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Book Title: Warrior Class|
The author of the book: Dale Brown
ISBN 13: 9780425184462
Format files: PDF
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Reader ratings: 3.3
The size of the: 329 KB
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Date of issue: May 7th 2002
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After reading this book, I may have to come up with a new 'shelf': either just 'boring' or 'techno-boring'. hahahah
It's been a while since I last read this book [at least ten years], so it was interesting reading it again after all this time. If memory serves me correctly, this is the third or fourth time I have read this book. Sigh I am not sure how I feel about this book. The beginning is so darn long! So long. The prologue and the first chapter are both basically all background information for readers unfamiliar with his earlier books [specifically, Chains of Command, Night of the Hawk, and Tin Man, along with the other books that are listed as the "McLanahan' line of stories]. I did not care much for any of the character development in the story [some of the characters seemed to devolve]. The action sequences were okay. There is a lot of verbiage in the book. A lot. It moved at a pace faster than glacial but maybe slower than that of a snail. (view spoiler)[The Russian stealth fighter/bomber was pretty cool, though. It did have that going for it. (hide spoiler)]
There is a lot happening in the book. New relationships [personal as well as political] being formed. Other relationships are either dying or dead. Some cool technology. A Russian villain [the guy's a jerk! to put it quite mildly]. Advanced military aircraft mixing it up with 'normal' military aircraft. A new American President who was a third party candidate [that was pretty cool, too!]. People from different nationalities interacting with each other. Some semi-interesting discussions about how various members of NATO view their position in NATO and how NATO seems to view them. blah, blah, blah. There's a lot going on, but it feels like nothing is going on at the same time. Maybe the author should have either cut the book in half, or left some strings unraveled so that they could be focused on in the next book.
What I did not like: I hated the ending. Well, maybe 'hate' is too strong of a word ['cuz I hated Heart of Darkness and Confederacy of Dunces with a passion, and my dislike of this story's ending does not quite reach the level[s] I felt when reading these other two stories]. It was one of those 'the ends justify the means' endings, where the 'good guys' justify their illegal [borderline immoral] behavior because they are using their 'ill-gotten' gain for good [kinda like Robin Hood, I guess, although I prefer Robin Hood over Brown's band of merry men]. Two to three pages of exposition, threats, theft, and at the end we get a group of guys attempting to justify their behavior and calling what they did 'justice'. Vigilantism at its finest. I get it, on the one hand. I really do. Back when I first read the book, I think I even agreed with it [of course, I also thought McLanahan's superior officers were all stupid, short-sighted, small-thinking, and complete, utter morons who should not have been in charge of anything remotely important, so there you go]. Now, though, reading it this time, it does not sit well with me. It is very tempting to think that vigilantism could work and is the way to go, but that is taking the law into one's own hands and breaking the laws to enforce one's own code of morality. That way leads to anarchy. I don't know how to explain it, but I did not like the ending.(view spoiler)[ Perhaps it was because it had McLanahan going off into the sunset with 'his integrity' [such as it was] still intact [in his own mind] because he refused to go along any further with Martindale's illegal strike group. It just seemed so contrived, considering the direction in which the last one hundred pages had been going.
I also disliked the direction in which McLanahan was going in the story. He violated orders by going back into Russia [again, the ends justify the means as he was attempting to save two friends and crewmates from the Russians]. Briggs and Wohl stole a helicopter after threatening a general of an allied nation in order to mount a rescue for the same two crewmembers. He violated the chain of command and bucked his superior officer, something he would have busted a junior officer for doing, which makes him a hypocrite. He was willing to destroy the lives, reputations, and careers of junior officers as well as friends and his own family just to prove he was 'right' [in his own mind]. It did not matter that what he did was wrong; that what he did was illegal. He felt he was justified to do what he did, even though he had no authority or authorization to act in the way he did, to make the choices and decisions he made. He essentially took the law into his own hands by violating orders and ordering Furness to violate international law by flying back into Russia, yet he claims to be worried about laws and illegal actions and being a criminal at the end of the novel? It was a stupid plot twist [reversal?] and did nothing for the flow of the story. Perhaps the author will claim he had been wrestling with his actions for the last hundred to two hundred pages of the book and the ending shows how he realized he had made some tragic mistakes and he had turned his back on making more bad choices by learning from the consequences of his prior bad decisions. I don't know; it was just too hokey, too convoluted, and too stupid for me to be able to accept. Maybe if there had been some kind of consequences for their actions.
