A God in Ruins [NOOK Book]

Overview

A God in Ruins



Spanning the decades from World War II to the 2008 presidential campaign, A God in Ruins is the riveting story of Quinn Patrick O'Connell, an honest, principled, and courageous man on the brink of becoming the second Irish Catholic President of the United States. But Quinn is a man with an explosive secret that can shatter his political amibitions, threaten...

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A God in Ruins

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Overview

A God in Ruins



Spanning the decades from World War II to the 2008 presidential campaign, A God in Ruins is the riveting story of Quinn Patrick O'Connell, an honest, principled, and courageous man on the brink of becoming the second Irish Catholic President of the United States. But Quinn is a man with an explosive secret that can shatter his political amibitions, threaten his life, and tear the country apart--a secret buried for over a half century--that even he does not know...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Veteran writer Uris (Exodus; Redemption) begins his 12th novel with a compelling premise: Quinn O'Connell is certain to become America's second Roman Catholic president, except that he discovers, a week before the 2008 election, that he was actually born Jewish. Adopted 60 years ago by a Catholic couple, and newly informed by his long-lost Jewish half-brother of his heritage, O'Connell now asks a difficult question: Is America ready to elect a Jewish president? This initial introduction of the issue of anti-Semitism seems promising. Uris obviously is aiming to put the religion of a world leader in perspective: what does it matter if he's at heart a good and honest man? But then he virtually ignores the theme for the next 300 pages. Even when the national reaction to O'Connell's identity results in epidemic violence against Jewish people across the country, an event compared to Kristallnacht, the national issue that gets the most play in O'Connell's presidential race is gun control. His opponent in the election is Republican incumbent Thornton Tomtree, whose administration is struggling to repair his reputation in the wake of violent national tragedies like the Four Corners Massacre, in which 400 Eagle Scouts and their troop leaders are killed in a catastrophic explosion set off by a drugged-out militia group. O'Connell goes up against the gun lobby and calls for repeal of the Second Amendment as part of his presidential campaign. This issue dominates the bulk of the novel, making the opening and closing sections feel like a cut-and-paste job on a totally different story. Years are dismissed in sentences and events are outlined instead of described. Gun lobbies, neo-Nazi militias and tensions between black and Jewish communities eventually get worked into the plot, as does O'Connell's family history, but Uris's apocalyptic tale is too stylistically scattered to generate much suspense. In fact, readers may think they are reading a miniseries teleplay that hasn't been fully fleshed out. Author tour; 15-city TV satellite tour. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
It's 2008, and the Democratic candidate for the presidency is Jewish--but, as an orphan who was raised Catholic, he doesn't even know it.
Kirkus Reviews
Uris takes on a subject bigger than the Irish (Trinity, 1976, and Redemption, 1995), the Jews (Exodus, 1958, and Mitla Pass, 1988), or the Arabs (The Haj, 1984). This time, it's Man himself, of whom Emerson says, "Man is a god in ruins Infancy is the perpetual Messiah, which comes into the arms of fallen men, and pleads with them to return to paradise." The Messiah here, a Jewish orphan adopted and raised by a Catholic family, is the great liberal Quinn Patrick O'Connell, now at 60 governor of Colorado and Democratic candidate for president. Sloganeering about the nation's Moral Imperative, O'Connell has grand plans for the rehabilitation of ruined mankind through racial harmony. But he also has problems, including vile barbs from the incumbent president and rival messiah, black-hearted Thornton Tomtree. The time-span covers the last week before the election in 2008, with long flashbacks to WWII and forward. Will Quinn follow in the footsteps of JFK as our second Catholic president? And what is the terrible scandal in his past that may undermine his hopes? If elected, can he rise above riots and bomb-throwing, the blows from armed zealots and rigid fundamentalists whose hatreds divide the nation? Uris himself offers a rather woozy moral message bordering on bombast in a novel that may widen his audience and boost sales, but hardly matches the author's messianic ambitions. .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061744334
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 122,982
  • File size: 744 KB

Meet the Author

Internationally acclaimed novelist Leon Uris ran away from home at age seventeen, a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, to join the Marine Corps, and he served at Guadalcanal and Tarawa. His first novel, Battle Cry, was based on his own experiences in the Marines, which he revisited in his final novel, O'Hara's Choice. His other novels include the bestsellers Redemption, Trinity, Exodus, QB VII, and Topaz, among others. Leon Uris passed away in June 2003.

