Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Enemies Foreign and Domestic: A Review

Enemies Foreign and Domestic is book one in a series of the same name by author and general gun nut Matthew Bracken. The story is set in "America in the near future" following the steps of one Ranya Bardiwell and a certain Brad Fallon (a sort of author expy). The follows them as they attempt to uncover a conspiracy behind a terrorist attack and the subsequent attempt to ban guns.

Terrifying isn't it?

I read this book through a link found on the website SurvivalBlog (a wonderful website for disaster prepardness, if not so much for politics) and began taking a look at it online. The first few events in the book are actually fairly intriguing. The prologue details a horrifying terrorist attack where a sniper fires into a crowded football stadium and the resulting panic and stampede of horrified spectators results in the collapse of the structure in a manner similar to what one sees in soccer riots, which ends in the deaths of over a thousand people in horrifying detail. This event truly did serve to suck me in and captivated me with its sheer horror and the well thought out plan by this terrorist, which we then learn may be part of a sinister conspiracy.

Sadly this turns out to be one of the most exciting and reasonable incidents in the book. We then see a case of monumental stupidity on the part of government and law enforcement officials in the part of contaminating evidence and breaking multiple layers for the proper handling of a crime scene in order to prevent just such contamination. For instance the local police chief accepts the attackers wallet while not wearing gloves and the president actually orders that the shooters weapon be brought to him. This is the kind of action that would get a politician impeached yet it completely passes under the radar of anybody (even the otherwise 'smart' protagonists).

It then follows a short battle in the Senate where a very strange law is passed outlawing 'assault rifles' which is in reality a wide ban on anything that looks remotely threatening. During the proceedings a female senator is attacked by an anti-gun supporter for some reason. Then we join our spectacularly bland and almost author-expy Brad Fallon whose life goal is to build a sail boat and sail away. He's only almost an author expy because he believes in sailing away rather than fighting to save America, otherwise his opinions and goals go hand in hand with the author's(especially his fascination with sailing and guns, he really likes harping on those). He is a bland and rather unremarkable character who spends much of his time fantasizing about bikini clad women, who is then targeted by the FBI to spy on a gun club which is a militia front (composed of men in their sixties no less) because he is seen with them exactly once in a coffee shop. That's some fine police work gentlemen!!

We are also introduced to the ATF agents who are behind the investigation. They are typically evil and in a (not so) suprising twist are masterminding the events behind the stadium massacre in order to get guns banned and make the ATF more powerful than the FBI! To do this they decide to run a dirty war like in Argentina or Brazil by murdering or kidnapping gun store owners and labelling them as militia fanatics. They make rather lackwit villains who are remarkably unintelligent and are constantly reffered to as being men with no discipline and are very trigger happy, and they prove it too. Despite the fact that they openly discuss planting evidence and framing people the rank and file still believe they are fighting 'militia gun nuts' and not blatantly murdering people. That was one of the issues that I could not get over while reading this book. The bad guys know their framing people yet still believe they are fighting the admittedly non-existant militia? Seriously? But I digress.

We then meet Ranya Bardiwell whose father is shot and killed by ATF goons burning down his gun store. The ATF then leave amazingly detailed forensic proof of their involvement in the form of 10mm casings from their guns and distinctive boot prints at the scene. (Also apparently malt liqour is indicative of liberals, these bottles indicate they are the people who threw the molotov cocktails that burnt down the store. I still don't understand that either). Ranya then swears revenge and goes on to attempt to blaze a path of bullets and assasination across Virginia and South Carolina against the Feds.

This is where the book mostly meanders into interesting action sequences followed by various detailed instructions on how to plan political assasinations. Then of course are the anvilicious moments where the author repeatedly reminds us that liberals are hypocritical idiots and there is no such thing as a free country outside America. The main characters repeatedly state that they cannot run anywhere as there will never be anywhere as free as America. There is no detailed reason for this and one is forced to assume that it is mostly because they won't be able to own their beloved guns if they go to Canada or Europe. I sympathise with their plight...not in the slightest. Another point which the author enjoys driving home is that most people are blind sheep (or sheeple as the common term is) who blindly follow the news and do no critical thinking of their own and will instantly cringe at the sight of a gun or attack freedom loving Americans who support the Constitution at the drop of a hat.

Indeed the author enjoys flaunting the superioty of gun owning, libertarian, Constitutionalist, conspiracy theory, and Christian Americans (I add the Christian part tenatively as they talk about faith but rarely even reflect on the moral issues of their actions or pray for that matter). I add conspiracy theory because the author constantly states that the Branch Dividians at Waco were burnt alive on purpose and the Ruby Ridge incident was a government slaughter rather than a colossal f**k up by poorly trained agents. The author explains these through a web server known as "" where various liberty loving Americans gather to discuss how the government is infringing upon their rights and how the FBI, ATF, CIA ect are secret police thugs who intend to take away their rights. Brad Fallon is particularly guilty of this as he is constantly berating regular people for not thinking about these things. Not to mention anyone who is even assumed to be liberal is mercilessly mocked by the main characters. A particularly ridiculous incident is when Ranya comes across a boy researching the Civil War and asks if he is researching 'the War of Norther Agression' much to his confusion while she keeps referring to it as such, then assuming he was only staring at her breasts. I doubt the author actually meant to have a liberal character come off as reasonable and probably smarter than his main character but it reads that way.

In fact the author goes out of his way to make liberals look stupid or foolish. In fact by reading this book we can easily discover the authors prejudices such as:
  • Smoking pot = stupidity
  • Piercings are only worn by liberals or sexual deviants
  • All liberals secretly hate the Constitution and are secretly 'socialists' who know nothing about freedom or good government
  • Illegal immigrants are parasites who barely speak English
  • Illegal immigrants also seek to steal American jobs and support a break away socialist state in the South Western US known as Aztlan
  • People who don't own guns want them banned and constantly look for ways to get them banned
  • The Federal government is mostly staffed with incompitents who don't care about freedom or liberty
  • Lesbians seek to steal children from married couples
  • Muslims are inherently violent and are all crazy
  • Muslims are also mostly hypocrites and hate mongers who want to impose Sharia law on Americans, anyone else is just a terrorist
  • Political correctness only serves to protect Muslin terrorists and Black Nationalists (or a combination of both) and serves to encourage Muslim racism
  • Also any of the above are very willing to engage in rape
Sadly this is just a taste of the racist and ridiculous comments that Mr Bracken enjoys spouting.

The novel is boring, repetetive and filled with card board cut out characters with no depth who seek to drive home the authors flawed ideas about gun ownership and the evils of Muslims and political correctness. Mr Bracken also suffers from a crippling case of 'write what you know' and unfortunately seems to only know how to describe sailing, guns, racism, how evil liberals are, sex, and the idea of America being the best nation on Earth. If you come across any of his other works I assure you that this will become immediately apparent.

Now some will undoubtedly ask why, if this book was so appaling, I bothered to finish it? The answer is quite simple, I got it for free on Kindle and the little I could read of the prologue intrigued me. Once I got deeper in I was horrified by the right-wing reactionary hate that the book preached. It also serves as a perfect example of how not to write what you know and how not to get your ideas across.

From me the book recives a one star out of five.

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