Book Review: “Army of the Republic”

The Army of the Republic by Stuart Archer Cohen gets two out of a possible five stars in the Shotgun rating system.

I didn’t like this book.  Sorry Stuart.

I don’t like people glorifying terrorist acts against a government that I love.*

I don’t like seeing this beautiful system portrayed in such a terrible light.**

You see, in the book, America has completely fallen prey to the cooperate regimes backed by a phony administration.  This terrible oligarchy was selling off American public assets (like water) to the highest bidder.

The hero of the story founded a terrorist organization called “Army of the Republic” in response.

While I can sympathize with the passion of the Army folk, I find their violent acts to be disgusting and unheroic.  The more violent of acts include the execution (via sniper) of a top business man, the demolition of a water plant, and at one point, a fellow terrorist is taken out point blank.

These terrorist also played fast and loose with the term “Revolution” and their misuse of the term is key to understanding why it should get a negative response from Christians. ***

Why should we trade tyranny of the Oligarchy for tyranny of the terrorist?  Even if their revolution were successful (and we never find out if it is or not…) why should we care?  Using power to force your view onto another only happens when your view is completely worthless and arbitrary.

This statement by Rushdoony about war, can just as easily be applied to the current understanding of revolutions:

“War is a sign of impotence. A system or philosophy of life which has no power to convert becomes imperialistic. For the zeal and faith of peaceful missionary work it substitutes brutal terror. A failing faith resorts to war, because it lacks the contagion of faith and conviction and can only force men into its own system. War is the resort of those who lack true power and are declining.” – R.J. Rushdoony: Roots of Reconstruction pg. 17.

As Christians we cannot, and MUST not allow talk about violent revolutions.  As Otto Scott points out in his lectures, such revolutions always destroy the host country. 

So why did I give the book two stars then?

Well, ever since reading 1984 that fateful day in high school, I’ve enjoyed watching totalitarian regimes get what is coming to them.  When humans are not afraid to stand up to their governments the idea of the messianic state is shaken.

We are clearly shown that the solution to the fictional America’s problem is a massive change of heart among the citizens of the country.

That is something I certainly agree with.  God bring this nation a true revival!

Overall, this is a fast paced and enjoyable book…one that I would have devoured when I was younger.  But now that I’m older, and have a clearer understanding of a proper Christian Just War theory, I can spot the naked skeleton of despair through the shimmering facade that is the Revolutionary. 

*Yes, I do still love our system of government even though I hate what it’s being turned into by the evil fascists currently in power.  It’s like standing by helpless while you watch a gang of grinning and blasphemous thugs rape your girlfriend.

**While ultimately the OT theocratic republic (ruled by a decentralized system of judges) is the greatest and freest system, our American Republic comes in a distant second.

***Consider Otto Scott’s statements about a proper understanding of “Revolution.”


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7 Responses to Book Review: “Army of the Republic”

  1. Mark Tanberg says:

    I totally disagree with you and Rushdoony the founding fathers had to go to war so that you are free to write here and their admonitions about the blood that would be spilled to keep it free are a reality. Now on this election night you have the CHANGE you all voted for and I will wager that the cost in blood will happen out there in the poorer nations first as we refuse to interject security across the globe and do the slow slide into socialism here at home say good night to the shining light on the hill and hello to darkness.

  2. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Thanks for the reply Mark.

    A few things…

    1. British citizens then, (and today) had the freedom to write blogs just like Americans do…so, our “fathers” going to war has very little to do with the freedom to express ideas. In fact, the government under King George would be considered “radically libertarian” by even today’s conservatives.

    2. Our “fathers” didn’t wage a “revolution” in the technical sense of the term. They legally separated themselves from a King who violated his part of the deal. So, our “fathers” didn’t overturn the existing social order, they simply left it in order to govern themselves.

    3. I didn’t vote for “change.” I didn’t vote at all actually. Asking me to vote is like asking me if I’d rather be stabbed to death, or burned alive. I don’t want either. I read in your comments a subtle assumption that John McPain would have been the “lesser” of two evils. I simply disagree. Both candidates were equally evil this go round.

    4. You also seem to think that America is waging some sort of holy war against Islamic radicals…and in her benevolence is acting as the savior of all the small “third world” nations out there. I would assert that these smaller nations would be much better off if the American government just left them alone. I’ll not discuss my entire foreign policy, but I would definitely have some differences with you there.

  3. Dear Sir,

    Thanks for reviewing my book honestly and respectfully. I appreciate civil discourse even when people disagree. My take is: if you can’t make things work on a personal level, you can never make things work on a political level.

    I understand your reaction to the book, but I wanted to give you another perspective.
    Lando is one of three protagonists in this book, all of whom I tried to make sympathetic. I understand your gut-level reaction to Lando’s actions, but please don’t think that I am advocating those actions. My point of view is expressed in the way things turn out, not in Lando’s voice.
    My goal in this book was partly to show an insurgent group from the inside, rather than to stand back and shake my finger at them, or to present them as heroes. I did much research over many years to come to an accurate view of how and why groups like this form and the course they often follow, and I felt it was critical to show them as the human beings they are, rather than simply as criminals, “terrorists,” or “patriots.”

    The novel looks at the entire spectrum of how citizens try to change their government, not simply at armed struggle. Indeed, if you look at how the book ends, even Lando has come to the conclusion that his efforts were mistaken, and that the real power lies in educating and organizing the citizenry. Lando’s voice is very dynamic and many people have read it the same way you did (The NYT being the first and foremost), but I do think the book is much bigger than that.

    As to trading ” tyranny of the Oligarchy for tyranny of the terrorist” I thought the book was pretty clear on that, when James Sands says both in his first and his last conversation with his son, “Nobody elected these guys!” Lando makes the exact same claim about the “Corporates.” I, also, feel that trading one unelected power for another is not the way to go.

    I was surprised you didn’t comment on the many many ways in which the Bible is woven in to the book.

    Anyway, thanks for checking out the book and writing about it.


    Stuart A. Cohen

  4. shotgunwildatheart says:

    Wow…I’m speechless…

    Had I known Mr. Cohen would have found my blog I would have been far more respectful in tone and put more thought into the review.

    As it is, Mr. Cohen, I’m honored that you would respond.

    You’ve gained a fan!

  5. fatima towfeq says:

    can anyone give me the second quote at the beginning of the book?

  6. fatima towfeq says:

    aaah never mind i go them!

  7. shotgun says:

    Well, I’m visiting family at the moment and don’t have access to my copy of the book…(I was going to try to find out the answer to your question.)

    Anyway, I’m glad you figured it out, though, I’m a little curious about it now myself.


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