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Patriots Paperback – May 7, 2012
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From the Publisher
"What the novel captures best is the frenzy of our time. When money, politics and ideology converge on one city in the first age of truly instant communication, it becomes possible to stir up rage and fear on a grand scale in less than 15 minutes. Whole, short chapters of this book are simply quotations from the blogs, tweets and headlines of crucial days when the madness is at its height. Plenty of people have a vested interest in the madness... As one says: ''There are really only two choices. We win and they lose – or else, they win and we lose.’’ Walter’s proposition is that there is, in fact, a third possibility: ''We all lose.’’" -Charles Moore, The Telegraph
“…it is excellent political satire—and, for those in the know, bears more than a passing resemblance to reality.” -The Economist
Top Customer Reviews
If you follow politics, it's a great, fast read, and even if you don't, Frum cleverly tells the story from the 1st person view of Walter Sholtzky, a layabout heir to a mustard fortune who has failed at everything he's even done and has no knowledge of politics or much of anything else. Walter is a decent person, for a trust fund baby, though he is far from perfect. He is made to take a job in the office of Senator Hazen of Rhode Island, an old Consitutionalist (Frum's stand in for Republicans) and friend of his family. As Walter learns how Washington works, so do we.Read more ›
"Patriots" tells the story of the conservative party's relentless hijacking by more extreme right wing, somewhat anti-intellectual elements. At first the story's protagonist, who tells the story, newly arrived at a political job, gets ahead by mostly agreeing with everyone. The narrator allows others to draw their own conclusions about him with minimal information--usually seeing what they want to see, sometimes finding that to be a mistake. Perilous complications ensue. He eventually matures and finds his way among the ambitious politicos, sorting out those with a moral core he can respect, while avoiding being destroyed by the rest.
I was very entertained; some scenes were laugh out loud funny. After I finished the book, I happened to be listening to Bill Moyers and Company on XM: an interview with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, political communication scholar at U Penn. This was a welcome coincidence.Read more ›
Going through the book, I often wondered whether Frum wrote the book with different names first and then went through and did a Search/Replace on "Fox News" with "Patriot News" and "Republican Party" with "Constitutionalist Party" and so on. Some of the characters and lifted almost verbatim from the real world (like Glen Beck). It was interesting to read about the type of power play, behind the scenes machinations that drive life in politics in Washington.
My main gripe with the book (SPOILER ALERT) is that the ending was somewhat abrupt and unsatisfying. After working the whole book for a deficit reduction deal with higher taxes in order to balance the budget and pay down debt, the Republican, oops, sorry, Constitutionalist president instead caves into his own party's demands and slashes taxes instead. Then what? Life goes on? That's it? What about the crushing debt and budget and all that? Forgotten? It went away on its own? Aliens came down from space and paid it down?
Inquiring minds want to know.
He would have received 5 stars but I began to suspect I was learning something or at least he was trying to teach me something - which I reject in any fictional work. Having therefore refused to learn anything, I enjoyed the book a lot more but it did cost him a star.
It is much harsher on the Conservatives than the Liberals, but with the eye on hyperbole and events built for the story rather than revealing any current truths. It is an attack, in a fictional sense on ideology replaced by rating, conviction replaced by the coldest pragmatism.
But, this is very fun read and to me, that's all that counts. Our hero Walter is an amblivelent rich guy which zero ambition and maximum apathy toward anything political. He is drawn into the malestrom of politics, basically to satisfy his girlfriend and grandmother; both of whom want to make something of himself.
Seen through Walter's perspective as we get closer and closer to the Powers That Be, we are made to believe that not only is politics only for the seriously deranged and cynical but that selling out in the best way possible is the only recourse.
I did think the ending was weak, requiring a now learned Rich Guy and vague hope of change.
I want to keep saying that this is fun read, a page turner, a great story. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mr. Frum has a solid bead on the current political situation in Washington. Unfortunately, the lunatics have taken over the asylum and any reasonable policy work for the good of... Read morePublished on June 5, 2014 by Victor Marbury
Frum's writing style is interesting. I think he took a page from the Elmore Lenard play book in the way he writes dialog. Read morePublished on May 9, 2014 by Bama Fan 2009
This is an easy and fun read if you like to follow politics, especially if you're no fan of the hyper-polarized environment we live in today. Read morePublished on February 6, 2014 by Ray Schrab
Frum tries to avenge and even scores after his apostasy from the GOP. Broad caricatures -- do the clowns who inhabit DC even warrant caricatures? -- but mostly boring. Read morePublished on August 19, 2013 by Village Idiot Savant
Pollical satire is quickly becoming my favorite genre, perhaps because it is such a fertile field! The "mustard heir" being forced into the political world by his grandmother was a... Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by janeaustinfan
The main character of the novel, Walter Schotzke, is the wastrel son of wealth. He is like a character out of a P.G. Wodehouse novel. Read morePublished on January 14, 2013 by Fred Camfield
I usually don't review books, but in this case, I have decided to do so. I did not care for the book at all. Read morePublished on November 23, 2012 by baw53
I was totally engaged by this book. Very humorous throughout and lot of great characters. Storyline flows along well , only disappointment is an overly convenient ending with all... Read morePublished on October 15, 2012 by SeanT
Ok, I'm too much of a knee jerk liberal and west coaster to fully understand what Frum is going on about. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by E. J. Miller