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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dystopia created by Old Europe, Fascist America, and Radical Islam
Tom Kratman's Caliphate would have been the novel that Bruce Bawer of WHILE EUROPE SLEPT: HOW RADICAL ISLAM IS DESTROYING THE WEST FROM WITHIN could have written. Like George Orwell's 1984 or S. M. Stirling's DRAKA novels, this dystopian world exists in which an imperialistic United States, a Czarist and socialist Russia, the celestial kingdom of China, and the two...
Published on August 2, 2008 by Philip Schoenberg

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37 of 59 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was disappointed in this book, because it spent too much time pontificating and not enough telling a story.

This book consists of five different parts. The prologue is a heavy-handed analogy about willful ignorance. The main plotline is interesting, well written, speculative fiction story set in a detailed and often horrific distopian future. Then there...
Published on April 11, 2008 by Elaewin


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104 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dystopia created by Old Europe, Fascist America, and Radical Islam, August 2, 2008
By 
Philip Schoenberg (Flushing, New York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
Tom Kratman's Caliphate would have been the novel that Bruce Bawer of WHILE EUROPE SLEPT: HOW RADICAL ISLAM IS DESTROYING THE WEST FROM WITHIN could have written. Like George Orwell's 1984 or S. M. Stirling's DRAKA novels, this dystopian world exists in which an imperialistic United States, a Czarist and socialist Russia, the celestial kingdom of China, and the two Islamic caliphates are totalitarian or authoritarian in nature with little to choose from. The Christian minority in Europe is treated as second-class citizens under the strictures of Islam. The infrastructure under Islamic sway suffers from technological decline in which the Caliphate's purchase some military technology. The USA has a dictatorship that has evolved in response to a surprise Islamic terrorist act that destroyed three American cities: Boston, Los Angeles, and Kansas City. In fighting the Islamic terrorists, the USA has reached the same moral level as the enemy engaging in genocide and nuclear warfare to win. The race war between the Japanese and Americans in the Pacific theater of World War II was civilized in comparison. No quarter is given by either side.

Tom Kratman creates a believable, dark future world as seen through the lives of several people. In Germany, nine-year old Petra is sold into slavery to pay the taxes that her parents owe. She is first the companion of a young girl who becomes her friend and protector before being sold into a life of prostitution. Her brother is drafted to serve in the military to serve his oppressors. The device of having Petra reading the diary of her grandmother explains how old Europe has become the victim of an oppressive Islam. Meanwhile, John Hamilton, of the Imperial Military Academy at West Point graduates to serve in combat actions that massacre Muslim Moros in the Philippines before serving in the intelligence service. He engages in evil actions on behalf of a greater good but his conscience won't let him rationalize what he has done. Life in the 22nd century USA is pretty grim in which the privileged few have automobiles while civil liberties are unknown. President Pat Buckman came into power in which he exercised the power of pardon for those who assassinated his political opponents. He dies in bed after nuking hundreds of millions of Muslims.

In a non-fictional afterword, Tom Kratman explains that he has reached the same observations as Bruce Bawer although he does not refer directly to this author's work:

1) An intellectual ideological blindness by the elite that ignores the consequences of its intellectual pretensions. It rejects American humanism in favor of tolerating Islamic extremism. In return for being enablers, they will be the first to suffer consequences when their ideas don't work in practice.

2) The failure of Europeans to defend the values of democracy, individualism, secularism and toleration as part of a just society. Tolerating or "understanding" efforts at censorship such as the Danish Islamic cartoons or honor killings has opened the way to defend humanistic values whether through word or deed. In some European nations, the vast majority of rapes are committed by a small Muslim minority. The victims are blamed for causing the wrath of their attackers.

3) Appeasing the demands of a minority without getting anything return which allows the radical Muslims to set the agenda. A perfect example that the author does not give himself was the recent decision by British government no longer to teach the Holocaust in its school system because it offends some Muslims...

4) Europeans failing to reproduce themselves while tolerating or encouraging an Islamic immigration that does not share the same values of and respect for the individual. Women are treated are treated as second class citizens, suffer from honor killings, and are not free to choose their husbands or to get an education.

