The Next Civil War
Dispatches from the American Future
No matter your political leaning, most of us can see America is barreling toward a catastrophe of one kind or another. In The Next Civil War, acclaimed author and journalist Stephen Marche takes a divided nation and vividly breaks down the many threats looming before it—so that we may ensure they never happen. A stunning piece of speculative non-fiction, this book is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of its people, its land, and its democracy.
“Brilliant . . . Marche has created a stunning, evocative, and impressionistic account of the ascent of wealth in the twentieth century.”— Booklist, starred review
In the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, it is not unwise to consider what the world could like if America were to fall to internal chaos. Drawing upon sophisticated predictive models and hundreds of interviews with experts—from military leaders and law enforcement, to environmentalists, war historians, and political scientists—Stephen Marche predicts the terrifying future collapse unfolding in front of our eyes in his book The Next Civil War. Assassinations, financial crashes, and devastating climate disasters are just a few of the events that could play out. Thankfully, though Marche’s chilling fiction is based on real data, it’s not too late for us to change our course—if anything, his powerful storytelling and lush prose act as a motivating force, compelling us to do everything we can to avert such a gruesome future. Engaging and charismatic, Marche is as expressive on stage as he is on the page, illuminating the possibilities that lie before us in a way that is informative, entertaining, and honest.
As both a writer and a speaker, Marche is interested in exploring the thorny problems that plague humanity, whether that’s political polarization, inequality, the COVID-19 crisis, or the rise of promising, yet troubling technology such as artificial intelligence—and in particular, natural language processing. “Artificial intelligence is an ethical quagmire,” he writes in “The Chatbot Problem,” a piece exploring the gendered and racialized implications of our speech and how that bias can be encoded in our technology. Published in The New Yorker, the article poses the question: What is an ethical framework for the distribution of language? And more importantly, what does language do to people? Marche’s talks are ultimately an extension of his brilliant writing, taking aim at the subtle, structural issues that are often unnoticed or disguised.
Marche’s previous books include three novels: Hunger of the Wolf, a genre-busting tale of money, morality, and the American Dream; Raymond and Hannah, a love story about two people drawn to each other despite the impediments of geography and culture; and Shining at the Bottom of the Sea, a vividly imagined anthology of a fictional country. His other non-fiction books include The Unmade Bed, a “poignant, thought-provoking” (National Post) exploration of gender roles in the 21st century, and How Shakespeare Changed Everything, an examination of the iconic playwright’s hidden influence in our culture. Marche’s writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and Esquire, where he wrote a monthly column.