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Read an Excerpt


Troublesome Mesa, Colorado
Autumn, 2008

A Catholic orphan of sixty years is not apt to forget the day he first learned that he was born Jewish. It would not have been that bombastic an event, except that I am running for the presidency of the United States. The 2008 election is less than a week away.
Earlier in the day, my in-close staff looked at one another around the conference table. We digested the numbers. Not only were we going to win, there was no way we were going to lose. Thank God, none of the staff prematurely uttered the words "Mr. President."

This morning was ten thousand years ago.

I'm Quinn Patrick O'Connell, governor of Colorado and the Democratic candidate for president. The voters know I was adopted through the Catholic bureaucracy by the ranchers Dan and Siobhan O'Connell.

My dad and I were Irish enough, at each other's throats. Thanks to my mom, we all had peace and a large measure of love before he was set down in his grave.

All things being equal, it appeared that I would be the second Roman Catholic president in American history. Unknown to me until earlier this day, I would be the first Jewish president as well.

Nothing compares to the constant melancholy thirst of the orphan to find his birth parents. It is the apparatus that forms us and rules us.

Aye, there was always someone out there, a faceless king and queen in a chilled haze, taunting.

Ben Horowitz, my half brother, had been searching for me, haunted, for over a half century. Today he found me.

Tomorrow at one o'clock Rocky Mountain time I must share my fate with the American people. You haven't heard of Rocky time? Some of thenetworks haven't, either. Lot of space but small market.

The second half of the last century held the years that the Jews became one of the prime forces in American life. Politically, there had been a mess of Jewish congressmen, senators, mayors, and governors of enormous popularity and power. None had won the big enchilada. I suppose the buck stops here.

Had I been elected governor as Alexander Horowitz, I'd have been just as good for my state. However, the discovery of my birth parents a week before the presidential election could well set off a series of tragic events from the darkness where those who will hate me lay in wait.

How do I bring this to you, folks? In the last few hours I have written, "my fellow Americans" twenty-six times, "a funny thing happened to me on the way to Washington" twenty-one times, and "the American people have the right to know" three dozen times. My wastebasket overfloweth.

Don't cry, little Susie, there will be a Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

No, the White House kitchen will not be kosher. My love of Carnegie tongue and pastrami is not of a religious nature.

By presidential decree, the wearing of a yarmulke is optional.

Israel will not become our fifty-first state.

To tell the truth, my countrymen, I simply do not know what this means in my future. O'Connell was a hell of a good governor, but we are in uncharted waters.

I'm getting a little fuzzy. I can see into the bedroom, where Rita is sprawled in the deep part of a power nap. Rita and our bedroom and her attire are all blended with Colorado hush tones, so soft and light in texture. At the ranch Rita liked to wear those full and colorful skirts like a Mexican woman at fiesta. As she lays there a bit rumpled, I can see up her thighs. I'd give my horse and saddle to be able to crawl alongside her. But then, I'd never finish my Washington's farewell to the troops speech.

On the other hand, Rita and I have made the wildest gung-ho love when we were under the deepest stress.

Write your speech, son, you've got to "face the nation" tomorrow, Rocky Mountain time.

Straight narrative, no intertwining B.S. or politicizing. Explain the O'Connell ne Horowitz phenomenon. Truth, baby, truth. At least truth will not come back to haunt you.

Strange, I should be thinking of Greer at this moment. Rita is the most sensual soul mate one could pray for. We have loved one another without compromise for nearly thirty years. Yet, is it possible that Greer is really the love of my life?

I'd have never come this far in the campaign without Greer Little's genius. I would have been tossed into the boneyard of candidates never heard from again. She organized, she raised money, she knew the political operatives, and she masterminded my "miracle" campaign.

I was struck by the realization that Greer would leave soon, and I felt the same kind of agony as when we broke up years before. I had needed to see Greer on some business, and knocked and entered her room. She had been on the bed with Rita, passed-out drunk. Rita had held her and soothed her as though she were a little girl, and Rita had put her finger to her lips to tell me to be quiet.

Well, there was life without Greer, but there could be no life without Rita. Yet it still hurts.

I watch the hours flow in the passageway behind me like the tick of a suppressed bomb about to be released. I am through with a draft. I write another.

As the hours to dawn tick off, it all seems to come down to the same basic questions. Am I telling the truth? Do the American people have the civility and the decency to take the truth and rise with it? A God in Ruins. Copyright © by Leon Uris. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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First Chapter

Troublesome Mesa, Colorado
Autumn, 2008

A Catholic orphan of sixty years is not apt to forget the day he first learned that he was born Jewish. It would not have been that bombastic an event, except that I am running for the presidency of the United States. The 2008 election is less than a week away.

