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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Book Review: "American Apocalypse"

by Calculated Risk on 12/08/2009 08:23:00 PM

Meredith Whitney's comments this morning sounded like something right out of "American Apocalypse I":

The government is running out of ways to help the economy as the US faces major issues regarding credit and employment ahead, banking analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.

"I think they're out of bullets," Whitney said in an interview during which she reinforced remarks she made last month indicating she is strongly pessimistic about the prospects for recovery.

Primary among her concerns is the lack of credit access for consumers who she said are "getting kicked out of the financial system."
In American Apocalypse, Nova imagines the economic recovery stalling, leading to the collapse of another major financial firm, the unemployment rate rising to 14% and the fabric of society starting to unravel.

Nova's protagonist, Gardener, loses his job, and is forced to face the challenges of the street. Almost vacant strip malls, "car people", "tree people" and tent cities are all part the scenery.

The book is reminiscent of other post-apocalyptic stories - like "Alas, Babylon" following a nuclear war - except the financial and social crisis of American Apocalypse builds slowly throughout the story, adding tension to the challenges of survival.

Gardener lives in a suburb of D.C. that faces cutbacks in services, creating more hardships for the homeless and unemployed. Eventually the town goes bankrupt, and an Old West style of justice becomes the norm - and Gardener discovers a Charles Bronson "Death Wish" like talent.

American Apocalypse I
American Apocalypse I
Buy it Now!
Here is an excerpt:
I am sure that someday a history will be written of our times, I am just not sure from whose perspective it will be written. Eventually there will be a Gibbons to write the Decline and Fall, but I am positive it will not be Europe or America that produces the author.

The fragmentation of information sources was accelerating. Print had failed as a business model, at least of the daily news; digital broadcast news was homogeneous for the most part. The only difference in the networks was what shade of the official color you wanted. Online news was the least regulated and most interesting; the only problem was the amount of noise one had to sift through to find a reliable source. I was still reading Calculated Risk then, this was before the 'Information Consolidation Act' shut him down.
Oh no, watch out for the ICA!

Nova has a website where he is currently posting chapters from Part II.

The book is fast paced and gripping; a terrifying portrait of what seems a little too possible.

Disclosure: Nova sent me an unsolicited proof copy of his book. I’ve received no compensation for this review.