Official Review: American Fascist by Malcom James

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Official Review: American Fascist by Malcom James

Post by bookowlie » 31 May 2018, 19:37

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "American Fascist" by Malcom James.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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American Fascist by Malcom James is a political thriller about a fictional U.S. President. Despite the polls predicting otherwise, billionaire and political neophyte Harold P. Franks beats his female opponent in the 2016 Presidential campaign (sound familiar?). One of Franks’ key traits is shooting from the hip with controversial, often ignorant comments in the media.

Tech geek Eli Green is contracted to provide social media advertising for the Franks campaign. Once Franks becomes President, Eli is offered a job in the White Office Policy Office. The plot thickens when he is paid a huge consulting salary to install a secret taping system in the Oval Office.

I enjoyed this well-written story although I am recovering from a severe case of déjà vu. It is written in third person from Eli’s perspective. He is an interesting character who struggles with the unethical dealings in the White House. The author does a good job of describing the manic atmosphere of working in this environment. Every few pages there is another shoe that drops, whether it’s a poorly conceived policy, dismantling of a department or policy, wild tweet, or senior staff member’s resignation.

It’s now time to address the elephant in the room. This book is a thinly (as in paper thin) disguised story of the Trump presidency, although the central plot is fictional (as far as I know). Eli seems to be the only major character that doesn’t bear striking similarities to a real-life counterpart. The reader is introduced to President Franks, who has a successful real estate company and a thick head of hair; during the campaign, many women came forward to say they were sexually assaulted by him. It is also incredibly easy to figure out who the rest of the characters are in relation to the real-life White House staff. With name changes, the story contains countless accounts of true events– for example, the travel ban, the Special Counsel’s investigation about Russian interference in the election, the entertainment TV show tape, and the firing of the FBI Director, to name a few. It’s like reading a scrapbook of the Trump administration.

If it’s not already apparent, the plot is busy which weighs down the pace. By the middle of the book, I felt like I was running in place. Still, the side stories are easy to keep track of, mainly because I already knew about the real-life events. The good news is the second half is inventive and the pace quickens to a roaring conclusion.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is an interesting read, but the story and characters are mostly unoriginal and the plot is cluttered. I felt like I was reading a play-by-play of almost every single event and person in the real-life Trump administration and Special Counsel’s investigation. That being said, Eli is a likable character and some parts of the storyline are fresh. I would recommend the book to readers who enjoy political thrillers and fiction based on true events.

******
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Post by NL Hartje » 01 Jun 2018, 03:04

I have to assume the author had no intention of veiling their mock-up. Perhaps this was simply the easiest way to highlight while avoiding a defamation lawsuit :lol2:

I have wondered aloud to my husband over the past year (without being political) if we should expect deluges of these memoirs from aides once the presidency changes hands. Are they disallowed by gag orders from writing such books? Inquiring minds want to know!!
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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 01 Jun 2018, 03:21

HAHAHA oh man, the concept of this made me laugh. I suppose it was unavoidable that the first half of the book referenced events that are happening today, given the subject matter. XD Shame about the too-busy plot, but ah well, that's what the news looks like every morning when I open up Twitter to a feed full of screaming tweets...

That aside, thank you for your review and for drawing attention to this book. I think it's incredibly topical! :P

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Post by Samy Lax » 01 Jun 2018, 03:40

Eli seems to be one interesting character. In addition to certain real lifes similarities, this book seems to also have some similarities to The House of Cards.

You've done justice to the review. Loved reading it.
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Post by Lunastella » 01 Jun 2018, 06:24

Thanks for your review. Sounds a little nightmare-inducing, but maybe if the author makes sense of it all it´s worth a try, it all depends on the angle it takes.
Very interesting.

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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Jun 2018, 08:24

Well, I'm glad that you enjoyed this one. But, I stay away from ANYTHING even remotely politically related. Nevertheless that this one is so plainly to do with the Trump administration. I just don't feel that I need that in my life right now. However, I'm glad that you found it to be relatively enjoyable. Thanks for another fabulous review!
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Post by bookowlie » 01 Jun 2018, 08:53

Thanks everyone for the feedback! Kandscreeley and Lunastella - I both enjoyed and got a headache from the story, if that makes sense. NL_Hartje - I also wondered about a possible defamation lawsuit, although I think the President has other things to worry about at the moment.
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Post by Lizzie Robinson » 01 Jun 2018, 10:56

I must admit this book has caught my interest, given the parrallels. Though it would probably give me a headache too haha. I think I might put it on my to-read anyway though, it’s interesting enough to have me wanting to give it a shot!

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Post by Shaunie092 » 01 Jun 2018, 21:26

Thanks for the review! This book and your review piqued my interest, however I can't bare the PTSD inducing trauma that will accompany it right now. Definitely a book I'll place on my bookshelf for the future :)

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Post by gali » 01 Jun 2018, 23:41

A political thriller about a fictional U.S. President doesn't sound that original. It isn't really my cup of tea, so I will skip it. I am glad you enjoyed the book despite the busy plot and the slow pace. I also wonder about possible defamation lawsuit, as it so thinly veiled. Thank you for the great review!
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Post by teacherjh » 02 Jun 2018, 16:32

It actually sounds well done, but I'm not a fan of politics. Thanks for the review.
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Post by Kat Berg » 02 Jun 2018, 21:02

These kinds of books...Animal Farm was a thinly veiled political piece, and yet somehow I think that would be an easier read for me. I think I have hit the saturation point on 45 ridiculousness and would not be able to tolerate an entire book about the same, no matter how artistically relayed. But thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed it!

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Post by CatInTheHat » 02 Jun 2018, 21:33

I love political fiction but don't think I need to read a "stranger than fiction" novel since we're living that right now.
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Post by CommMayo » 03 Jun 2018, 10:52

Please tell me that Franks gets thrown out of office by the end of the book!

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Post by bookowlie » 03 Jun 2018, 10:53

CommMayo wrote:
03 Jun 2018, 10:52
Please tell me that Franks gets thrown out of office by the end of the book!
No spoilers. :)
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