Earlier in the day, my in-close staff looked at one another around the conference table. We digested the numbers. Not only were we going to win, there was no way we were going to lose. Thank God, none of the staff prematurely uttered the words "Mr. President."

This morning was ten thousand years ago.

I'm Quinn Patrick O'Connell, governor of Colorado and the Democratic candidate for president. The voters know I was adopted through the Catholic bureaucracy by the ranchers Dan and Siobhan O'Connell.

My dad and I were Irish enough, at each other's throats. Thanks to my mom, we all had peace and a large measure of love before he was set down in his grave.

All things being equal, it appeared that I would be the second Roman Catholic president in American history. Unknown to me until earlier this day, I would be the first Jewish president as well.

Nothing compares to the constant melancholy thirst of the orphan to find his birth parents. It is the apparatus that forms us and rules us.

Aye, there was always someone out there, a faceless king and queen in a chilled haze, taunting.

Ben Horowitz, my half brother, had been searching for me, haunted, for over a half century. Today he found me.

Tomorrow at one o'clock Rocky Mountain time I must share my fate with the American people. You haven't heard of Rocky time? Some of the networks haven't, either. Lot of space but small market.

The second half of the last century held the years that the Jews became one of the prime forces in American life. Politically, there had been a mess of Jewish congressmen, senators, mayors, and governors of enormous popularity and power. None had won the big enchilada. I suppose the buck stops here.

Had I been elected governor as Alexander Horowitz, I'd have been just as good for my state. However, the discovery of my birth parents a week before the presidential election could well set off a series of tragic events from the darkness where those who will hate me lay in wait.

How do I bring this to you, folks? In the last few hours I have written, "my fellow Americans" twenty-six times, "a funny thing happened to me on the way to Washington" twenty-one times, and "the American people have the right to know" three dozen times. My wastebasket overfloweth.

Don't cry, little Susie, there will be a Christmas tree on the White House lawn.

No, the White House kitchen will not be kosher. My love of Carnegie tongue and pastrami is not of a religious nature.

By presidential decree, the wearing of a yarmulke is optional.

Israel will not become our fifty-first state.

To tell the truth, my countrymen, I simply do not know what this means in my future. O'Connell was a hell of a good governor, but we are in uncharted waters.

I'm getting a little fuzzy. I can see into the bedroom, where Rita is sprawled in the deep part of a power nap. Rita and our bedroom and her attire are all blended with Colorado hush tones, so soft and light in texture. At the ranch Rita liked to wear those full and colorful skirts like a Mexican woman at fiesta. As she lays there a bit rumpled, I can see up her thighs. I'd give my horse and saddle to be able to crawl alongside her. But then, I'd never finish my Washington's farewell to the troops speech.

On the other hand, Rita and I have made the wildest gung-ho love when we were under the deepest stress.

Write your speech, son, you've got to "face the nation" tomorrow, Rocky Mountain time.

Straight narrative, no intertwining B.S. or politicizing. Explain the O'Connell né Horowitz phenomenon. Truth, baby, truth. At least truth will not come back to haunt you.

Strange, I should be thinking of Greer at this moment. Rita is the most sensual soul mate one could pray for. We have loved one another without compromise for nearly thirty years. Yet, is it possible that Greer is really the love of my life?

I'd have never come this far in the campaign without Greer Little's genius. I would have been tossed into the boneyard of candidates never heard from again. She organized, she raised money, she knew the political operatives, and she masterminded my "miracle" campaign.

I was struck by the realization that Greer would leave soon, and I felt the same kind of agony as when we broke up years before. I had needed to see Greer on some business, and knocked and entered her room. She had been on the bed with Rita, passed-out drunk. Rita had held her and soothed her as though she were a little girl, and Rita had put her finger to her lips to tell me to be quiet.

Well, there was life without Greer, but there could be no life without Rita. Yet it still hurts.

I watch the hours flow in the passageway behind me like the tick of a suppressed bomb about to be released. I am through with a draft. I write another.

As the hours to dawn tick off, it all seems to come down to the same basic questions. Am I telling the truth? Do the American people have the civility and the decency to take the truth and rise with it?

