L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 265, April 4, 2004
Boycott Verizon Communications!
Review of Hope
Exclusive to TLE
If any of you have read any of my articles over the last few months since I started writing for TLE, you know that I am a big fan of L. Neil Smith's books, second only to the great Robert A. Heinlein. Even though it started with The Probability Broach, Pallas, and Henry Martyn, what really fixed his place in my library was the book Hope, co-written with Aaron Zelman, of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (http://www.jpfo.org/hope.htm).
When I first saw the blurb for Hope on the JPFO website, I was especially intrigued by the phrase, "How would you feel if you no longer feared your government?" I had already read other books by Mr. Smith, but the $14.95 price was a little steep for me at the time. I had to put it off. However, each day, when I checked the JPFO website, and when I checked Mr. Smith's site, that blurb caught my attention. Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore, and ordered the book from my local bookseller. (I figured this would give me time to save up the money!) Eight weeks later, Hope arrived, and I have been kicking myself ever since for waiting so long!
Over the last six months, I have read Hope, from cover to cover, at least 20 times. Each time, I find something new and fascinating to think upon. Mr. Smith and Mr. Zelman have presented a fascinating scenario, detailing how a third-party candidate might possibly attain the Oval Office, and of what might happen if he/she did!
Now, you might think that a political novel, written by two political activists, would have to be dull and dry. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Interspersed with the political discussion, which is presented in an entertaining and enjoyable way, there are several assassination attempts to capture the attention of those who just have to have the action in their reading. Even better, these attempts are not just add-ins to grab attention, they are an integral part of the story line, showing just how far some of the fools and scoundrels in government service might go to retain their power base!
I'm sure I'm going to forget something here, and I hope Mr. Smith and Mr. Zelman will forgive me if I do, but here is a list of just SOME of the subjects that are covered in this book: gun control, jury nullification, militarization of law enforcement, human rights, the UN (blech!!!), Social Security, judicial activism, Congress over-stepping it's Constitutional limits, the Holocaust, professional victims, racism, Waco, Ruby Ridge, and a myriad of others.
On top of the issues raised, the characters in this novel are fascinating, as well. Some of the characters from The Mitzvah (which I read AFTER reading Hope), are back, and many new and fascinating characters make an appearance. Alex Hope, the self-made billionaire who stumbles into the presidency; Dana Li, the beautiful internet news reporter; Faith Anne, Alex's daughter and good right hand, and a host of others. I would like to mention three characters in particular. John Pondoro, Peter Hathaway Capstick Pondoro, and Bob Anson are the three that come to mind. Obviously, Mr. Smith and Mr. Zelman created these characters to honor three real life people, and if you don't know who they are, shame on you!
Just as fascinating is the characterization of Alex Hope's political opponents. Without going into details, I'm sure you will recognize many of them, or at least their TYPE. Congress and Hollywood are filled with these people, who think they are the elite of society, and that the rules and laws don't apply to THEM.
I can honestly say that this book is probably more important than any other freedom book in the last 20 years, with the possible exception of Unintended Consequences by John Ross. This book has influenced me to make some changes in my life, not least of which is writing for TLE. In additon, it motivated me to make a change in my personal weaponry. I had always wanted either a Witness (Alex Hope's personal weapon), or a CZ-75 (the weapon the Witness was copied from). I finally traded a Ruger P-97 for a CZ-75B in .40 S&W, and couldn't be happier! Also, I bought several items from JPFO, including The Mitzvah, which is another really good book, and the Gran'pa Jack starter pack, which I have used in furthering political debate.
In Mr. Smith's letter in TLE #264 he stated that he has an idea for a sequel to Hope, but that Mr. Zelman feels that they didn't sell enough to make it economically viable. I would like to address this. The ONLY problem I had with Hope was the $14.95 cover price. While I realize that you have to cover expenses and make a reasonable profit, it would seem to me that if you take less profit PER ITEM, and sell more as a result, you end up with MORE profit in the long run. In other words, what about reducing the cover price, and also making the book more available, perhaps by a marketing plan to encourage display and sale of the book at the large book chains and/or political rallies and gun shows? Obviously, I don't know what went into the reasoning on pricing the book, but this election season would seem to be a spectacular time to put a book like this out for public perusal, which could conceivably lead to more sales. (BTW, the book is well worth the cover price, and more! However, if you haven't already read it, you don't KNOW that!) The other main issue is this: This book says more about our present political crises than any other, and in a more entertaining way. A sequel, especially if it follows in the same vein, would seem to be a most desireable event! If you only reach a few people, that is a few more than might have been reached otherwise, and, who knows? One of those few might be the one who can actually help things change!
I'm going to close this review now, before I keep going back and adding more items to the list of subjects covered! If you can't tell, I enjoyed this book immensely, and still do, as I am re-reading it right now! If you haven't already read it, order it now, either through L. Neil Smith's website, through JPFO, or if, like me, you don't have or use any type of checking or credit card accounts, order it through your local bookseller! (Borders can order it for you.)
Postage is included in the price (Canadian readers include an extra 10-percent, other countries include an extra 20-percent). Wisconsin readers include sales tax.
You can order Hope and The Mitzvah together for $21.95.
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