What We’re Reading: The Exceptional and the Unexceptional

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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American War By Omar El Akkad I almost don’t want to describe the backdrop of “American War” because it may be triggering for American readers and distract from the book’s message. (Not to mention my colleague Valentina Jovanovski did it well on this site two years ago.) But let’s just get it out of the way: Yes, it’s a novel about a civil war in America, set half a century and more in the future and brought about by climate change. And yes, it was written by a foreigner – Egyptian-born Canadian journalist Omar El Akkad. But in spite of the title, “American War” isn’t really about America or even war, and to dismiss it as anti-Trump or a Muslim man’s anti-American wish fulfillment – as it often is – not only would be lazy but also would miss the point. “American War” could have been set in any country; it just so happens that the United States is the world’s superpower and a place where the prospect of total social breakdown and civil conflict is hard to contemplate. Its events – suicide bombings, massacres at refugee camps, torture – could happen anywhere, and as El Akkad stresses in interviews […]

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Ryan Bridges
Ryan Bridges is an editor with Geopolitical Futures, having spent years both editing and writing geopolitical articles. He joined Geopolitical Futures in 2017 and spent over a year as a geopolitical analyst writing on Europe and focusing on issues relating to the European Union. His expertise as an editor was in high demand so he recently made the change back to editing rather than analyzing. Prior to Geopolitical Futures Mr. Bridges worked for seven years as an editor at Stratfor. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, where he studied political science with a minor in philosophy. Mr. Bridges lives and works from Germany and also travels extensively in the region. He speaks some German.
Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.