Author Omar El Akkad is a journalist that has seen some shit. American War feels like his attempt at bringing what he’s witnessed and read about in the Middle East a bit closer to home to Western audiences. The story explores how Civil Wars perpetuate themselves, how extremists are created, how memories of the past are fuel for both war and peace. It’s definitely not perfect– the first person POV was weirdly omniscient and the intersection of characters’ lives relied a bit much on deus ex machina, but overall it was a solid, powerful read. Detractors focusing on the unlikelihood of an eco-dystopia unraveling the US are missing the point (e.g. reading The Jungle and thinking it’s about food safety).