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Friday, July 15, 2011

A Time for Patriots (audiobook) by Dale Brown

Up and Down

Published by HarperAudio
Read by William Dufris
Duration: 12 hours, 27 minutes

Dale Brown knows how to write action very well. He certainly knows all about airplanes (sometimes he talks about them so much that it's quite easy to drift off for a while and then come back), he has created enough new technological gizmos to outfit an entire fleet and he does a solid job of creating dialogue that sounds good to the ear - from old men to teenage boys. But, the promised confrontation with militias in A Time for Patriots just sort of fizzles rather than pops.

Lt.-General Patrick McLanahan is retired and living in Battle Mountain, Nevada on a remote air base safeguarding the last of America's spaceplanes in the hopes that the program will be re-developed in earnest when the economy picks up and the budget can allow for it. In the meantime, he and his son are flying missions for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Brown, who is also a member of CAP, spends a great deal of time describing its mission and even runs the reader (or in my case, listener) through an actual search and rescue operation which was interesting but not really germane to the story line as described on the back of the book.


Meanwhile, a militia group uses a dirty bomb on an airplane to attack the federal building in Reno. Brown uses all sorts of red herring leads to confuse multiple story lines and try to make it a surprise as to where the attacks were coming from. Although my original suspicions turned out to correct, I was fooled for a while.

But, in the end, Brown's fundamental misunderstanding of the militia movement as a whole - a misunderstanding he could have cleaned up in just a few seconds if he had did as little as researched on wikipedia (I have linked the article here) hurt the book. I am not a militia member nor do I particularly sympathize with them, but I do follow politics and pay attention. He claims that the militias have formed due to a lack of federal government involvement in support of poor relief or job training. Instead, they are almost always a reaction to the perception of too much federal involvement in local issues. This is especially an issue in Nevada since 84.5% of Nevada is owned by the federal government (click here for a nifty map).

When the big reveal happens and the bad guys are discovered and thwarted I was very disappointed to find out the real reasons that drove the entire movement. I thought to myself, "Really? Would anyone actually nuke downtown Reno for that reason?" I just didn't buy it.

So, to sum up - nice action scenes, I like the stuff on CAP, the technological toys are pretty cool but the main reason the book was written - the militia part, just landed flat on its face.

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5. The education about CAP and the performance by William Dufris make up for the militia misfires.

This book can be found on Amazon.com here:  A Time for Patriots by Dale Brown.

Reviewed on July 15, 2011.

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