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Men and women have very distinct roles and service wives are supposed to be acquiescent. In another example of how the book has aged poorly the Secretary of Health and Urban Development is not included in the counterconspiracy because the color of his skin he is African-American would call too much attention. Can you imagine having a Black man in the White House? Not likely. If the book has a large failing, I would say that the characters are too rote.

No one except Lyman is very complicated. The book is written for its political intrigue by journalists of that era. The reductionism that occurs also reflects on the reader of those times. The looming question, of course, is could something like this happen. Even so, military men stayed in the background most of the time. Civilian leadership took precedence.

Film: Seven Days in May

I think this speaks volumes about our current attitude. With the end of the Cold War the military has become a diplomatic tool of first resort rather than last, but it certainly is moved by the president rather than the other way around. To show the distance between now and then did you hear about the new Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

One way things have not changed is that both the United States and Russia are fully capable of destroying each other with nuclear weapons. Arms treaties have helped reduce the stockpile of warheads approximately today from the tens of thousands that prevailed back in the s. It has aged and not very gracefully. The concept of the story is good, however, but its telling could be improved. Dec 29, James rated it liked it. I didn't even know I had this book until I went to my bookshelves, looking for something to read, and pulled it out.

At my office, we had a book repository where you could drop books off you no longer wanted or take books out that you might want to read. That's where this old book came from! This is the first edition, published in but set in It is a speculative political thriller about a potential coup within the United State government.


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The authors based the story on actual character I didn't even know I had this book until I went to my bookshelves, looking for something to read, and pulled it out. The authors based the story on actual characters and events.

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While the writing style is somewhat dated and lacking in color, it is no less applicable to the current political climate. I must confess I am a slow reader and prone to distraction, but for the most part, the book kept me interested and at some points during the last third, was an actual "page turner. I also liked how it was at various times it was told from the respective protagonist's point of view.

It truly felt like an "ensemble cast. Worthwhile reading. Dec 05, Christopher Saunders rated it really liked it Shelves: reads. Few Cold War thrillers from the '60s hold up especially well today, so enjoying Seven Days in May I had seen the film years ago was a pleasant surprise. Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey, both political journalists, craft a chillingly plausible portrait of an incipient military coup, triggered by a President's conciliatory attitude towards the USSR and a mad General's overweening ambitions.

Even in 's heated climate it seems implausible, but in the context where the Joint Chiefs had nearl Few Cold War thrillers from the '60s hold up especially well today, so enjoying Seven Days in May I had seen the film years ago was a pleasant surprise. Even in 's heated climate it seems implausible, but in the context where the Joint Chiefs had nearly overruled Kennedy's management of the Cuban Missile Crisis, where France had recently survived the military's violent reaction to Algerian independence, it must have seemed chillingly plausible.

There are some unfortunate elements that mark it as a product of its time a black cabinet member's referred to as a "big Negro," some crass rape jokes by the protagonist but its meticulous narrative craftsmanship, tense suspense-building and even the political content holds up remarkably well. Worth checking out. Jun 28, Jeff Mayo rated it it was amazing.

I loved this book. It was written in but seems relevant in today's political landscape. A United States president becomes very unpopular and many millions say he is ruining the country. The only person who can do something to remove him is a general who is popular among the troops.

A high ranking marine officer stumbles onto the plot to overthrow the president and risks his life to inform the president. The interesting part of the book is that it was set in , which was the future becaus I loved this book. The interesting part of the book is that it was set in , which was the future because it had been written in ' LBJ is referred to once and the threat of nuclear annihilation always exists in the background here. Despite not having come to pass by as the book predicted I think it is prophetic.

It is not a matter of if, but when. Mar 11, Sheila rated it it was amazing. This could have been written today. It is as timely now as it was in , maybe more so. The military is planning to take over the government. Due to the eye of Colonel Jiggs Casey who questions some things he sees in his role as the director of the Joints Staff, he goes to the President with his thoughts.

This is the story of how the President prevents a Constitutional crisis. This is a fast-paced political thriller. I could not put it down as the week went by. I was on the edge of my seat to This could have been written today. I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen. The characters are good.

The President is shown philosophizing at times as to what he, as President, should and needs to do--often alone. I am amazed at how this was kept secret for as long as it was--on both sides. Well worth the read. Nov 17, Joseph Carrabis rated it it was amazing. I can't say which is better, they're all quite good, well written and all stand up. You could tell the same stories today well, they did with The Manchurian Candidate and would only need to update the technology involved. Great reading, highly recommended. Great read. Quintessential D. Reverse that order, and mentally update the geography first published in , before the Kennedy Center, the beltway, and Watergate existed and technology pay phones were high tech and it rings every bit as true now as it did when I first read it, about Sadly out of print, so try a used book store or library.

Seven Days In May by Fletcher Knebel

Worth the effort. Mar 29, Lisa rated it really liked it. Audiobook narrator Leon Janney legendary story teller. Jan 19, Michael Travis rated it it was amazing. Fletchers' books have been great reads. So wish I could ask my Dad and Mom if either of them read these blockbusters back when they were released decades ago. They are still timely and relevant! Oct 05, Mike rated it liked it. Feb 27, Sally Monaghan rated it really liked it.


