Single Acts of Tyranny
by Stuart Fairney
Release Date: 30th Aug 2008
Publisher: Milvian Books
ISBN: 978 0 9560 0160 3
Average Customer Rating:
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Policital genius that drives to the heart of Britain today...
The Establishment would not like you to read this book. The Establishment counts on your apathy to allow it to continue to create innumerable new laws aimed at enclosing its vice-like control over your minds and actions - at your expense. Controversial view or great political insight? Single Acts of Tyranny works on the premise that while we as a populace are inert and disinterested in all things political, a tiny minority of power-hungry individuals (collectively known as the Government) are destroying our fundamental freedoms and rights for their own gain - the point being that there is another way.
Halle is an exceptionally bright and talented black woman who has climbed to the near pinnacle of success in Banking despite her colour and gender. Caught up in a contrived collaboration between North and South, she suddenly discovers that she does have political views - and those views are that people should have power over their own lives, instead of being debilitated by a welfare-driven state and worn down into useless acceptance of their inability to choose a better way.
Legree is a political fixer, a spin doctor who believes he has all an all-consuming power over the manoeuvrings of the North's government. He believes that a people reliant wholly on the State are malleable and easily manipulated - and he does a lot of manipulating. As determined as Halle is to infiltrate the North's inner workings, Legree is equally determined to stop her at all costs.
The plot is a little thin on the ground and at times reaches over into the slightly fantastical, but we can forgive the author for injecting some level of fiction into a novel that by all accounts is a realistic view of Britain today.
Gorgeously inflammatory and politically savvy, Single Acts of Tyranny taps into the British public's own apathy and unwillingness to rise up against acts of Parliament that they feel are circumspect. With a failing police force, failing healthcare and failing schools - the similarities between Fairney's fictional America and the reality of modern Britain is breathtaking. I wasn't particularly fond of the formatting of the book (although the cover is outstandingly brilliant), as it felt as though I were reading a script rather than a novel - but this is by the by. Single Acts of Tyranny is one man's call to action: we cannot complain about the state of the country we live in if we are unwilling to do something to change it.
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03 October 2009: Neilc
Ted Kennedy wouldn't like it. The villain bears more than a passing resemblance to him, being a United States Congressman who is kingmaker to Presidents, immensely wealthy through his connections, a strong "liberal" supporter of welfarism which he doesn't use & pretty disgusting libertine. Perhaps Kennedy is not the only model. On the other hand there are moments when his pathos shows through.
The protagonist, Halle is a Lara Croft of high finance. The novel is set in what purports to be an alternate universe where the Confederacy succeeded though like the moon settlement in LeGuin's The Dispossesed, this is mainly a literary vehicle to create a libertarian society. Though where LeGuin is a "left wing" anarchist (ie one who doesn't work through the free market) Fairney is a "right wing" one who does. Both authors have views they are keen to promote which either elevates them or interferes with the action according to taste.
The plot involves an attempt by Halle, as CSA representative, to sell the South's economic freedom to the Northern people using methods, including the net, used in this world too Though I think in the real world broadcasters are not quite as easily fooled into letting people speak we have since seen, subsequent to publication, Sarah Palin using the net equally successfully. One nitpick is that economically free economies grow significantly faster than over regulated ones (eg Hong Kong's rise from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the richest in 60 years). The people of the Confederacy should thus be many times richer than those of the North which would make Halle's task much easier. In Britain we are seeing the beginning of that effect where Ireland, which adopted some comparatively minor economic freedom (mainly cutting business taxes) 20 years ago has gone from 2/3rd Britain's standard of living to 4/3rds. However a tale where an entire population was many times richer than any in our world would have made an entirely different book.
But Fairney has created an interesting heroine caring, frighteningly competent, able to beat up muggers, but much too serious for her own good. Did I mention she is black.
25 August 2009: Lando
This was easy to read and not too preachy. I liked the story and the points made really make you think. I read it on holiday and that's probably the best way to approach it. It's easy-reading not heavyweight, certainly worth a go and it won't take days to get through unlike my other holiday book which was oh-so worthwhile, classic and utterly impenetrable
05 August 2009: Anthony Newbolt
Thought provoking--yes. Good read--Yes. Certainly written to trigger debate relative to The English system.
Makes one question the political dogma that we have been subjected to for countless years-- How many years is it that we have been told that our Health System, and Education, is "The envy of The World". Always unsubstantiated, but after a while you no longer question the validity of The Statement.
As for the politicians always acting for the benefit of the constituency that they represent, the farce of "Expenses" has burst that little bubble, and now enables the electorate to gain a clearer picture than they have had (by indoctrination) for many years.
It does of course also raise the question if a particular party wins a 'seat' with a 50% turnout and the winning party gets say 35% of the vote, how does the elected politician represent those that didn't vote for him anyway.
