By Tommy Clarkson from the April 2010 Edition
Be he merely literarily gifted or his books the result of focused and well researched work, the writings of Ralph Peters are thoroughly enjoyable and highly thought provoking. His latest, “The War After Armageddon” is certainly no exception. It, like “Atlas Shrugged” – the most classic of “where we almost are today” novels – is all too frighteningly close to possible reality.
A retired U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Peters regularly appears as a subject matter expert and international strategist on an array of television news venues. In addition to superlative works of fiction, Peters writes not only for numerous newspaper and journals of consequence, but has also written several well documented, insightful non-fiction books such as “Beyond Baghdad”, “Beyond Terror’ and “Fighting for the Future”. A multi-talented author, Peters also has written several Civil War novels under the name of Owen Parry.
Throughout his writings, Peters’ excellent use of metaphors effectively makes his point. He is a master of the art, to wit, these examples from his earlier book, “The Devil’s Garden”: “backs and limbs as stiff as prejudice”, “Miles (Davis) skulking through the scales like a recon patrol”, “the self-possession of a choirboy caught shoplifting”, “her face might have rendered cows barren and cursed fields” and my personal favorite describing a situation encountered by the protagonist which was “uglier than a whorehouse in a leper colony!”
No mere cliché, “fact often exceeds fiction.” Accordingly, the basic plot of this book is based on numerous, known realities. Take for example these known truths: The U.S. military has allowed itself to be lulled into a highly vulnerable, sense of security based on – all too easily broken/disrupted/destroyable – technologies; Jihadists seek the death of all non-believers; The U/S/ and Europe are unbelievably vulnerable to large scale nuclear, chemical or biological attack; and, religious radicalism is not limited to those of the Islamic faith.
Built on such truisms, “Armageddon” unfolds following “simultaneous detonation of dirty (nuclear) bombs” of eleven major European cities, the ensuing action by the European Union to “expel Muslims from the continent” as a result of fear “of a Muslim demographic takeover of Europe,” “nuclear destruction of Israel and the terror attacks on Los Angels and Las Vegas,” and then a groundswell of religious fervor by a substantive number of U.S. citizens “bewailing the captivity of the ancient Christian heartlands” joined by “American politicians from both parties (who, facing re-election) rediscovered their religious roots.
Frighteningly factual, all too familiar, similar “leads” have leapt out at us from the headlines of the morning newspapers or been mouthed by smarmy, pundits with slick hairdos on the evening news, have they not?
However, one need not be a CIA operative or military intelligence officer to see these hypotheses as valid and all too real!
In a recent conversation with LTC Peters regarding how he would describe “Armageddon” he responded, “I see it as the dramatization of numerous current issues of consequence. In it I strove to humanize the frightening implications of recent and potential global events.
Hopefully, I was able to do so not only by reaching my readers heads, but, perhaps more so, their hearts and souls.”
Recognizing that some readers may not be familiar with the combat use or make-up of UAVs, nature of a FRAGO, or what constitutes the 1 ID, the glossary in the back of the book will of significant assistance.
This is an excellent read and, quite simply, a piece of literature highly germane to today’s realities. To quote a writer friend of mine, “The War After Armageddon” is “A good story well told that will haunt the mind long after the day’s headlines have been forgotten.”
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Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation – Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.