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Leon Wibberly was born in Ireland and spent much of his life in California. A prolific author and journalist, he died in 1983.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Do you believe they'd really explode the bomb?' the President asked. 'Mr. President,' the secretary countered, 'would you have believed they would invade the United States with twenty longbowmen, landing in Manhattan off a chartered sailing vessel?' -The Mouse That Roared Sadly Leonard Wibberley's hilarious satire, The Mouse that Roared seems to be making the slow sad transit from wildly popular bestseller and hit movie in the 50s and 60s to cult classic in the 70s and 80s to largely forgotten in the 90s and 00s. The book, which was originally serialized in the Saturday Evening Post from December 1954 to January 1955 as The Day New York Was Invaded, is no longer in print--despite the fact that the tattered copy I'm holding is something like the 30th printing. And the film does not seem to have been transferred to DVD, though I did find a copy of the equally funny sequel, The Mouse on the Moon. Our growing amnesia is unfortunate, both because this is just a funny story, and also because current events reveal it to still be timely. The tale concerns the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a tiny European nation which "lies in a precipitous fold of the northern Alps." It was founded in 1370 by British soldier of fortune Roger Fenwick, under not altogether honorable circumstances. Practically the only thing that is produced there, and the only reason anyone has ever heard of it, is a fine wine called Pinot Grand Fenwick.Read more ›
Although this book is now a bit dated, and the cold war humor might be difficult for younger readers to grasp, it is still a tremendously funny read for those who remember or have studied the cold war days. In this book a tiny European country decides that the answer to its financial problems lies in going to war with the United States and loosing. After seeing how the US rebuilt its WWII adversaries it really seems the only sensible way out of their current economic crisis. Add to this a perfectly justifiable reason to make war on the United States in the form of an American company marketing a cheap clone of the nations staple wine label, and you have a unanimous decision for war in the great counsels of Grand Fenwick. The only problem is how to get the Americans to realize that they are at war. An official note declaring war was simply lost in the bureaucracy of the state department. At last they mount a mighty invasion of New York City (with an expeditionary force 20 longbowmen strong). The results are hilarious. Indeed not a chapter went by in which I did not laugh out loud at least a couple times. This was a fun book to read. I think this book is far better than the movie based on it. The only cold war comedy movie that was as good as this book was Dr. Strangelove (although the humor is of a very different verity).
Leonard Wibberley (1915-1983) wrote a GREAT satire re war, political stupidity (redundant phrase), and a valuable lesson. Readers should be warned that this great novel will disturb hate mongers and those who preach senseless violence. While the novel is humorous, the lessons are serious and deal with Ultimate Questions.
Wibberley began the novel about the tiny microstate called Grand Fenwick which was founded in 1370 under dubious circumstances. According to the novel, Grand Fenwick measured three miles by five miles close to the Alps Mountains. The residents got income by producing wine which was the staple of the economy. When the wine business started to decline, a political party formed called The Dilutionists who wanted to dilute the wine with more water while the anti-Dilutionists thought this was a bad idea. Since Grand Fenwick's wine was sold to Americans, the Dilutionists argued that Americans would not notice because Americans bought wine by label rather than content.
The ruler Gloriana II called a council and one suggestion was that the rulers should claim they faced the threat of Communism and appeal to the US for aid. However, a character named Tully refused to use such a ruse. He did not like Communism nor majority rule. The novel had the rulers of Grand Fenwich declare war on the US, lose, and collect foreign aid which this reviewer thought was the best suggestion. Tully who commanded an army trained and armed with late Medieval attire and weaspons, was told to invade the US and lose. Tully wanted to win. The provocation for war was that a American wine producer used a similar label of their wine which was seen by people of Grand Fenwick as cause for a war declaration.
When the plot and scene shifted to the US, Dr.Read more ›
The Mouse that Roared is the best political satire I have ever read. I read it thinking I would dislike it, like many novels read in the classroom, but I was wrong. Besides being hilariously funny, this novel criticizes modern day America and the policies of war in a way that is not boring to read. I was hooked from the first mention of the name Grand Fenwick and the explanation of its history. The characters are at once realistic and comical, and the ludicrous ideas of the old-fashioned duchy are actually not so impossible when one considers many Eastern cultures. Altogether a great book!
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