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101 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Estimable effort from a writer to watch
Joel Rosenberg, a political columnist for World magazine, has written quite an amazing first novel.
One of the interesting things about it is that it proves evangelical Christians can write international thrillers and get published by New York publishers if their stories are strong enough. And this one is. Rosenberg, not really a Washington "insider," nevertheless...
Published on November 29, 2002 by Jan P. Dennis

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel
Rosenberg's first novel is a pretty good thriller. His action scenes are fast paced and thrilling, even though he crowds in a lot of technical details about weapons. I read these scenes rapidly, eager to find out who would live and who would not.

He also includes a geopolitical story line, which tends to slow the book down. When the hero sits in a on a...
Published on September 9, 2008 by BrianB


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101 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Estimable effort from a writer to watch, November 29, 2002
Joel Rosenberg, a political columnist for World magazine, has written quite an amazing first novel.
One of the interesting things about it is that it proves evangelical Christians can write international thrillers and get published by New York publishers if their stories are strong enough. And this one is. Rosenberg, not really a Washington "insider," nevertheless either knows enough about Beltway affairs or has done his research sufficiently to render the world of Washington in all its tawdry splender very effectively.
The author also writes quite astonishing action scenes, e.g., the opening sequence where a Gulfstream G4 crashes into the President's limo, the shootout in the former top Mossad agent's house in Jerusalem, and the sniper sequence prior to the memorial service for the secret service agents.
Not everything works optimally. I felt the main character's expertise--the ability to see patterns in the most obscure details, put them together, and forcast events--could've been more effectively used in the last half of the book. Also, there's not a whole lot of chemistry between the hero and his purported love interest.
But these are quibbles. All in all, it's a fine effort.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Page Turner!, December 3, 2002
By 
Mark Roberts (Hollister, CA USA) - See all my reviews
OK... You can't judge a book by it's cover, right? But, with all of the positive comments that were on the book's cover it had to be good.
Actually, it was better! I literally could not put the book down. I got it just before Thanksgiving and finished it with in 3 days.
The plot is quite involved. Just when you think you have things figured out, there's a new twist. I don't want to give details of the plot as it will ruin the surprise of discovering the twists: just know they are there and that it makes for a fun read. One of the things that I liked about the main plot was it was so believeable. In fact, I heard about this book while watching the author, Joel C. Rosenberg interviewed on Hannity and Colmes. I heard Joel say that while writing the book, 9-11 hit and he had to do some adjusting to the plot due to how real his initial premise was to what had just occurred.
The characters become your friends, just as in any good book. I liked the character development, much like a Tom Clancy novel, in that the reader seems to be drawn into a world of reality that most of us only see from the outside. How do they set up security boundaries for Presidential motorcades? How do they draw information out of a suspect that may be reluctant to talk? I have wondered about that very thing while hearing of some of the information drawn out of the actual Taliban prisoners held in Cuba. How do they get these "loyal" Taliban top aides to talk? I got an idea of how it might be done in Chapter 5...
All in all this was one terrific read. If the first chapter doesn't get you hooked, then have a Urologist check out your adrenal glands. For the rest of us, lay off the caffeine. This book is a good substitute.
My only complaint: It'll take Joel C. Rosenberg at least a couple of years to pound out another book...
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Put your To-Do List Away, November 20, 2002
By 
Liz (Orlando, FL United States) - See all my reviews
All other items on your to-do list will have to wait once you being this book. Don't be surprised if you find yourself engrossed from the very beginning..and hold on to your socks from there. No matter what your stance is on terrorism and war in the Middle East you need to read it.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spell-Binding Political Thriller!, December 11, 2002
By 
I don't normally read fiction, but this book has been getting so much press that I decided to explore it for myself. After the first few pages I was spell-bound -- I could hardly put the thing down! Rosenberg has a smash hit on his hands, and I, like many other readers, am eager to read a sequel.
This work could be described as a combination of a Tom Clancy novel and a Jenkins/LaHaye "Left Behind" volume. Global crises, military action, political intrigue, compelling characters, and a conservative, Christian mindset are all present in this book. The Christian aspect by no means dominates, but as a Baptist minister I quickly noticed the two or three times it surfaced and was pleasantly surprised.
Perhaps the most appealing characteristic of this fictional, future tale is its closeness to present-day reality. With the current war on terrorism, the escalation of tension between the United States and Iraq, and the development of military and communications technology, the scenario described here could very well happen.
