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The Army of the Republic: A Novel Hardcover – September 2, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383770
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,504,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Politically liberal readers will probably best appreciate Cohen's near-future thriller, in which corporate oligarchs run America and the middle classes acquiesce through fear of the displaced underclass, composed of those generally left behind by globalization. A coalition of trade unionists, environmentalists, religious groups and civil libertarians opposes the oligarchs. When the administration hacks electronic voting to rig elections, a general strike is called that's put down with Blackwater-style mercenaries. This leads a small group of activists to launch a campaign of assassinations and sabotage to force the government into allowing elections, but this triggers even more repression. While Cohen (Invisible World) vividly describes the dynamics of a demonstration as it evolves into a riot, even those in sympathy with the author's message may find this paranoid fantasy too heavy-handed and strident for their taste. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

It’s the near future, and across the U.S., bands of citizens have begun guerrilla wars to take the government back from corporate oligarchs who have hijacked elections, shattered the economy, and raped the environment. One guerrilla is Joshua Sands, aka Lando, who is a founder of the Army of the Republic; one oligarch is James Sands, Lando’s father and a man who has made billions by controlling water sources needed by millions of Americans. Army of the Republic uses the Sands family to highlight the polarization. Lando fully expects to be hunted down and killed or disappeared by Whitehall, a Blackwater look-alike; his father believes himself to be an honorable man, and in some respects, he is. James Sands represents Cohen’s brief nod to nuance, but the bulk of the book is Cohen’s extrapolation of trends and events in the very recent history of the country: wars of choice, the politics of fear, deregulation, oil shock, torture, and on and on. A few people will call his polemical page-turner treasonous, but it should find plenty of supporters among those who think the country is moving in the wrong direction. --Thomas Gaughan

Customer Reviews

I read this book quickly, unable (nor wanting to) put it down.
H. B. Hendrickson
It is really a story about protesters of one kind or another, the media, the government, the corporations.
Martin Streetman
In the end, I had very little feeling for the story or the characters who inhabit it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Megan VINE VOICE on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love blurbs sometimes. When they're not ridiculously banal, they're absurdly nonsensical. Take this one from David Maine's review of Army of the Republic: "Thomas Paine meets Rage Against the Machine." Ooooookay. Set aside for the moment that this description is, actually, fairly accurate. I immediately started making my own comparisons:

John Locke meets The Apprentice! Oedipus meets Ani DiFranco! DNC '68 meets Seattle WTO!

See how much fun that is? "Army of the Republic" presents us with America through the looking glass. It's a terrifying world, but it differs from ours only in degree, not in kind. (I hesitate to say that it's set in the future - a few things are left unmentioned that really should have been if this was still our own world.) Against this backdrop of corruption and resistance, we're presented with a small set of characters who represent a variety of groups, from corporate shills to peaceful protesters to armed revolutionaries. And what keeps "AOTR" from devolving into 300 pages of anti-corporate ranting and anarchist propaganda is that this is foremost a story about people. These people have ideals, yes, and that's what makes them do the things they do, and that's important. But just when Cohen is on the verge of descending into outraged shrieking about the complacency of the American public or the criminal tendencies of CEOs, he reminds us that these are real (OK, fictional) people we're talking about. Lando, Emily, James, and Anne are incredibly complex characters on their own, and when you start exploring their various relationships you get a web of conflict, conscience, and conviction that will make it impossible for you to not sympathize with them all.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Opa Wayne VINE VOICE on November 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Imagine that corporate America gains control of the United States. The government conducts elections on the Internet and manipulates the results. Unemployment is beyond depression levels. Agencies of the corporate government control television networks. Private companies own most of the water. A revolution begins and you are asked to take sides. Which side do you trust? That question faces readers of Army of the Republic.

The scene of Stuart Cohen's new novel is set in an America of the near future. The patriot act has expanded and the government has outsourced a large share of its responsibilities. We are still at war in the middle east, our military forces have grown, gas is not affordable, and most media and entertainment outlets are carefully manipulated. Civil disobedience festers and corporations fight back.

The novel has four narrators. First is Lando, an active member of the Army of the Republic (AOR). The AOR is a "radical" opposition group that uses violence as a primary tool. The second narrator is James Sands, CEO of Water Solutions, a corporation that controls much of the water in the country. The third narrator is James Sands' wife Anne. Anne is a teacher who disapproves of her husband's political activities. The fourth narrator is Emily Cartwright, a leading member of Democracy Northwest Network (DNN), a political action group that organizes against what they deem as offensive corporate or governmental activity.

Although Cohen's novel is heavy in social and political intrigue, the characters are sympathetic and appealing. Lando is the lovable boy genius, well read in the lives of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and in the Constitution of the United States. Lando's intentions are always admirable and necessary.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lupin78 on November 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Army of the Republic by Cohen is an interesting tale of resistance to an oppressive regime in a possible near future America. In fact, this book could conceivably be set in present day America if a few minor details were altered. No doubt there have already been similar occurrences in reality since the Patriot Act and Military Commissions act have effectively suspended habeas corpus and given the vindictive and thoughtless federal government unchecked power.

Just this week US courts demanded that five secret prisoners be released from their unconstitutional incarceration in Guantanamo, and the Treasury is preparing to funnel billions more taxpayer dollars into the monolithic "big three", after already saddling future generations with trillions for banker bonuses. My point is that the content of the novel is entirely relevant, regardless of what some reviewers claim.

I won't call this book a literary masterpiece, as some of the characters are not all they could be and the storytelling is sometimes lackluster but does its job bringing important scenarios to the reader's attention.

Neocons and neolibs will probably dislike this book, although they are the ones who should be paying the most attention. Any lovers of freedom and liberty will probably enjoy this book regardless of its flaws.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rita Sydney VINE VOICE on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviewers do a good job summarizing this book regarding its plotting, characterization, etc. Some of the opinions, however, are too concerned that the work is not an artistic masterpiece.

I agree that it is not, but, So What? I don't think Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here is one of his best writings yet it's still valuable as an exercise in showing how what is happening now might play out in the future.

That's what I take away from this book. Mr. Cohen shows what some of the anti-terrorism measures the USA has put in place since 9/11 would look like in operation.

The rational behind the fact that groups like Blackwater want to get into domestic intelligence work becomes clear.

Our collective NOW is one of fears and calls to patriotism and hate mongering and idealism and political ambitions and corporate supremacy and greed and violence as solution, etc. etc.

This book puts it all into a coherent picture. It is therefore well worth reading whether a reader agrees or disagrees with the scenario.
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