It also bugged me that McLanahan was willing to throw away his family to assuage his massive, overbloated ego. Emotionally, he was 'right' in what he did by going back into Russia. In terms of standing by his friends, he was probably 'right' in his actions. Yet that does not change the fact that he ignored his other, equally important responsibilities that he had as a general, mission commander, and a father. His wife, Wendy, begs him to take the honorable discharge and start a new life. He refuses. She tells him she does not want her son to see his father as 'just another criminal' because she will not be able to explain what happened in ways he will understand for a long time to come. His pride will destroy his family; it will devastate his son. He was willing to give up being a father to his son just because his pride had been wounded? Aaaauuuuugh! It bugged me! I was so grateful that he was given a 'forced discharge' and let go, so that not only would his life not be ruined, but the lives of those under his command would not be ruined. I also appreciated the Air Force did not want to have its reputation tarnished while McLanahan was being dragged through the mud in a trial; neither did the White House. It was kind of amusing how McLanahan was jerked around at the Pentagon for an entire day before he was told 'we kicked you out of the Service eight hours ago.' bwa-hah-hah-hah! That was priceless.
There is one part that I absolutely hate, to the nth degree, in this book. It bugged me the first time I read it, and it has bugged me every time I have read it since. On pages 302 - 314, we read about the slaughter of a couple of American National Guard units as well as an entire town in Macedonia by the Russian Army and Kazakov. I remember being incensed the first time I read this section of the book, and I fully expected SOMETHING to happen. Anything! The way the author had been going with the prior stories, I fully expected this outrage, this crime, this tragedy, to not go unpunished. I expected the perpetrators to be brought to some kind of justice. I would even have accepted and nodded at 'vigilante justice' being performed. Instead, nothing. Nothing happens! NOTHING HAPPENS! Nobody ever asks about these units of US citizen soldiers that are murdered in cold blood! NOBODY CARES!!!! NOBODY!!!! You cannot tell me that these men would have been ignored and forgotten about, especially as they would have missed their radio checkpoints with their higher-ups! Yet nobody calls on them; nobody checks on them. Their families apparently forgot they existed. It is not like they were on some kind of secret assignment that nobody could know about. Nobody tells the President about how a couple of National Guard units up-and-disappeared in the wilds of Macedonia. What were they doing there, anyway? The President had supposedly pulled all US Army/military forces out of Europe. Why were these units still in Macedonia? They were there for the express purpose of dying and infuriating the reader into wanting Kazakov to die, to be punished. They had no other purpose for the story! It was cheap, emotional theatrics that did nothing to further the plot along. The descriptions of this mad dog criminal and how he treated others was enough to make the reader want to see the guy dead and long gone. There was no need to murder an entire town or two or more non-combatant units that were merely in the area doing some 'charity' work [I cannot remember what the correct terminology would be]. It was bad writing, it was poor writing, it was lousy writing, it was $h1##y writing, and I absolutely hated it. NATO forces were said to have been pulling out of the Balkans, out of that area, so why were these American units still there? Not that I want any other nationalities to have been murdered, either, but it would have made more sense for these soldiers to be either Italian or English or even Polish than it did for them to be American soldiers. It was a cheap, low-down dirty trick to piss off the American reader when reading the story, and it worked with me. Obviously. hahahah Yeah, I hate this section of the book.
I disliked that the American President was backing America out of all of her global commitments and treaties. I did not get that. The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, yes, but according to the Constitution, international treaties can also legally bind the United States to whatever commitments are made between the United States and the other signers of said treaty. So now the United States was abrogating on its various agreements with other nations and becoming isolationist in nature. I fully disagreed with this decision on the part of the President. His justifications for doing so did make a bizarre sort of sense, but he was still backing out of treaties by doing what he did.
