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Only in America

John Soltez

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Gansevoort Pr

Published : 2001

Copyright : John Soltez 2001

ISBN-10 : PB 0-9710168-0-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-9710168-0-4

Publisher's Write-Up

Chances are you're living it now.

Only in America is the story of Doug Murphy, a young American trying to cope with life during a time of economic and social decline. To that end, Doug tries everything, including living in denial -- which becomes increasingly difficult as the situation worsens, and the people around him begin to express their discontent. Finally, it becomes impossible, as the same people raise up a controversial political "savior," setting off a firecracker - chain of events both entertaining and disturbing - that could have happened "Only in America."

Dealing with subjects ranging from unemployment to Wall Street stock peddlers to the proper way to eat a bacon double-cheeseburger, Only in America is both a novel and a portrait of the post-bubble American landscape.

"The French Revolution meets Peoria." This small-press book is becoming something of a phenomenon in New York, finding a home in such renowned independent bookstores such as Gotham and Three Lives. It may be even more relevant to Middle America, where the story takes place.

Conceived in the '90s, it foreshadows new-Millenium America, including even a contested Presidential election whose outcome is determined long past November. Called "apocalyptically entertaining" by one of its New York readers, Only in America explores American life both before and after Dow 10,000.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Paul Lappen (180303) Rating (9/10)

Review by Paul Lappen
Rating 9/10
Buck Fourcade is a tycoon from Louisiana who has turned American politics on its head. Plugging into the discontent of the people, the Presidential election becomes a marathon, as results take much longer than expected, or are changed more than once.

The election is declared inconclusive, so attention shifts to the Electoral College. Some states just happen to have a law on their books saying that the Electoral College elector doesn’t have to vote the way the state did during the election. The political chaos continues, as the next stop is the House of Representatives. Fourcade supporters encourage the House to choose Buck as President by surrounding the US Capitol with a ring of four million supporters.

Congress gets the message, and Buck Fourcade is soon sworn in as President. He quickly sets about changing things in Washington, promising to run America like a business. He changes the Cabinet positions into Vice President For positions, cracks down on corporations who don’t pay taxes and institutes Government By 1-900 Number. (Remember Ross Perot in 1992?)

This is seen through the eyes of Doug Murphy, middle-level employee of Continental Brewing, and living in the Midwest town of Brookville. He is your typical apathetic person who totally believes in the American Dream. Still, he notes the increasing number of For Sale signs and closed businesses in town, along with wave after wave of layoffs at work. He also notices how some of the town’s leading citizens are not just Fourcade supporters, but obsessed with him.

That obsession turns to anger when Fourcade is assassinated. Seeing plenty of suspects, they take to the streets, letting out their anger on anything and everything. Doug watches as things like newspaper delivery, street repair and trash pickup become things of the past. The situation in Washington can best be described as chaotic. Policies of the past 20 or 30 years, like running up a multi-trillion dollar debt and printing paper money without the gold to back it up, come to the forefront. What passes for a national government divides the country into security zones and deploys troops to quell the growing internal rebellion. Canada and Mexico move troops to their borders to stop fleeing Americans. As unemployment skyrockets (Doug is one of the victims), the only businesses left are convenience stores, sporting goods stores (suppliers of knives and guns) and those run by Fourcade supporters.

This is not an optimistic novel, but it is very much a Must Read. It’s also quite spooky (not so much horror movie spooky as very plausible spooky). For those, like Doug Murphy, who are total believers in the American Dream, this book may just change your mind.
Paul Lappen (18th March 2003)

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