I recommend this book very highly to anyone enjoying a good fictional read. The narrative consistently moves along at a rapid pace, never once dragging. Order it, read it, and see for yourself!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fresh, timely story makes for an admirable debut, January 4, 2003
By 
With the U.S. and Iraq engaged in a showdown, and the possibility of a war that could see the horrific use of weapons of mass destruction, Joel Rosenberg writes "The Last Jihad", a thriller that none-too-subtly reminds the public what the price may be for not taking out Saddam Hussein.
For a debut in the world of fiction, Mr. Rosenberg has done admirably well. He takes advantage of a plot that is made all the more timely by real-life current events, and has crafted a fast-paced, intriguing thriller. The action starts off almost immediately, with an attempted attack on the presidential motorcade using a Gulfstream jet. It doesn't take much time to finger Iraq as the perpetrator, and so events roll from there, as an Israeli commando operation reveals Iraq's nuclear capacity. The Israelis give the U.S. one hour to take action before they fire a nuke on Iraq. The story catapults the reader through diplomatic, military, and personal machinations that culminate in nuclear weapons being unleashed.
The bulk of "The Last Jihad" focuses on the character of Jon Bennett, a well-to-do financial strategist-turned-presidential aide. Not much time is spent fleshing out the character beyond his business career - serving to provide insight into the gas-oil deal that is brought into the story as a potential peace plan capstone between the Arabs and Israel. This is a mixed blessing; while the lack of character background and development allows the reader (and author) to stay focused on the plot, the downside is that the reader doesn't care as much what happens to the character, in that the character remains distant. So, in terms of the primal "rooting for the good guy", there is no impetus for wanting to root for the Jon Bennett character. If Mr. Rosenberg intends to write other fiction, and, more importantly, wants to make Jon Bennett the literary second coming of Jack Ryan, he will need to improve upon this aspect of storytelling.
The character development - or lack of it - in regards to the President McPherson character in this story is interesting as well. The reader probably learns more about him than the Jon Bennett character, and are exposed to more of the emotional rationales behind his actions in the nuclear politics he engages in. I never could figure out if Mr. Rosenberg intended for President McPherson to be a Reagan-esque character in terms of determination and resolve. To me, this character had a strong Nixonian trait about him that made him one not to particularly like one way or the other.
The bulk of the story revolves around the political and diplomatic happenings, demonstrating Mr. Rosenberg's obvious depth-of-knowledge and strength in this arena. The military descriptions and story threads are less descriptive and very basic, perhaps showing that Mr. Rosenberg is not well-versed in this area. It doesn't hurt him in terms of "The Last Jihad", but again, if he is to write follow-up books, he will need to expand upon his knowledge here.
As with any first-time author, there are a few threads in the story that - overtly or not - are left hanging. There seemed to be a couple of little pieces here and there that could have been tied back in to the main plot, but weren't. However, these were not omissions that took anything significant away from the overall quality of the story.
The main "agenda", if you will, that Mr. Rosenberg seems to be not-so-subtly pushing in this book is that of having to deal with Saddam Hussein at once. One cannot help but ignore that he advocates removal of Hussein before he strikes out in some way at Israel, the U.S., or another ally. This message becomes more evident as the plot unfolds. As it pertains to current events in early 2003, this works just fine. When the time comes that Saddam Hussein is removed from power - and when Iraq is not as large a focus on the national consciousness as it is now - this message may not play as well.
Readers with Democrat/liberal leanings may pick up this book and be turned off by the rave reviews found on the jacket from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Steve Forbes. They may also be turned off somewhat by the obvious conservative bent in political discussions in the story. But, if those readers are that hung up on politics, they would be well-served to avoid this book. But for those who can set political leanings aside, this book will be well worth the time.
Outside of a few very minor glitches and the character aspects noted above, "The Last Jihad" is an outstanding debut for Mr. Rosenberg. He has crafted a great story that has fantastic pacing, and takes the political thriller in an exciting new direction. This reader hopes that he will write again.
I give "The Last Jihad" four stars, and heartily recommend it all except those who are irritated by the reviews of conservative media figures and politicians, since they will not get past that and enjoy what is a very good story.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good first novel, September 9, 2008
By 
BrianB (Northern California) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Rosenberg's first novel is a pretty good thriller. His action scenes are fast paced and thrilling, even though he crowds in a lot of technical details about weapons. I read these scenes rapidly, eager to find out who would live and who would not.

