Extremist Futures : Throughline It's 2074 and a suicide bomber has killed the President of the United States. Months later Marines open fire on protesters killing dozens. The Second American Civil War has just begun and once again the North and South are pitted against each other. This is all according to the dystopian world chronicled in Omar El Akkad's novel, American War. El Akkad's imagined, yet familiar, world is reflective of today's deep political and societal fissures, but it also pushes us to understand the universal language of war and ruin, to what happens after the violence begins and why it's so hard to end.

In this episode of Throughline, we immerse ourselves in El Akkad's 'what could be' to understand larger questions about history, humanity, and American exceptionalism.

Extremist Futures

Extremist Futures

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Marcia Straub/Getty Images
A hand reaches higher than the barbed wire in this image depicting the fight for freedom.
Marcia Straub/Getty Images

It's 2074 and a suicide bomber has killed the President of the United States. Months later Marines open fire on protesters killing dozens. The Second American Civil War has just begun and once again the North and South are pitted against each other. This is all according to the dystopian world chronicled in Omar El Akkad's novel, American War. El Akkad's imagined, yet familiar, world is reflective of today's deep political and societal fissures, but it also pushes us to understand the universal language of war and ruin, to what happens after the violence begins and why it's so hard to end.

In this episode of Throughline, we immerse ourselves in El Akkad's 'what could be' to understand larger questions about history, humanity, and American exceptionalism.