Patriotsby David Frum
America's first black president has just lost re-election. A new leader tries to pull the country out of a terrible recession—only to face a devilish plot from inside his own party. David Frum's darkly comic satire PATRIOTS is not only a warning about the future of American politics. It is a scorching, intimate explanation of why the U.S. political system has… See more details below
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America's first black president has just lost re-election. A new leader tries to pull the country out of a terrible recession—only to face a devilish plot from inside his own party. David Frum's darkly comic satire PATRIOTS is not only a warning about the future of American politics. It is a scorching, intimate explanation of why the U.S. political system has so badly failed the American people over the years just past.
PATRIOTS tells the story of Walter Schotzke, the aimless young heir to America's largest mustard fortune. Walter is sent by his tough-minded grandmother to work in the office of a distinguished U.S. Senator. She hopes her otherwise worthless only grandchild might find purpose, and even appreciation for his country, from political service. Perhaps the job will also help Walter overcome the tragic loss of both his parents—especially that of his famous father, a genuine American hero, whose example Walter can't ever hope to live up to.
In Washington, Walter quickly proves to be a better student of the dark side of politics than he ever was at all the boarding schools he was thrown out of. He gains his education from a farcical faculty of blowhard radio hosts, outraged protestors, think-tank experts-for-hire, shady lobbyists, internet impresiaros, and the sexy but sinister talking heads of the "Patriot News Network."
Lunching and fundraising their luxurious way through economic depression and foreign war, the characters of PATRIOTS prosper by manipulating the fears and resentments of a country in crisis. Walter is used and abused - until, inadvertently and unexpectedly, he finds himself the unlikely hero of the angriest populist movement America has ever seen.
It is not the experience Walter, or his grandmother, expected. Walter must make some tough decisions fast—leading to the novel's surprising and hilarious conclusion.
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Meet the Author
David Frum is a contributing editor at DailyBeast/Newsweek and a CNN contributor. In 2001-2002, he served as special assistant and speechwriter in the administration of George W. Bush. He is the author of seven books. Patriots is his first novel.
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I kept waiting for Walter, the gutless protagonist of this poorly written, meandering story, to rebel. Rebel against his party, against the corrupt people he worked with and met, against his materialistic, gold digging girlfriend, and get some values. But he never confronts the Glenn Beck, Charles Murray, Rupert Murdochs of the story. They believe evil things and I guess we can only assume the author and his unsympathetic "Walter" only question the tactics of modern conservatism, not its core, evil concepts
Well-known and vague commentators state that the political system in Washington is rotten to the core and needs to be scrapped and reshaped. David Frum, former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has given the reader a look at the inner machinations and nefarious actions of America's most powerful Senators, lobbyists, assistants, radio commentators, bloggers and anyone else therein. Walter Schotzke, rich playboy son of the famous "mustard" family name, is mandated to employment by his grandmother who has had enough of his free-wheeling, uneducated, partying lifestyle. Initially, he is assigned to work as an assistant to an eminent Senator who supposedly is a fierce supporter of the "Constitutionalist" (Republican?) Party. But things begin to run amok when the newly elected President states he will be working to cross party-lines in all decisions, and the ire of the Constitutionalist Party awakens to become a destructive monster determined to destroy the President. There's a war in Mexico and a horrific attack occurs in which it is believed that traitors within were responsible for the death and kidnapping of American soldiers. Add to that an economy that is about to tank, with a plan to rescue the looming crisis by taxing new homeowners, and the picture becomes clear. Other similar nightmarish scenarios follow. What is specifically horrific is the political blurring of fact and fiction used by behind-the-scenes, well-paid agents of change who shape the news and thereby shape public policy enacted by our local and national politicians. Is this news? Not really to any intelligent, news-savvy, aware citizen but the blatant way Frum depicts the opulence and vicious nature behind the attacks is, as obviously intended by the author, quite revolting. The reader spends an inordinate amount of time working out who the "real" people behind this account are and the party affiliations, a process not very hard to decipher. For those who eat up the Washington scene and the big players there, Patriots is a must read. It's satirical qualities reek off every page. Walter Schotzke starts off as an ignorant "yes" man but evolves into a man wanting to know all the facts and fiction and believing that the "truth" (which is very hard to figure out) must be allowed to rule the day rather than the "rotten in Denmark" conditions. The reader is left to decide what the solution is, if one exists! After all, this is fiction, isn't it? A bit overdone but all in all, a clever account of political fiction, David Frum!