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Single Acts of Tyranny Paperback – 30 Aug 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Milvian Books; First edition (30 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956001602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956001603
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,279,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

This is a very readable book with an interesting message. On the surface it's a fast-paced twenty-first century novel of power, politics, love and intrigue, with believable characters that develop throughout the story. If that's all you get from it, it's worthwhile. But dig just below the surface and it makes some very profound points about the way we are governed and for me, this is the real worth of the book. You won't hear these points made in the mainstream media and if you agree with the radical viewpoint or not, you owe it to yourself to consider the propositions seriously. Also, if you know a leftie-liberal that you need to buy a gift for, buy this, it will have them tearing their hair out! Overall, a great read with a strong, uncompromising message.
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Although I tend not to read 'political' novels, once I started this one I couldn't put it down. It's a fast-paced story of political corruption with some very interesting characters.
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In addition to being fast-paced and cracking story, Single acts of tyranny makes some genuinely important points about modern government and the elite who rule us. I could believe in the major characters all of whom elicit either empathy or contempt as the story develops (the villain is an absolute cracker) and there is sharp dialogue and some fantastic one-liners throughout the book. For sheer enjoyment alone the book is worth reading and the message is compelling. The word 'seminal' is probably over used in literature, but if you read one book this year, this should be it.
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This book is best approached primarily as a novel of ideas. As such it should be welcomed as a rarity in contemporary British fiction. Indeed, it is doubly welcome in that the ideas it presents challenge the cosy political consensus that blights the current literary and cultural Establishment. Like Philip K Dick in "The Man in the High Castle", Fairney uses a personal story set in a world in which history has taken a different turn to make points about the world in which we live. This alternative world is based on his answer to the familiar question, "What would have happened if the Confederacy had won the American Civil War?" This is credible, since the South came very close to winning, and the possibility has been considered by other counter-factual novelists, most notably Harry Turtledove. Fairney follows Turtledove's "Guns of the South" in suggesting that a victorious Confederacy would actually have abolished slavery very quickly - again, this is credible because an independent South would have had no choice but to come to terms with the truth that slavery, apart from anything else, is bad economics. He goes on to suggest that a voluntary end to slavery would have avoided the racial disharmony that followed Emancipation being forced on a resentful South. Most interesting of all is his projection of a historical fact that is often overlooked: the South was actually more committed to free trade than the industrial North, where protectionism was strong. From this Fairney concludes that the South was more likely to develop a truly libertarian culture than the North if only it had been able to resolve the question of slavery. That is a very big "if", but there are a lot of facts to back up his assumptions. Admirers of Ayn Rand will appreciate her obvious intellectual and literary influence - but with the advantage that Fairney's style is far more brisk and concise.
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"With all the hoo-haa about MP's expenses at the moment this is a timely book. It describes an imaginary North American government, which is is obviously meant to be the real British equivalent. The author describes them as corrupt, greedy liars who oppress the people while feathering their own nests. Who could argue with that?

He goes on to show how we could be so much better off without them and how a tiny government that left us alone, would be a vast improvement on this lot. The book was written last year and yet it is uncannily accurate. If you hate what's going on and are looking for an alternative, read it, you might be pleasantly surprised as some of your most basic assumptions are challenged"
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Coming from the middle east, I've seen my fair share of incompetent, corrupt regimes and there is a western snobbery that says "our government is just" Well, if the expenses scandal has taught us anything, it's that NO government is trustworthy and we should limit their power and scope. This book explains how we could do that and be happier, better served, richer and more free without the the self-serving thieves in everything.

I loved the story and the politics doesn't overwhelm the plot or the really sharp dialogue. It's a brilliant book and it doesn't totally surprise me that the establishment publishers wouldn't pick this up. They want you to stay ignorant. Don't be.
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In this well-written book, the author deals with the ill-effects of over-governance - the evils of a 'nanny-state'. It pre-supposes that the South won the American Civil War in 1863, and America is now divided into the Northern States and the Confederate States in the south. The story is about a self-made black woman and her media ally, who expose the misrepresentation and distortion of facts by the governing powers, and encourage their fellow americans in the North towards a better life-style. Although the story is set in America, the issues raised can be easily related to our own country. Well worth a read.
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