5) A false multiculturalism in which efforts made by Muslims to assimilate are rejected and Muslims reject efforts to assimilate. There are sections of European cities in which native inhabitants cannot roam because the clothing is not "modest" or homosexuals risk their lives. The police or society is unwilling to secure safety of people.

6) A false toleration in which anti-tolerant acts of the Muslims are rejected. Radical preachers calling for the overthrow of Western civilization are allowed to spread their ideas and intimidate non-radical Muslims. There is the false expectation that allowing tolerating non-tolerant radical Muslims when they are in the minority, the favor will be returned when they become the majority.

7) A generous social service system that cannot be sustained by a declining native population while attracting a foreign population that does not share the values or what remains of the work ethic. .

8) The failure to believe in something is to lack the will to defend the Western way of life. Christianity is passé. The result is the unwillingness to use force to defend the society. In the novel, the author shows he is not racist because immigrants from a declining Europe that reject American values are rejected in favor of immigrants from non-Islamic areas that share American values or are willing to embrace them.

9) A rationalization that Western civilization is always at fault and to blame instead of bringing the culprits to justice or demanding the conformance to civilized behavior. When misbehavior occurs by Muslims, Petra's grandmother is quick to rationalize that somehow Western civilization, especially the USA, has caused it until her daughter is raped.

After all, this is a novel of what could have happens. Nicholas Sarkozy of France may be a sign of Europeans are waking up to this danger. But all it takes is the failure of good people to defend their society. The Europeans fail to realize that the radical Islam that they are nurturing in their midst has no desire for dialogue and understanding but demands the acceptance of Sharia and their inferiority as dhimmis. Peace at any price has become the new mantra and the West Europeans will have the peace of the grave they have dug for themselves if they fail to heed the warnings of this
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Frightening picture of a dystopian future torn by religious war, May 26, 2008
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
Many muslims, by no means all of whom are extremists, will consider this novel Islamophobic. I definately do not share that view but I do understand it.

The book begins in 2103 AD, in a dystopian future in which the world is split into two warring power blocks, in both of which freedoms and rights which we take for granted have been removed. The Caliphate, an empire which includes continental Europe, is run by Taliban-style Islamofascist extremists who treat the christian minority like dirt. The USA has become a militaristic empire which wages a cold war against the Caliphate and a hot one against Canadian "rebels" (e.g. those who have resisted the forcible annexation of their country) and any other country which might allow Islam a foothold in the Americas.

The story revolves around two victims of the Caliphate's tyranny: Petra, a german girl who is taken from her family and sold into slavery to pay a tax levied on the Christian minority, and her brother Hans, who is conscripted as a Janissary.

One of the few Muslims who shows Petra kindness teaches her to read, enabling her to understand the one family posession she has been able to keep: the diary which her great-grandmother, Gabrielle von Minden, began to keep in 2003 and which explains how the ghastly world Petra is living in came into being.

There are two reasons I do not agree with those who will consider this book Islamophobic. First, although it presents the Islamic dictatorship in the book as a ghastly tyranny, the history in the book also has the United States grossly over-react to Al-Qaeda atrocities with terrible crimes of its own, and there is no suggestion in the book that the author would encourage those actions. Rather it clearly suggests that both ignoring wicked behaviour by individual Muslims and punishing an entire communities are alike mistaken and wrong, not least because both policies sell decent muslims down the river.

Neither does the book suggest that either Christians or Muslims have a monopoly of good or evil. (There are no atheists in the book, partly because the Caliphate has exterminated them in the area it controls.)

Secondly, while Kratman is not suggesting that a future history like the one in this book is inevitable, he is probably right that if we are stupid enough to let it come true, much worse religious strife could indeed form part of our future - and it is worth thinking about how to avoid that. If this book makes people think about how to stop anything like it coming true, that's a good thing.

Alternatively you can read it just as an exciting fantasy.
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54 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unable to put it down, March 28, 2008
By 
Elliott (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
I read the book in one day, it was just so compelling. The scenes of slavery under Muslim rule were reminiscent of a book I read in the '70's(I think) written by(IIRC) Kyle Onstott, which is why those scenes were so realistic(other people writing the same kind of thing would reinforce the descriptions).

