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Cry Wolf: A Political Fable Paperback – May 11, 2008
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
A dazzling new series, a pure adrenaline rush, debuts with Jane Hawk, a remarkable heroine certain to become an icon of suspense. See more
"Lake writes vividly and characterizes shrewdly, producing an anti-immigration fable more polished than Orwell's anti-Communist satire." Booklist
"What seems, at first, a gentle fable about farm animals who enjoy a kind of ordered liberty, turns quickly into a grim allegory about man's dark impulse toward the collective." Laurie Morrow, political columnist, The Montpelier Bridge
"A charming and chilling fable that underscores the fragility of a world achieved with great difficulty and so easily undone by good intentions gone awry." The Reverend John Newhaus, editor in chief, First Things
"John Lennon sang 'Imagine there's no countries, and no religions, too'. In his superb limpid allegory, Paul Lake imagines these very things with terrifying precision." Les Murray, poet and winner, TS Eliot Award
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Top Customer Reviews
I never cared for Animal Farm; Cry Wolf partly shares some of those qualities I disliked -- basically, it's not the greatest or most gripping of works from a purely literary standpoint, and it doesn't have as much subtlety and development as I would like to see, although it is superior to AF in both of these regards. I would also like to see a bit more explicit articulation of the book's more complex ideas. Nonetheless it is a great work, an enjoyable one, and potentially a very important one.
Those (like Booklist) who identify Cry Wolf as an anti-immigration fable are missing the book's main points and doing it a disservice. While it can serve as a caution against unchecked immigration, it certainly does not appear to be intended to be an anti-immigrant screed. The author's primary concerns lie elsewhere. Immigration merely serves in the book as a key vehicle through which incautious compassion, myopic self-interest, and political correctness transform a virtuous constitutional republic into a degenerate anarchic tyranny and, finally, a killing field. In the process, the author treats many critical issues of contemporary US (and, broadly Western) politics, society, and culture.
This is the sort of important but easy-read book that I think would be at the top of bestseller lists, and would be widely employed in teaching, if it weren't so discomfiting to the left. Its subtitle should be, "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty!"
What a fantastic read, and companion piece to Orwell's Animal Farm.
I can't recommend this book enough.
That said, I will go on to near unstinting praise of Lake's book, though it was hard for the first fifty pages or so to keep track of various characters, but once the "downfall" began, the story became absolutely riveting. I will give no spoilers here, (hate those kinds of reviews!). Sufficient to say that when several of the animals are sent to "Sensitivity Training" to cure them of their "xenophobia" I was truly hooked. . .and as the standard line goes, I did not know whether to laugh or scream. Being in academia I've endured the same, I will never forget a friend, trapped in the same sensitivity class I was stuck in, whispering to me that I was committing "face crime," that my disdain was too obvious to the "professor." It was straight out of "1984", my mere look of disbelief at what I was hearing and being forced to endure, could be grounds for the ending of my graduate student career.
This book will make nearly every reader uncomfortable. It should! There are so many obvious points where the author's characters should have "drawn a line," or "rebuilt the fence" but in failing, and stepping back out of fear of not being politically correct, their fate is sealed. I admire the author's guts for writing this book, for it most assuredly means he will never pass a tenure review in 98% of our colleges today! If you are a parent of a student in college, make them read this book, and ask the questions of what is it they are truly learning in their "orientation" classes, and what "conformity" is expected of them at every turn while you shell out tens of thousands a year. For I believe the battlefield to save what is left of our cultural standards from the fate Lake implies is indeed our academic world. Nearly every scene in Lake's book, (other than outright slaughter, at least physical slaughter) I have witnessed in one form or another.
The author has written an Orwellian novel for our time, here, today, and not just a cautionary fable set in a future. It is about here and now and thus should be read by any who wish to still see America as the shining city on the hill rather than a morally and financially bankrupt. . .(which the squandering of the harvests symbolizes) nation that it is becoming, and in many ways already is.
Wm. Forstchen, Ph.D.
Professor of History and author of "One Second After"
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