American War (AudiobookFormat, 2017, Random House Audio) 2 stars

An audacious and powerful debut novel: a second American Civil War, a devastating plague, and …

"What if civil war in America" books are often very side-eye, and this one demands a fair amount of disbelief suspension (namely: no one's on social media and no one seems to have a phone, race/culture war shit plays zero role in the rhetoric of an American civil war, China provides humanitarian aid to the US and the US accepts it) but I think el Akkad's point here is more to explore the internecine quality of civil wars more generally and how conflict inculcates more conflict, and who actually benefits from these conditions (also some obvious script-flipping: there's an Arab empire funding Southern rebels to keep the US from bouncing back to superpower status, very CIA of them). It's compelling enough in any case.