I really got into the characters' heads, and could understand them. The plot moved and didn't get bogged down in details.

The contrast between the US as we are today, and what we (will) become under such an attack is one of my worst nightmares, and I hope, but am not very confident, that we can avoid it. I guess that will require a big change in our current political culture(not very likely at this time).
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One view, March 28, 2008
By 
D. Campbell (Dallas, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
Caliphate focuses on politics, islam, and the societal clashes that governments and people face without cultural assimilation. There are a lot of different views on how Europe is going to deal with their population integration problems. This one seemed very well thought out, looking at likely long term impacts of making 'easy' or 'comfortable' decisions.

I almost gave the book a 5 star for the way Kratman did his interludes. I loved them. Be prepared to get two stories out of this book. The main story takes place roughly 100 years from now. The interludes are their own story taking place from 2003 through roughly 2020. The two stories are tightly connected and get the reader involved in both. Many authors hop around in time within their stories, but the way Kratman did so was easy to follow and enjoyable as opposed to the normal tedium I experience trying to keep the hops straight.

Whether or not the course of history Kratman describes comes to pass, it should give anyone pause to consider the possibilities he lays out. He seems to ask you to take off the rose colored glasses and weigh decisions based on likelihoods instead of hopes. It's nice to see an unvarnished view that isn't candy coated by today's media. Give people the information and let them make their own decisions.
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53 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb techno-horror story, March 27, 2008
By 
Oso Blanco (Berkeley, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
I'll say only two things about this book.

1. It gets five stars because it is a superbly written and horrifying techno-thriller that I just had to finish to see how it came out.

2. Don't go in unless you're prepared to meet people who consider child abuse and human slavery, two of mankind's oldest evils, to be religious duties.

Item 1 means it's very enjoyable reading. Item 2 means it will take a little time to recover equilibrium after finishing it.

It was worth the trip.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly Disturbing, September 22, 2008
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
Let me start by pointing out that Tom Kratman MUST BE a brutal conservative. His depiction of Europe's slide into occupation overthrow by an Islam Theocracy is detailed, chilling and quite possible considering the current direction of the U.N.

Caliphate is a frame story about two young people living in different parts of the world that eventually come together. One is an American soldier, the other a young Swedish female slave. Kratman does a good job with his interludes, giving the reader a break between "present day" by showing us what happened a generation earlier. European countries begin to lose their identity as more and more concessions are made for rapidly migrating muslims. Should anyone doubt this, the first portion of the story is not fiction but based in hard fact which Kratman backs up with figures at the end of the novel. Civil liberties erode from the desire to avoid offense and within a decade many countries in Europe have become full blown theocracies. Women quickly drop from citizens of equal status, to second class citizens to something less than farm animals and breeding stock. As far fetched as this appears to be it is happening all over the middle east right now.

Key cities in the U.S. are bombed via nuclear suitcases and the country becomes a virtual armed fortress with a brutal first strike policy. It is also the last haven of freedom in the modern world.

Kratman pulls no punches in his description of brutal rape, child abuse and slavery and all of the other atrocities that go along with a Theocracy. This is not a happy novel, but it is an important one.

A must read before you vote in November.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 1984 for a new age, May 23, 2008
By 
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
Caliphate is a cautionary tale, like `1984', `Fahrenheit 451', or `Animal Farm'. Cautionary tales are medicine for a sick culture. If 1984 is a vaccine, and Fahrenheit 451 is a purgative, then Caliphate is chemotherapy. It's damn unpleasant at times, but then so is cancer.

To bastardize a quote from `the 300' "This will not be pleasant, you will not enjoy it, but it will be over far too quickly." If you are looking for escapist literature, the Miles Vorkosigan books are up in the Bs. If you're looking for a light romp with lots of violence, go look at Ringo's stuff...

