HOMELAND by Paul William Roberts (Key Porter), 304 pages, $34.95 cloth. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Though Homeland is a novel, it's less fictional and more candid than most official accounts of U.S. history.
It's the written confession of centenarian David Leverett, a retired U.S. government adviser who confronts his past in hopes of assuaging his guilt over foreign policy since the end of the Vietnam War.
His and his staff's decisions have so eroded U.S. social and democratic values that by 2050, when the book is set, the country's become a ruthless dictatorship with an extensive imperial reach, in which the president and vice-president remain anonymous for national security reasons.
As Leverett describes his career, he provides an inside look at some of the most controversial developments in recent history: the Iran-Contra scandal, the quest for a new enemy following the Cold War and the entire presidency of George W. Bush.
Author Paul William Roberts shows how each event thrusts the U.S. further from the country's founding democratic principles, enabling an elite group to dictate the administration's agenda without the public's knowledge or approval.
Leverett occasionally does challenge the decisions of his colleagues - often with grave consequences - but mostly remains passive. Walking blindly along a predetermined path, he becomes just another pawn in the U.S. political machine.
His fictional life follows a trajectory similar to that of a number of actual U.S. statesmen, and he crosses paths with a who's who of real-life pols like the Reagans, Bushes and Cheneys.
Its quasi-realism makes the novel all the more chilling.
The dystopian society he evokes seems quite plausible.
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