Copyright © 1999 by Leon Uris. Reprinted with permission of HarperCollins, Publishers Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    Horrible

    This book was horrible. Battlecry is my favorite book. Mila 18, Exodus and Topaz were all great reads. But this was just terrible. I honestly don't think Leon Uris really wrote this book. The writing style and politics of this book are just too far off. As for the writing style, it was just incoherent. Incomplete sentences, goofy dialogue and jumping all over the last 60 years had me thoroughly confused from the beginning. And the politics, one of the main themes in the book was the 2nd amendment. As someone who's written awesome books about the armed struggle in Warsaw Ghetto, the armed struggle to create the state of Israel and the armed struggle in Ireland, I just don't understand how all of the sudden Mr. Uris has decided that guns are evil. And that all gun owners and NRA (AMERIGUN in the book) members are anti-Semitic, ignorant, racist, southern Christians. As a gun owner, NRA member, southerner and a Christian and couldn't help but feel a little offended. And as far as the anti-Semitic rioting, anybody remember Joe Lieberman? Almost elected vice-president, but that fact that he's Jewish was never really an issue. Is this really what Uris thinks about the American people? That we're capable of the things that happen in this book? During the peak of the armed militia stuff in the mid 90s no Eagle Scout massacres happened. Lieberman almost getting elected as the number 2 man on the government depth chart, no widespread riots. All in all, I wish I had never picked it up. All it did was annoy me and tarnish the way I think about one of my 2 favorite authors. Wanna read a Leon Uris book, get Battlecry. I've read it 4 times and it keeps getting better. A God in Ruins is heading for the trash can.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2000

    Leon Uris Sells Out

    It's a shame when a gifted writer like Leon Uris writes a book that sounds like media spin. In his references to current president Bill Clinton, main character O¿Connell sounds more like the head of the Democratic National Committee than a down-to-earth, honest, yet reluctant politician. Is it fantasy, irony, hypocrisy or some combination of all three that hero O¿Connell is so honest when many of our real life politicians are anything but? The good in the book are too good and the bad are too bad to be believable. While gun rights activists are painted as Nazi loving card carrying KKK members, the gun law supporters are portrayed as reasonable, caring and human. Although the story is sometimes fragmented, is still interesting enough to get through. This book is daring in that it attempts to offer commentary on the political and social climate in the United States today, but is definitely not one of Uris¿ best.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2000

    A look at the US political system

    I do not think this is one of Leon Uris' best books. I found it dragged in the middle and Uris could have reduced the four hundred pages considerably without detracting anything from the story. It is the life story of a presidential candidate in the 2008 election. His opposite number is already in the White House trying for a second term. We have a more concise version of his life. Quinn Patrick O'Connell, the candidate, is a man with high principles who makes enemies among supporters of the gun lobby and the racist segments of American society. O'Connell, is leading on points when the book opens but he has discovered a secret which could cause him to lose the race.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2012

    highly recommended for history and Marine lovers.

    great early history of the Corp.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2001

    Tears for a Muse in ruins

    I wept when I finished Leon Uris' Battlecry, I wept upon finishing Mila 18, Exodus, Armageddon and Trinity. He is the one author I buy in hardback copies to keep and reread. He has been the model I try to style myself after in my own writing. So it is not surprising that I wept after reading A God in Ruins. But this time, I wept because it was such a poor read. I have to wonder if he actually wrote it. Uris' characters are usually well developed and get into your heart, your soul. Quinn was so unbelievably good and 3T was so unbelieveably bad. The attempt to suggest an American Kristallnacht was as poor a conclusion to the book as one can expect in a John Grisham novel. His references to Pres. Clinton seem to echo excerpts from the Geraldo Rivera nightly apology network. I hope the next book puts Uris back on track. I do so love his characters and his unique way of weaving a story through their lives.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2011

    Good Read

    What is the mark of a man? A little love, some history, insight,, imperfection, knowledge and more. Uris is just good at revealing mankinds' essential being in a masterful use of words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2004

    An uncanny 'deja vu' feel

    In autumn of 2008, Quinn Patrick O'Connell prepares to take office as president of the United States of America. Just before the election, this Democratic Governor of Colorado has satisfied a lifetime longing (and simultaneously risked everything) by discovering his true heritage. From that opening on, the story is told in flashback as Irish cop Dan O'Connell returns to Brooklyn after his World War II Marine Corps service. Dan and his bride, Siobhan, set out soon afterward to look for wider horizons where they can raise their family. They find those horizons in Colorado; but the family doesn't come along until Siobhan's brother, a Roman Catholic priest, arranges for them to adopt a three-year-old boy whose background they can never know. We also follow the rise to economic and political power of Thornton Tomtree, an emotionally stunted genius whose 'Bulldog' computer network eventually drives the nation. Novelist Uris offers his readers both an engrossing family saga, and a moral commentary on the United States at the dawn of the 21st Century. Written prior to 9/11, this book has an uncanny 'deja vu' feel in some of the fictional events it depicts. 'Who am I?' - Quinn Patrick O'Connell's great question, that appears to be answered before we're past the first chapter - turns out to be the one his nation must also ask itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2002