The President got rid of the US Army? Really? What is he? Some kind of moron? He's going to rely upon National Guard troops and Reserve troops to fight battles? I realize that airpower is phenomenal, and with the advent of 'smart technology' the ability of a nation like the United States to project power has increased astronomically, but you still have to have boots on the ground to finish mopping up. Air power is great, when you know where the enemy is located. Air power don't mean squat if you don't know where the enemy is and you have to have troops go in and root them out. Look at what happened when the infrastructure was destroyed in Afghanistan and Iraq - we still had to send troops in to 'finish the job'; all of the aircraft in the world dropping bombs could not do that. It makes more sense to keep troops in 'forward positions' in Allied countries so that they are available to go where needed in a shorter period of time, as opposed to having to try and find the necessary cargo vessels to transport troops and material necessary to fight a war across the oceans. It seems like this American President fully intends to go into battle with a self-imposed handicap to ensure that America would lose whatever conflict before she even had a chance to win. (hide spoiler)]
One other [final] dislike for me, but it was more in terms of 'flow' as opposed to insulting my intelligence. I wish the author would leave out all of the foreign words and phrases. It is not so bad when a person replies in English in such a way that you can infer what was said without needing any kind of translation. But having entire sentences or even partial conversations in Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, Macedonian, and whatever other language he was attempting to include in the story unnecessarily broke up the narrative. It kind of ruined it for me, because it was so dratted frustrating. I mean, seriously: who cares!?! Who really cares what some phrase or sentence looks like in another language when it is surrounded by English? The book is written for English speakers; write it out in English. Even if the author says, "So-and-so said, 'blump' in IDontCareistan" throughout the entire course of the story, it would be so much better than these random idiotic scenes when you have two people from the same country speaking, and some [but not all!] of their conversation is written in Russian or Turkish or Ukrainian or whatever. It just looks and sounds stupid. It is stupid. I could see if one person said something in Turkish and the listener replied in Uzbekistanish, and then both switched to English to be understood. That would make sense, and be a better flow for the narrative. But to have the author dropping foreign phrases and sentences throughout the book to, what? Impress the readers with his linguistic abilities? was beyond frustrating and unnecessary and poor writing. Oh! It would also work if somebody was being yelled at, and the listener did not understand what was being said; then, as one of the parties walked away, the author could have the person yelling tell the reader indirectly what was said by having the yeller thinking thoughts that would let the reader know what he was yelling [or asking]. Brown did this to great effect in Day of the Cheetah, and it worked great as a plot device, but there was a reason why it worked great. The dude who stole the 'Star was a Russian deep-cover agent who had forgotten how to speak Russian, and he had landed at a KGB base in Central America. In such a scenario, it would make sense to have people speaking and the listener not understanding what was being said.
On a kinda-funny 'sidenote', what happens when the book is translated into, say, Russian? Do the Russian phrases remain Russian? Or do they get translated into English, so that the Russian reader has no idea what is being said? Or has the author so butchered the language by trying to spell it out 'phonetically' as opposed to in the actual language that even Russian readers would have no clue as to what was being said? hahahahah It just occurred to me, and made me laugh. Sorry. snicker
It is interesting how oftentimes the President would make a choice (view spoiler)[to do nothing (hide spoiler)] and how there were really no consequences to that choice. He would refuse to act in the 'normal manner' of prior Presidents and justify this lack of action by pointing out that nothing really had changed by his not acting. I know I already said this, but it was an interesting way to look at things. What good does it do to bluster and blow hot air? His military advisors would demand some sort of action to be taken, and the President would ask them questions to determine if that course of action was the best course to take. Ultimately, his concern over 'what happens after we do this?' when pressed for 'the military option' seemed to limit his options when asking 'what should we do?' He made an interesting point when pressed by his advisors to 'do something', to make a decision, to let their opponents 'know' that the US was not happy with the choices that were being made (view spoiler)[by Germany and Russia (hide spoiler)]. When accused of not caring about the global situation, Thorn points out that the aggressor nations did not care about world opinion or what the United States thought when they acted out as they did . Thorn also states that he is not going to become involved in an armed conflict with another country over economic reasons [such as 'losing a few markets for wheat or soybeans or soda pop']; he will only engage in open warfare if the national security of the United States is threatened [by which he means the physical integrity of the country itself] .
