Author: Jeff Brooks
Pages: 356, Hardcover/Paperback
Reviewed by: S. Marie Vernon, Pacific Book Review
“Life During a Nation’s Death is a historical fiction set in the 2030’s-2041 period. The United States no longer competes on the world stage. After the Obama Presidency the Democratic Party and Republican Party stayed in gridlock until they completely fell apart. The middle class died and several versions of the parties revived themselves for a while. There were the Old Democrats, The Democratic-Worker Party, and the American Progressive Party. Several presidents tried to turn the country around, some more than others.
The Chinese realized America couldn’t pay back the money they owed and financed an independent candidate Leon Stinchcomb. He took office and immediately did away with Social Security and Medicare, actually blaming the elderly for the country’s debt problems. In 2032, Governor Martin Clifton Daye, nicknamed “Happy Daye,” became president. Daye’s shining achievement was dismantling the US into two regions and proposed our once great nation return to its roots and become the breadbasket of the world. The Chinese agreed and so it was declared. The USbecame little more than a third world country ruled by a World Union – China, India and Brazil. America now had two occupations, growing/selling marijuana and tobacco or milking cows and growing crops.
Everyday people were trying to find their place. They all had a story. A few evolve in this novel and stand out like pioneers of a regressed new order. There is Nancy and C.J., two elderly people who fight to hang on to their vision of the world. Also there is Kirby and Latasha, two kids, who should have had it all. Potter and Teddy have secrets all their own and who is Larry Crago anyway? Demure little Doreen is quite surprising in the end and you won’t forget Sheila Vonstein! She’s the stuff of legends, a woman like the world hasn’t seen before. Major Sheila Vonstein has taken out villages in Afghanistan and worked over the Taliban, too. With all she’s seen it makes no sense anymore and she isn’t sure it ever did. She’s a big blonde bombshell with killer legs. Booze and sex provide the backdrop for the games she likes to play. Rick, the ex-con in charge, what could go wrong there? Each of these people will cross paths as they struggle to survive in a world that has lost its greatness and only exists at the mercy of the World Union.
The author, Jeff Brooks, lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and knows about tobacco. He also knows his history and provides many references that enhance his story. This is a story about a “country gone wrong” in so many ways. Jeff Brooks’ message to the United States is so sad it becomes comical and he seems to be saying, we must “Learn from history,” otherwise we could witness first-hand the reality of a dark and dismal Life During a Nation’s Death.”
This is one political satire written for mature audiences only!