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The Trial of Prisoner 043: A Novel Paperback – August 1, 2017
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“With echoes of Nuremberg, Jastrow’s masterpiece of realistic fiction will inspire some, anger others, and provoke water cooler conversation across our divided nation. Whatever your position on the legitimacy of the war in Iraq, this is a book you’re going to want to read.”
—Michael Scharf, Dean, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, and coauthor of Enemy of the State
“Terry Jastrow’s new novel is a riveting review of a controversial and sad period in American political affairs—the war in Iraq. Jastrow’s method of competing arguments reminds the reader of Socrates; the book is an engrossing drama well worth contemplating. Bravo!”
—Tom Dine, foreign policy expert on European and Middle East affairs and President, Radio Free Europe
“If hindsight is 20/20, what is foresight? A question posed existentially in a fascinating new book, "The Trial of Prisoner 043", written by Terry Jastrow. While the prosecution has the advantage of hindsight, the defense is restricted to foresight, and the reader must reconcile the two. The question becomes, what would you have done given the same circumstances? It’s a seductive question that makes the book a must-read. There is also a shock on the last page.”
—Bob Dowling, former Publisher and Editor in Chief, Hollywood Reporter
“Carefully researched and brilliantly argued, this is compelling, infuriating, and cathartic.”
—Lou Aronica, New York Times best-selling author
“Terry Jastrow’s brilliant, biting novel is a must-read for anyone who cares about international peace, war crimes past and future, and how justice can be delivered in unexpected ways. If you think you know how this story ends, start reading now!”
—Sarah Lovett, coauthor (with Valerie Plame) of New York Times bestseller Blowback
“Terry Jastrow’s terrific new novel, "The Trial of Prisoner 043", poses many questions that need to be ask and debated. I won’t stop thinking about it for weeks, maybe months. It is the must read book of the summer.”
—Catherine Bell, star of JAG, Army Wives, and Hallmark’s The Good Witch
“Terry Jastrow’s "The Trial of Prisoner 043" is a masterful blend of fact and fiction. A powerful story that entertains and edifies. Can the president of the United States ultimately do whatever he wants? Was Bush’s maverick decision to go to war with Iraq a foreshadowing of things to come? A perfect book for these unsettling times.”
—Terri Hanauer, film and theatrical director/screenwriter
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While reading this novel I felt the same way I did when I watched the Documentary film "Blackfish" a few years back. That work was so grossly one-sided in the filmmaker's efforts to lambaste Sea World that you felt cheated watching it. Yes, some things that could be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt could make any reasonable person angry, but that same 'reasonable person' also had to realize that some very creative editing resulted in a landslide for just one version of what was being presented as 'the truth'.
Yes, there are still people out there who are deluded enough to believe that George W. Bush and his cabinet actually brought on the horrific events of 9/11 as a ruse to create justification for raiding the Middle East to eliminate any and all of our enemies. The really demented actually still claim that 9/11 was allowed to happen in order for us to invade the Middle East in an effort to take over their oil supply.
The first case has little merit while the latter is utter insanity. The middle ground between these two attempts at intelligent thought is the area that THE TRIAL OF PRISONER 043 resides in. Sort of a Liberal Twilight Zone. Prisoner 043 is, obviously, George W. Bush. Imagine, if you will, that the International Criminal Court actually plotted to kidnap the ex-U.S. President while he was golfing at St. Andrew's, Scotland, and then force him to stand trial in an impromptu kangaroo court. Again, this is a work of Alternative History and thankfully not the truth.
I was surprised at the author, Terry Jastrow, who has a decent IMBD profile of his years in the world of Television and Theater would publish something so far to one side of the political spectrum. The one thing I do give him credit for is the hours of tedious research he and his team must have suffered through to ensure that at least names, facts and figures were accurate.
As a novel, the story fails simply due to the fact that the story is so overtly slanted from the start that you know it is not going to change gears or provide any wild plot twists by the ending. This takes away any element of surprise. Regardless of my own political ideology I am insulted as a reviewer at having to read something so biased. Also, the fictional version of Bush does not get to even speak up or defend himself until well into the second half of this slim story. Keep in mind, any words put in his mouth were created by a non-impartial author.
I'm not surprised that this novel was made. The Liberal masses around the world need some sort of panacea to help them deal with the fact that instead of the first ever female U.S. President we are saddled with a power-hungry, possibly insane billionaire as President 045. Since the Liberals control most of the media and nearly everything we read or see, I'm sure this is only the start. We don't have a female President, but we do now have a female Dr. Who. I am equally eager and frightened to see what's next...
Reviewed by Ray Palen
Essentially, this book replayed all the evidence for and against the Iraq War. The author was able to use real quotes from all of the principals who were involved in the war effort, as well as those who opposed it. He even included Hans Blix, head of the UN Iraq weapons inspection team, who conducted 731 inspections between 11/02 and 3/03 when the war began. No doubt, this book was very well researched. I’ve actually heard this scenario debated and wished for by my leftist friends while the righties I know seem to automatically dismiss the idea, much like Bush’s attorneys tried to do.
Jastrow created believable figures in the respective teams of attorneys and the panel of judges. Jastrow wrote that his characters understood that the very legitimacy of the court was going to be on trial, along with the attorneys and Bush. As a political junkie, I thought his portrayal of Bush was spot on. The prosecution hammered away at Bush’s allegedly nonsensical pivot from seeking to find and kill bin Laden for 9/11 to pursuing the war in Iraq. Lead prosecuting attorney Michael McBride said, “This is the story of how George Bush is personally responsible for creating the pretext for, and then waging, the Iraq War – and the devastating results of his war.” Certainly, the author does a pretty good job of presenting Bush’s side of the argument.
You get the idea, and I won’t reveal the conclusion. Jastrow has done a remarkable job, and if the topic interests you, this is a must read.
What if former President George W. Bush stood trial for war crimes for his part in starting the Iraq War? I've read alternate histories before, but an alternate future? A future that realistically could still happen? It's mind blowing.
The lines between fact and fiction were so blurred that I often forgot I was reading a novel. One thing that really blurred those lines was that, even though this is a piece of fiction, names were not changed and included such figures as George W. Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleezza Rice, among others. I didn't even think that was legally allowed. Real events and dialogue are intermixed with fiction, which leaves one to wonder what is real, and what isn't. And because so much of it was based on facts, I soon found myself assuming that all of it was factual--which is a dangerous place to be.
Because the novel used real people and real events as its premise, there is virtually no character development. Terry Jastrow gives us a short first chapter (which you can read following the review) to set up the situation, and then the entire novel happens inside a courtroom. It is almost entirely focused on the war and the verdict, not the people involved with it. As such, there isn't much plot development as well.
Although I didn't always love the writing style, and the author had an obvious purpose in writing The Trial of Prisoner 043 (to bring the real George W. Bush to justice), the aspect of realism sucked me in and didn't let go.