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10 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best political thrillers around
Richard Condon is a terrifically accomplished writer and this is one of his finest moments. Far outshining the 1962 movie (and, one has to presume, the recent remake) The Manchurian Candidate mixes sharp social satire and political insight with taut plotlines and the gymnastic facility with language to which Condon's fans have become well accustomed.
Far from being...
Published on 26 Nov 2004 by Jonathan Este

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caught between two stools
This is almost two books for the price of one. Firstly, a bitter satire on USA politics and especially McCarthyism. Secondly, a straight thriller closely reminiscent of Bourne/Jackal/Deighton.

The satire is heartfelt and savage. Mrs Shaw's politicking behind the 'front' of her husband's career resonates as much today as it did in 1959. Indeed, we would today...
Published on 7 Nov 2009 by Officer Dibble


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best political thrillers around, 26 Nov 2004
Richard Condon is a terrifically accomplished writer and this is one of his finest moments. Far outshining the 1962 movie (and, one has to presume, the recent remake) The Manchurian Candidate mixes sharp social satire and political insight with taut plotlines and the gymnastic facility with language to which Condon's fans have become well accustomed.
Far from being dated, The Manchurian Candidate's cynical take on media manipulation and the subversion of America's political process reads just as vitally today as it must have done 45 years ago. As someone who first read the book in the late 1970s and has re-read it several times since, I couldn't recommend it higher.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written book with slightly dated feel, 6 July 1999
By A Customer
Written in 1959 the backdrop feels very dated, and the writing style stiff. However this is an enthralling story, illuminating to anyone that thinks crime and drug abuse began in the 1960s and an enjoyable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 6 Mar 2013
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Robin "Rob37n" (Hull, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A well written book and companion to one of my favourite films. The film follows the book very closely and as a result a superb piece of cinematography emerged. I would strongly recommend reading the book, there are a couple of things that the mores of the time prevented from reaching the cinema screen but add to the intensity of Raymond's character and his motivations. Buy it, read it, (re)watch the film, and be entertained and enthralled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 7 April 2013
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Well written. and rather scary. The matter of fact way the killings in Korea are described adds to the chill factor
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Caught between two stools, 7 Nov 2009
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Officer Dibble (Zummerzet) - See all my reviews
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This is almost two books for the price of one. Firstly, a bitter satire on USA politics and especially McCarthyism. Secondly, a straight thriller closely reminiscent of Bourne/Jackal/Deighton.

The satire is heartfelt and savage. Mrs Shaw's politicking behind the 'front' of her husband's career resonates as much today as it did in 1959. Indeed, we would today define this simply as spin. She makes Machiavelli look like a simpleton, shamelessly uses all her feminine charms and takes revenge to the level of nailing a spaniel's paws to the floor. This all occupies over half of the novel and is well written and venemous.

The 'thriller' part of the book (and the core of the films) is all over the place. It begins as a riveting story of brainwashing and assassination at the height of the Cold War but gradually loses conviction. The mission of Sgt Shaw, the supreme killing machine, rather dissipates into a weak love interest and a buddy/buddy story. It is as though Mr Condon is unsure of his knowledge of brainwashing and how far the concept can be carried as a literary device.

This is a good read which still has some unexpected twists. The satire is fresh and prescient but the thriller section, no doubt spooky in 1959, now reads a little flimsily.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good intelligent read., 17 May 2013
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This review is from: The Manchurian Candidate (Paperback)
The classic film prompted me to read the book and I was not disappointed. It is a novel which caused some controversy and is disturbingly plausible.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Manchurian Candidates, 14 May 2013
This review is from: The Manchurian Candidate (Paperback)
I have read this book three times and each time I get something totally new out of it. Richard Condon is a master of suspense and even though this book was written so long ago it still feels fresh and timely considering the current political climate worldwide. If you enjoy political and conspiracy thrillers, then read this!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 5 Oct 2014
This review is from: The Manchurian Candidate (Paperback)
Couldn't get my head around this novel. It is in the same writing style as Catcher in the Rye, i.e. a rambling drunk late at night at a bus stop. Glad I didn't take this book on holiday because it would have spoilt my holiday!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book - but the film was better, 18 Nov 2014
By 
Mogsy Dripping "Mogs" (Worthing, Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Manchurian Candidate (Paperback)
Exactly as described. Also, it came very quickly. Good book - but the film was better.
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8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Of historical interest but a bit flawed, 29 Oct 2000
By A Customer
This is a very strange novel, particularly when read in the cold light of the year 2000. Aside from anything else, it's not about what everybody thinks it's about. The film version staring Frank Sinatra had the main character, Raymond Shaw, as a brainwashed Presidential assassin. The film was a thriller. The novel, however, whilst involving a brainwashed assassin, is more a skewed satire about the state of America and American politics circa 1959. Not only that but in the forty one years since it was written, many of its ideas have become so hackneyed that they've passed into popular humour (the image of the disguised assassin assembling his sniper rifle from a high vantage point is one of the oldest film devices in the book). The plot is actually quite brief (I won't go into it here) - it would fit into 100 pages, at most - but is stretched almost to breaking point across the whole 300+ page novel. It's almost as if there isn't enough plot to go around. And as for the narrative, well, the way Richard Condon writes puts one in mind of an intellectual drunk rambling on at 2am in the morning - theories about politics and human nature are expounded whether they have relevance to the story or not. Frequently these major diversions are complete with ridiculously obtuse language which will have you reaching for the dictionary. You almost feel as if he's writing for his own entertainment rather than yours. This makes reading the novel rather like trying to make out a scene on the other side of a frosted glass window - you have an idea what's going on but are not quite sure or entirely confident about it all. This might be part of the design but it's hard to understand why. The twists and turns in the novel's plot are unexpected but have the force of being hit by wet lettuce - they raise an eyebrow at most. Frequently they lack build-up so become hard to appreciate (Raymond meets wife, Raymond is married, Raymond's wife is murdered - all in the space of around ten pages). So why bother to read the novel? Well, it has historical interest. It's the genus of a thousand spy stories and thrillers that followed. And Condon does have a certain snappy writing style which definitely appeals to some people. There's certainly substance in this novel. It's just frequently very hard to get at it, leaving many readers attempting to dissect the novel to figure out what Condon was actually trying to say and communicate.
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The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate by Richard Condon (Paperback - 11 Nov 2004)
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