    An informative book

    Until the last 100 pages of this book, this isn't such a fun read, it isn't a can't-put-down book, however, it is a very informative book and you can learn a lot about American Politics from it. A good book to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2002

    Be ready to concentrate!

    I'm not surprised at the overall medicore reveiws on this book. I picked it up the first time and was so confused by the jumping around that I put it down before I'd even read 100 pages. One month later I picked it up to give it a second chance, and I couldn't put it down! If you're in the mood for an epic story, covering a number of decades,with multiple characters and storylines, it's a great read. But be prepared to concentrate and be patient!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2000

    Worth your time

    This is a thought provoking and emotionally satisfying novel. It is a bit scattered, but all in all, an excellent read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2000

    Good Election Yarn

    All in all not a bad book. It will not rank as one of his best but it is worth reading. Mr Uris does a great job in developing his characters with all of their strengths and weaknesses. The book tells the story of Quinn Patrick O¿Connell an orphan raised by transplanted New Yorkers on a Colorado ranch. Quinn is on the verge of being elected president when the true story of his birth surfaces. In the end though he overplays the conclusion. The riot scenes are totally unrealistic and would never have occurred. The revelation of Quinn¿s birth would have been a dramatic break in a tight race for the presidency but there would have been no mayhem as a result. Overall the book was a good read right before a tight race for the White House.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2000

    It's About Time

    Leon Uris has outdone himself. The author has written a powerful novel which speaks to the immediate issues facing America today, issues which, if not dealt with, will one day destroy us. He speaks the truth about political corruption, racism, terrorism, the Second Amendment, violence, and hate groups which will stop at nothing to uphold their particular brand of terrorism. Quinn O'Connell embodies all that is honorable and trustworthy, courageous and bold; so much so that we can only hope he could be real. But I did find hope here. I want so much to believe that there really is a person of such integrity who could lead our beloved nation out of its present climate of dirty politics, hatred, racism, and violence. I wish that everyone would read this book; and I am grateful to Leon Uris for planting seeds of hope in my heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000

    author definitely gets his point across

    Leon Uris is getting older. That is clear in terms of his writing. However what he has to say far outweighs his writing style. His message of gun control,our fixation with the Internet, anti-semitism, etc.apparantly made his mark since you get his message. This was his goal. It has been well established that he is a wonderful writer. He didn't have to prove this again. It was his message that was important to him. He knew he had an audience and hoped that this audience would listen and act. Let's pray that it will be heard and that there will be some changes made.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2000

    Was This Really Written by Uris?

    I've read everything Uris has written, starting with Battle Cry, which I read three times straight through because it was so compelling. I bought A God in Ruins as soon as it came out, anticipating another great and thought-provoking story. I got something else. I'm not even sure I got Leon Uris ... has someone else stolen his name? Let me admit up front that after about 100 pages, I gave up, read the last chapter in hopes that I'd find something compelling enough to make me continue to plow through drivel, and abandoned even that faint hope quickly, so my review isn't as complete as others may be. But maybe this will save others the agony of even those 100 pages. This was a poorly-written, poorly-researched, pointless book. It wandered everywhere, basic facts were wrong (if you're going to make specific references to a real places, make sure they're accurate ... Brown University isn't in Newport ... or make up your own places), and the characters had no depth at all (although since they weren't all that sympathetic, maybe it's just as well we don't get to know them any better). The political bias is overwhelming (maybe Clinton really wrote this!) and the level of believability was non-existant. If I could return it for a full-refund, I would!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 1999

    An Author in Ruins

    It is sad to see an author renowned for his painstaking research, produce a flimsy work. Uris has produced a piece of left-wing propaganda, painting the fictional Republican president as evil incarnate and his Democratic challenger as perfect. His portrayal of the issues involved in the debate over the Second Amendment 'right to keep and bear arms', is incredibly simplistic when one considers Uris' scholarship. Each of his previous works brought us a profound understanding of an important confict. This book promotes conflict not understanding.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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