Perhaps Mr Fairney should consider a political carreer
22 July 2009: Donna Dalkie
I really loved this book, finally a book that gets to the core of some very important issues without all the mush!! Very believable characters who didn't overwhelm the essence of the book which was to point out the very failings of our government in so many areas of health care and welfare. I look forward to Mr Fairneys next book!!
09 June 2009: Jan Edwards
All the reviews are making a big deal about the politics of the book, and whilst they are there, they donít dominate so completely as to obscure the story. This was a real page-turner, I want to be the bookís heroine! The main review said it felt more like reading a film script than a novel and I completely agree. I just hope someone makes the movie.
05 June 2009: Julian Hogg
Every now and then you read or see something that has a real impact on you, and so it was with this book. You just don't see these arguments presented in the mass media, it's like we are not allowed to think these thoughts, yet think them we should, indeed must. If you still think politicians have the answers after all the sleaze and expenses fiddles of late, well you might want a lie down. This book shows how we could do very well, indeed far, far better without them. It is quite simply, a brilliant clarity of ideas that everyone should at the very least consider.
31 May 2009: Alex Woodhouse
I work in the health service and am often frustrated about the various problems which seem ever present. An out-patient of mine who I see regularly, gave me a copy of this book. It was amazing. I started off hating the ideas (a more committed person to the NHS you would not find) yet the relentless logic of the book made me at first shocked and yet I have to admit, the writer might very well have a point ~ maybe the government shouldn't be running healthcare? This is a serious book and one I am recommending to friends and colleagues alike.
The story seemed to me to be secondary to the ideas which the writer advocates but it's no bad thing for all that. They odd typographical error really bugged me, and I agree with an earlier review which said this would benefit from more regular formatting and a strong editor
28 May 2009: Corrine Wilson
The book this most reminds me of is "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K Dick (who was largely ignored by serious mainstream critics and readers during his lifetime) although Ayn Rand seems to have had an intellectual influence and the author picks up themes from books like Harry Turtledoveís "Guns of the South"
Although superficially an alternative history sub-genre work, It is primarily a novel of ideas and its something of a rarity in modern British fiction, one the Bridget Jones generation should take note of. The ideas it presents challenge the current awful political consensus that dominates the current literary and cultural establishment. They are shocking and at first glance, utterly callous, but this is only because we simply arenít exposed to them. The novelís heroine, espouses them in a compelling manner ~ she made a believer out of me by the end of the book. I can honestly say it has changed the way I think. How often does a book do that to you?
26 May 2009: Hussein Lakha
I only read this on the back of a recommendation from a friend but Iím glad I did. Great stuff, good, lively story and the politics really got me to thinking WTF? If you want to read about a serious alternative that youíll never hear about on the mainstream media, this is the book for you.
23 May 2009: Kiwi
This is a worthwhile and rewarding read, using a fictional vehicle to tackle some big issues in contemporary politics. Whilst the views espoused are pretty different to my own, it certainly it made me stop and think. Fairneyís narrative is fast-paced and compelling, with strongly drawn characters, aided by sharply written and convincing dialogue. The strong, and occasionally racy, plot makes it quite a page-turner. It would however benefit from the editorial skills of an established publisher.
22 May 2009: Celia Brydon
Hmm, I don't love novels so much, but I liked the story and the ideas were interesting and practically demonstrated. I think the Southern concept maybe a bit brutal to be honest, but maybe Mr Brown might like to think about a backward step from all our lives ~ please? I will say that next time someone tells you we can't have any tax cuts or the world will come crashing down, you might want to throw a copy of this at them (to read obviously!)
17 May 2009: George Venning
With all the news about sleazy MP's at the moment, a friend lent me her copy of this and said I should read it. I don't read many novels but this is certainly a book of its time. In particular, the descriptions of a government composed of greedy thieves seems right on the money. I also really liked the dialogue which the writer does well, and the (all too few) sex scenes sound like they were written from memory not imagination!
14 May 2009: John Wheeler
I'm not a political person but this really made me think, why the hell am I paying so much in taxes? You'll never hear it on TV but there is a better way as the book outlines. The story is decent and the message is strong. I only read it after a recommendation from a friend and I am glad I did.
14 May 2009: Ben Atkins
My girlfriend told me to read this and I'm glad I did. It's eye-opening. The reviewer on this website pretty well sums it up but I just wanted to say, it's really decent and well worth a read.
14 January 2009: Anonymous
Here! Here! What I found so great about this book is the fact that it sells a possible solution to our current problems - and better still, suggests that we could manage perfectly well without an all-singing, all-dancing government that treats us all like children. Great idea - but not really surprising that major publishing houses wouldn't pick it up. More fool them, I say.