Pages 350 through ...366 had some fascinating 'ideological' discussion them; some of the best in this novel, I think. Thorn sees the Office of the President of the United States as representing the Executive Branch only; he does not see the office as in any way representing anything to or for the "Free World"; he does not recognize any kind of symbolism in the Office to the rest of the World at large . He does make an interesting point about the Russian 'occupation' of Macedonia; when told the Russians are 'invading', Thorn points out that nobody has asked for help in repelling the Russians. The Macedonian government is still in power; they have not been displaced by another government that is a puppet of the Russians. There might be civilian protests about the presence of the Russians, but none from the Government itself; the Macedonian Parliament is still in session and the Macedonian Army is still intact and has not been forced to disband . All of which are interesting points on the President's part, so kudos to the author for coming up with them. I have never heard it put quite like President Thorn put it, so his justification[s] for his 'lack of action', while frustrating to read, made some sort of sense due to the logic behind them. Grumble, grumble, grumble That was something I hated to admit, to be honest. hahahah
At the same time, though, the President is so darn inconsistent with his comments. When one considers what happened on pages 302 - 314 with his comments on page 352 - 353, it makes the President seem like a hypocrite to the extreme. That, or extremely stupid or inept. In my opinion. I mean, it sounds great to 'hear' the man say, "I'm still proud of our soldiers....I'm proud enough of them that I refuse to send them away from home just so they can be 'trip wires' or so we can maintain a 'presence' in some foreign country" . He goes on to say, "Soldiers are meant to fight and kill to defend their country, not to fight and die for someone else's country, or for the latest slogan or jingle or buzzword, or so we can police a country whose people want nothing more than to kill one another, or because the media saturates our senses with scenes of downtrodden people supposedly in need of liberation" [352 - 353]. This little 'speech' of his sounds great, until you consider what happened earlier in the book [302 - 314]. Then, he sounds like a complete and utter moron with this little spiel of his. He sounds worse than inept and morethan borderline incompetent. This could have been [and probably should have been] an inspiring building block in the foundation he was describing in terms of how he was going to run his Presidency; instead, he comes across as flat and nothing more than a bag of hot air.
Thorn does make some great points in this speech of his; I will give the author kudos for that. However, Dale Brown never should have written the sequence of events the way he did on pages 302 - 314 the way he did. That prior 'scene' in the book destroys any credibility the President [and the author] might have had with the extended narrative fiftysome pages later. It honestly makes me wonder if the author had forgotten about the sequence of events on pages 302 - 314, be it meaning to come back and forgetting to do so, or outright forgetting he wrote it in the first place. He should either issue a 'rewrite' where he either changes the nationalities of those involved in the scene or remove it altogether.
I am not sure how glad I am I reread this book. It has a lot of flaws in it that I had not noticed previously [most of them in terms of story flow and narrative] and noticing them now kinda ruined my enjoyment [and memories] of the book.
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Read information about the authorFormer U.S. Air Force captain Dale Brown is the superstar author of 25 consecutive New York Times best-selling military-action-aviation adventure novels: FLIGHT OF THE OLD DOG (1987), SILVER TOWER (1988), DAY OF THE CHEETAH (1989), HAMMERHEADS (1990), SKY MASTERS (1991), NIGHT OF THE HAWK (1992), CHAINS OF COMMAND (1993), STORMING HEAVEN (1994), SHADOWS OF STEEL (1996) and FATAL TERRAIN (1997), THE TIN MAN (1998), BATTLE BORN (1999), and WARRIOR CLASS (2001). His Fourteenth Novel AIRBATTLE FORCE will be published in late Spring 2003... Dale's novels are published in 11 languages and distributed to over 70 countries. Worldwide sales of his novels, audiobooks and computer games exceed 10 million copies.
Dale was born in Buffalo, New York on November 2, 1956. He graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Western European History and received an Air Force commission in 1978. He was a navigator-bombardier in the B-52G Stratofortress heavy bomber and the FB-111A supersonic medium bomber, and is the recipient of several military decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Combat Crew Award, and the Marksmanship ribbon.
Dale was also one of the nation's first Air Force ROTC cadets to qualify for and complete the grueling three-week U.S. Army Airborne Infantry paratrooper training course.
Dale is a director and volunteer pilot for AirLifeLine, a non-profit national charitable medical transportation organization who fly needy persons free of charge to receive treatment. He also supports a number of organizations to support and promote law enforcement and reading.
Dale Brown is a member of The Writers Guild and a Life Member of the Air Force Association and U.S. Naval Institute. He is a multi-engine and instrument-rated private pilot and can often be found in the skies all across the United States, piloting his own plane. On the ground, Dale enjoys tennis, skiing, scuba diving, and hockey. Dale, his wife Diane, and son Hunter live near the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
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