebel groups and impending bombs/fighting, sound familiar?

The world is set in the not too distant future in the aftermath of a plague caused by a biological weapon and the second American civil war were there's a divide between the north and the south. There are also mentions of suicide bombers in the book as well as refugee camps, not fitting in to a society in which you live, family grief and other issues that are surprisingly relevant in our world now even though this book is an almost dystopian/post apocalyptic novel. The authors sums up the feel of the book well with, "nothing in this book hasn't happened; it just happened to other people and it happened far away". Omar El Akkad is an Egyptian/Canadian journalist who received Canada's National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and his experience and reporting definitely show in book.

I loved the writing, it was a fairly quick to read and I liked flipping from the present to the past which gave insights into how the world came to be as it is now including faux news articles and other snippets of information about the war, people involved and a rather moving speech. Throughout there's a sense of foreboding and a feeling that I didn't want to carry on as I knew it wouldn't end well because how could it?

I found this book so heartbreaking, not just because the characters didn't deserve what happened to them, the awful scenes of war, death and torture or the futility of war and conflict but because these things do happen in our world, sadly it's not confined to fiction. I would definitely recommend this book as it's so devastating and heartbreaking but wonderfully written, touching and raw - it doesn't hold back. I do wish the ending was very different but life doesn't always have a happy ending, does it.

Have you read this book or will you be picking it up? What are you currently reading or planning to read next? 

17 comments

  1. Ohhh I want to read this!!!!! Thank you for sharing

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  2. I'm so jealous of your book collection! You always have such great sounding recommendations!
    Chantelle x
    The Girl In The Tartan Scarf

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  3. It sounds like an interesting yet heartbreaking read. This would be something definitely out of my comfort zone.

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  4. This sounds like my kind of book! xx

    Beautylymin

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  5. oh no it sounds so sad! I cannot handle a heartbreaker I am such an emotional wreck lol

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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  6. I think I'd be sobbing through this one!

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  7. Ooh I love books like this, it sounds so heartbreaking though x

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  8. Sounds sooo heartbreaking!!!! :( But probably beautiful too

    xx Sofia | SOFIAADOT

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  9. I think I would be an emotional wreck if I read this x

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  10. I wish I had your motivation to keep reading new books.

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  11. This sounds like a really interesting read! Xx

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  12. It's so good the amount you read, I wish I read as much xxx

    Zoe ♥ MammafulZo

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  13. Ah this sounds incredibly sad and moving, I don't think I could read it. Xxxx

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  14. You read so many books - this sounds good albeit harrowing!

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  15. Sounds like a really good read. Will check it out x

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