- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Ulysses Press; Gift edition (February 16, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781612431666
- ISBN-13: 978-1612431666
- ASIN: 1612431666
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse Hardcover – February 16, 2001
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First, the story flow: There was way too much detailed information. I lost track of the acronyms and terms that I did not know and I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction. Any time a person had to recount his or her story, it took many, many pages and was in excruciating detail. Frequently, the story launched into a detailed inventory of absolutely everything they had and how to use it. There was no way that the story could possibly have any coherence or flow with that.
Second: Way, way too much religion for me and all of it required to be Christian.
Third, the characters: There was a tendency to alternate between first name, last name and sometimes nickname which made it very confusing. For a while I thought Tom, T.K. and Kennedy were three different people. The characters were extremely one dimensional. The men oozed testosterone and the women were pretty much just there so it wasn't an odd bunch of just guys hunkering down. This line from the book pretty much sums up the women,"I'll be looking for a God-fearing Christian woman that can cook and sew and shoot straight." Yup.
Fourth: You can't get any more right wing than this. Can't someone just once tell a story where the conservatives and the liberals are just complete jerks but just people with different points of view?
Fifth: I recognize that the author knows a ton about survival gear etc so I bumped up a star for that. I just wish the story had been worthy of his considerable knowledge.
The plot refers to a complete breakdown in society due to economic collapse and resulting social unrest, A large portion of the population is wiped out. If you have desk job, live a cosmopolitan life, and/or don't have a gun cache, you're dead. Without being too specific and spoiling anything, the novel focuses on preparedness, bugging out, survival, defense, and eventually rebellion against tyranny. It is hard to put this book down.
The characters are not complex, but this is is a plot driven story, not a character driven story.
Some things to note about the novel:
It is heavy on Christian faith as binding the characters together and differentiating them from the unholy bad guys. The religious element in the story is of the "give us strength" variety, not "smite the infidels." I personally don't believe faith is a necessary precondition to survival, but I did not find the author to be too heavy handed in this regard.
Couldn't even get past chapter 2, it was genuinely more banal and uninteresting than an accounting textbook.
For example instead of writing. "T.K. heard a rustling noise outside the door. He grabbed his AR15 and creeped towards the door to see if it was an intruder..." he would write something like "T.K. heard a rustling noise outside the door which was now reinforced with double steel beams and 1/4 inch thick sheet metal around the frame as well as a double deadlock system and a one-way peep hole. He grabbed his AR which he recently painted in a green beret 1968 camouflage pattern. The gun had a collapsible stock and retrofitted with a 45 round magazine, and lazer viewfinder. The magazine was fully loaded and he set the safety to semi-automatic and started creeping towards the door in classic marine recon style...
Overall a pretty good book, but I would have saved the detailed technical stuff for his website that he mentions after the end of the story.
Top international reviews
I certainly feel like I know a lot more about disaster preparedness and self-sufficient living than I did - I was left with an overwhelming urge to start stockpiling tinned foods and medical supplies, and learn to shoot a gun, though the latter will probably have to remain fantasy for those of not fortunate enough to live in the Land of the Free...
I've worn out the first... What more can I say!
Having said that this man is an example of the best and worst of American prepping.
He has a wealth of fascinating and useful information that is of use to newbie preppers, but wraps it in a deeply creepy theological extremism.
He even got to the point of advocating his own little "Jonestown", with the only difference being he places it in central Africa rather than South America (His novel "Land of Promise").
It is clear he is using his genuine skill at prepping as a platform for his obsession with religion.
Chose CAREFULLY which of his books you trust...
So this is a preparedness novel, but if things really did fall apart, then its clear that however capable people are, the quality of life would be a lot different. Our way of life supports a lot of people - the simpler life in this book would not support anywhere as many ..
There is a quite a bit of religion in this book which may jar a bit but the society that evolves does seem to be 'all hands to pumps' and quite egalitarian. Its also quite depressing that the rest of society seems to gravitate to violence and brutality very quickly (including the so called liberators from Europe..)
By the time I'd finished with the book I was just reminded that we do depend on each other to make society work as it is today - in this type of scenario life would again be 'brutish and short' without the things like medicines we take for granted available in the long term
So , not a happy read but a thought provoking one - what would you actually do in this type of situation ?
Overall "Patriots" fails as a novel. It's just not that interesting. The major weaknesses are the tediously detailed descriptions of guns and their ammunition when this detail is unimportant for the story, the characters whose histories are often recounted but who lack distinguishable personalities, and the lack of a compelling narrative with a well crafted plot arc. In so far as the main characters have personalities they are all pretty much the same, i.e. trigger happy and self righteously christian. All characters within the book fit neatly into binary stereotypes, goodies and badies. The badies are invariably rapists and looters (and bizarrely sometimes communists and cannibals). The first half of the book can mostly be considered "setting the scene" and is entertaining enough but it does start to drag a little to the point I found myself wondering if it was actually leading anywhere. The real "plot" becomes apparent a bit over half way through and its relatively straight forward and uninteresting (I won't leave spoilers here). Without giving too much away the plot in the second half will seem absurd to anyone who doesn't sympathise with a strongly anti-government, anti-socialist, and anti-European, flavour of American patriotism.
Other reviewers have written reviews with which I largely agree. For example (these may contain spoilers):
HowlingWolf630: "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"
Ekij: "Strong first half, disappointingly weak second half."
bandcandy: "Lots of guns, very little insight."
Armstrong440: "The wet dream of the religious right."
Several reviewers comment on the seemingly out of place chapter early in the book that introduces a couple of gun enthusiast brothers who appear to play no further part in the story. In fact, if you pay attention to names, these brothers do resurface later in the story but not in a way that makes any reference to the earlier chapter.
But what stopped me giving it 5 stars was the heavy Christian bias, it reads like Christians were the good guys and everyone else were the bad guys, it really got annoying, so much so that you can tell when a new person entered the story what was going to happen. I find it annoying and impossible to believe that only Christians were fighting on the side of the good guys and although at times when they were starving and cold they would not eat a can of food or use wood from a log pile they found in a deserted cabin...
I also felt that the people who were portrait as prepared were not nearly as prepared as was made out, i.e lack of waterproof boots and clothing as well as cold weather gear.
Great read but spoiled by the over reliance of one faith to connect the good people within the story.
Overall a good story but I thought there was too much "praising the Lord" and over descriptive on guns. However, I can appreciate if you know guns you will find that bit of the book interesting.