He also includes a geopolitical story line, which tends to slow the book down. When the hero sits in a on a presidential cabinet meeting my attention began to wander. This part of the story was less interesting. It was also less believable.

The novel sustained my interest through to the end. The action slowed at times, but never stopped. The characters were believable enough. They were described in about as much depth as one would expect from an action novel. This first novel does not rise to the level of Tom Clancy, but it is a good start. I think Rosenberg compares favorably with authors like Vince Flynn.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK, November 21, 2002
By A Customer
I have one word for this book. Wow! I saw this in the bookstore yesterday, and was caught by the great cover quote by Rush Limbaugh. I instantly started reading the book, and couldn't put it down, so I bought two copies, one for me to finish, and one for my brother. JIHAD really reminds me of Clancy at his best. And it is so relevant to today's headlines -- an airborne terrorist attack on the President, America being forced to do battle with Iraq, and even a sniper in D.C. -- Rosenberg is definitely a writer to watch.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get Ready to Lose Some Sleep, November 25, 2002
By A Customer
A definite page turner from the start. I loved all of the Washington insight and the intrigueing gadgets along with the captivating story! Saw "Sum of All Fears" and thought that "The Last Jihad" would make a much better movie!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressed and Frustrated, February 12, 2003
By 
Eric Wilson "author" (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Based on some great reviews, I picked up this book. I was soon sucked into the story, riveted by the attack on the president and the ensuing global consequences. The plot zips along, the characters play their expected--somewhat predictable--roles, and the climax promised to be memorable. I was impressed with the author's ability to weave in Christian themes without sounding preachy. In many ways, this book equalled "Mission Compromised" by Oliver North.
Unfortunately, the last fifty pages were a letdown. Yes, the pace kept racing, but inconsistencies detracted from my enjoyment. For example, throughout the book Rosenberg teases us with scenes of "the four horsemen," some of the world's most feared terrorists, as they maneuver toward a deadly goal. Here's the thing: their target is not even scheduled to be in any specific location until well after the "horsemen" begin heading that direction. The sudden and abrupt conclusion left room for a sequel, yet it left me feeling rushed, as though the author built up all the questions and possibilities surrounding nuclear war, then closed the story before having to respond to the aftermath.
These frustrations aside, "The Last Jihad" was a quick and easy read, with pertinent political and spiritual points. If you don't have time to dig deep into a Clancy classic, this book will more than ease your appetite.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Rosenberg - Please Consult a Weapons Expert, November 2, 2003
By 
J. Hackett (Valencia, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Rosenberg's book and the sequel, "The Last Days". My only complaint is, as a former Marine Corps combat (Vietnam) veteran, I came across some very jarring inaccuracies in both books describing certain functions of weapons employed by the protagonist. I cringed every time I read a passage describing the insertion of a "clip" into a rifle or pistol. In one particularly bizarre sequence, two .357 Magnums (please!) had their "safeties" clicked off before firing.
Mr. Rosenberg, my Parris Island drill instructor, Staff Sergeant Rash, would hang me by my heels and beat me severely about the head and shoulders for such silliness.
For the readers of this review who are puzzled by my comments, please allow me to explain. A "clip" is only used with manually loaded rifles such as the World War II era M1 Garand. Constructed of spring steel, the "clip" holds eight rounds of 30-06 ammunition and is pushed into the receiver of the weapon from the top and is discarded once all shots have been fired. Modern weapons, including the M-16, the AK-47, the German MP-5 and the 9mm Beretta pistol use MAGAZINES, not "clips". The magazine is inserted into the weapon from the bottom and features a spring follower which pushes the ammunition to the top of the magazine as the weapon is fired.
As to the .357 Magnum, it is a six shot REVOLVER and does not have a SAFETY! Yikes!
Other than the above, albeit minor, discrepancies and a very strange dream sequence in "The Last Days" (what was that all about?), Mr. Rosenberg has crafted fine and entertaining reads.
I'm looking forward to his next book. Let me be the first to volunteer to read the galley prior to publication to point out any inconsistencies. It would save the inevitable teeth gnashing engendered by weapons-knowledgeable readers who discover this fine author.
Please indulge this closing quote from my Marine Corps mentor, SSgt. Rash, "When in doubt, empty the MAGAZINE, Marine!"
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The Last Jihad (Political Thrillers Series #1)
The Last Jihad (Political Thrillers Series #1) by Joel C. Rosenberg (Mass Market Paperback - September 15, 2003)
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