cover image The Army of the Republic

The Army of the Republic

Stuart Archer Cohen, . . St. Martin's, $24.95 (422pp) ISBN 978-0-312-38377-0

Politically liberal readers will probably best appreciate Cohen's near-future thriller, in which corporate oligarchs run America and the middle classes acquiesce through fear of the displaced underclass, composed of those generally left behind by globalization. A coalition of trade unionists, environmentalists, religious groups and civil libertarians opposes the oligarchs. When the administration hacks electronic voting to rig elections, a general strike is called that's put down with Blackwater-style mercenaries. This leads a small group of activists to launch a campaign of assassinations and sabotage to force the government into allowing elections, but this triggers even more repression. While Cohen (Invisible World ) vividly describes the dynamics of a demonstration as it evolves into a riot, even those in sympathy with the author's message may find this paranoid fantasy too heavy-handed and strident for their taste. (Sept.)