This is the hard truth extrapolation with the hair still on... What `If this goes on' by RAH did for prime time religion, Caliphate does for the Islamification of Europe, but with a harder edge, probably because Tom Krautman thinks this is a more likely scenario than RAH did. But in spite of the unpleasantness, it's a book everyone should read. A book Europe should take to heart, but won't. And that's the point.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Res Ipsa Loquitur, April 2, 2008
By 
Roger Ross (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
The group of peoples & cultures to whom we refer to as being "European" are on the path to cultural extinction. What is ironic is that Europe will end, not because of armed invaders, but because of their willing abrogation of cultural identity coupled with a level of narcissism that demands everything for nothing and blinds them to the well being of future generations ... of course, pile irony on irony, we are talking about relying on generations of people that they don't care to bring into existence anyway. When future generations stand in judgment of these fools and asks how this could this have happened, all that someone need do is hand them a copy of this novel, say, "Res ipsa loquitur" and walk away.

Nature abhors a vacuum and another culture is willingly and energetically filling the niche created by the imploding Europeans. As surly as a glacier moves inexorably, crushing everything in its path, it is inevitable that within the next couple of generations - demographics really do not lie - Europe will become a majority Muslim state. This isn't a value judgment ... it is simply an acknowledgment of the force of numbers and time. The question is, what will happen when an unassimilated culture lawfully gains majority control of an `enlightened' democracy and its institutions and uses them to establish a theocracy?

This leads us to the novel. Colonel (ret) Kratman tells two stories in Caliphate. The main story follows a pretty standard techno-thriller formula, i.e., an agent of the good guys has to infiltrate unfriendly territory of the bad guys in order to complete a mission and if he fails the good guys are doomed. Judging story one on this level alone I believe that Colonel Kratman really hits it out of the park. The story is action packed but character-driven enough so that the "techno" part of techno-thriller doesn't take over. As a stand alone this would have made for a fun read.

However, it is the second story that really takes this novel to the next level. The second story is told in a series of interludes, in the first person (as excerpts from a diary) telling of the cultural implosion of Europe - told from the viewpoint of one of the masses who willingly contributed to that implosion. The level of detail and world building contained in the interludes is amazing and could stand alone as its own novel. Combined, the sum is much greater than its parts and the parallel stories really bring this dystopian world to life.

All that being said, the Colonel has created a great action techno-thriller set in a viable, logically extrapolated, near-future dystopia that is well written, fast paced and thought provoking regardless of your political bent.

I will refrain from going on about the Afterword as it really deserves its own review and offers a great deal of thought provoking material.

Five Stars.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dual-distopia from an author who pulls no punches, March 27, 2008
By 
This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
This book has heroes from two dystopian societies.

Following a nuclear terrorist attack and the lack of government response, the US turned into a fascist empire intent on taking on the world. Those are the good guys.

The bad guys are the Caliphate, an extremist Muslim group that took over Europe because of high birth rates compared to the culturally European people. Muslim women are treated as property. Women who aren't Muslim are treated worse. We get the story from the perspective of one of those women, sold into slavery and prostitution.

This book is interesting and well written. It's also nightmare material. As usual, Tom Kratman pulls no punches - when he talks about evil, he talks about EVIL.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading for the Jihad, May 24, 2008
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This review is from: Caliphate (Hardcover)
This is material that's been covered fairly extensively in non-fiction, most recently by Mark Steyn in America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It, but where Steyn uses facts and figures, Kratman uses characters and builds scenes that bring the visceral horror of living under an Islamist state to the reader in a way that non-fiction can't. It's one thing to read about gang rapes in European suburbs, it's another thing to read it being done to a sympathetic character. By taking the factual details of Islamist rule (as seen in Afghanistan under the Taliban, Saudi Arabia, Darfur and especially those parts of Iraq that were held by Al Qaeda) and applying them to fictional characters, Tom Kratman brings us face to face with the brutal mysogyny, corruption and bigotry that awaits us if we fail to fight the Jihadis. Before the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin (Wordsworth Classics), a work of fiction, which did more to enlighten people to the evils of slavery than all of the abolitionist non-fiction combined. If books carried the same weight today that they did in the 1850s, this would be a wake-up call to America and the world, but unfortunately, our culture isn't galvanized by the written word, and no Hollywood studio will make this into a movie out of fear of the repercussions, which is one the things that proves the book's premise. I only hope that enough of our leaders wise up before our cities end up like Boston, Los Angeles and Kansas City do in the book.
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Caliphate
Caliphate by Tom Kratman (Hardcover - April 1, 2008)
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