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What if the military was planning a coup? Exciting book. Very well written, with lots of insight into how government works. It was interesting to see how some things have changed they used typewriters and the "housewives" wore fancy dresses as their day-to-day and some things have not far-right radio talk show host, Russia a threat. One line that was repeated several times was particularly prescient, "It only takes one Administration to bring down the country.

Aug 04, Sam Clemence rated it really liked it. Real score: 3. I only knew about this book after my father recommended it to me, otherwise this wouldn't have even been a blip on my radar. Published in the 's and out of print, this book has some surprisingly timely themes that made me wonder why it's not more talked about in the current political climate. In that regard, the principle strength of this book is painting believable yet terrible scenario in the form of a military c Real score: 3.

In that regard, the principle strength of this book is painting believable yet terrible scenario in the form of a military coup. The author keeps this surprisingly grounded, even though there are plenty of opportunities for it to indulge in some over-the-top action. The plot gets rolling pretty early on, an advantage considering the amount of intrigue that goes on over the course of the novel. And even though this book was written during a time and with a backdrop of the Cold War, it's actually not too far off from what we're currently doing with Russia. The weakness of this story perhaps lies in its lack of action.

This is a political thriller, through and through, and I complimented it earlier for keeping itself grounded, but I do believe it could have used some more fast-paced energy to liven up the occasional long bouts of exposition which, to be clear, are well written, but are nonetheless exposition. In that regard, this is one of the few examples of a story that I almost feel works better as a movie than it does as a book, given the right actors and a good script.

While I do enjoy that the book avoids painting the military leaders as out-and-out villains, I would have appreciated some of the story be told from their point of view. Overall I would give this book a 3.

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Readers also enjoyed. About Fletcher Knebel. Fletcher Knebel. Fletcher Knebel was an American author of several popular works of political fiction. Upon graduation, he received a job offer from the Coatesville Record, in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. He spent the next 20 years working in newspapers, eventually bec Fletcher Knebel was an American author of several popular works of political fiction. He spent the next 20 years working in newspapers, eventually becoming the political columnist for Cowles Publications.

From to , he satirized national politics and government in a nationally published column called "Potomac Fever". In , he wrote a chapter on John F. Kennedy for the book Candidates This seemed to ignite a passion for writing books and he turned his hand to book-length works. He wrote fifteen books, most of them fiction, and all of them dealing with politics. Bailey , about an attempted military coup in the United States. The book was a huge success, staying at number one on the New York Times bestseller list for almost a year, and was made into a successful film also titled "Seven Days in May" in Knebel was married four times from to He committed suicide after a long bout with cancer, by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in his home in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Some audience members might even support his jingoist beliefs.

It is his approach that makes him the antagonist, not his objectives. And Lyman is no infallible hero. He is a vulnerable bleeding heart whose naive hope for world peace makes him easy to dismiss. When Scott and Lyman face off, their loathing for each other is palpable. Driven by the acting prowess of Oscar winners March and Lancaster, their diametrically opposed ideologies clash with such fury and vitriol that your heart rate will spike even in the comforts of your living room. Though nearly 55 years old, the film seem as relevant and vibrant as ever.

The beauty of a well-crafted political film is that the themes are universal enough, the players archetypical enough, that the story can morph to fit many time periods. Though the music and visuals might scream s, the central conflict reverberates through Nixon, Clinton, and Trump. I watch this film every few years, and recommend it to anyone I can, because it reminds me that sincerity and patriotism do not have to be corny or convoluted.

The long, heart-felt speech by March toward the end might be on-the-nose, but that is why it works. Even the romantic tension between Douglas and Ava Gardner, though underdeveloped, succeeds because it is unadorned and bare for the audience to witness. Fail-Safe Elmer Gantry Seconds Sci-Fi Thriller. Edit Cast Complete credited cast: Burt Lancaster James Mattoon Scott Kirk Douglas Martin 'Jiggs' Casey Fredric March President Jordan Lyman Ava Gardner Eleanor Holbrook Edmond O'Brien Raymond Clark Martin Balsam Paul Girard Andrew Duggan William 'Mutt' Henderson Hugh Marlowe Harold McPherson Whit Bissell Frederick Prentice Helen Kleeb Esther Townsend George Macready Christopher Todd Richard Anderson Murdock Bart Burns Edit Storyline An unpopular U.

Language: English. Runtime: min. Color: Black and White. Edit Did You Know? Trivia When Casey is following the TV news anchor, his car parks behind a taxi.

Seven Days in May (1964) Classic Movie Review 111

The advertisement on the back of the taxi is for the Preakness racetrack, promoting its first running on Sunday, May 10th. The patch worn on the Green Beret is known as a flash, which is in the shape of a shield, and identifies the individual Special Forces Group. It is mistakenly worn upside down in the film. Only enlisted personnel wear the crest on the flash, officers wear their rank. Quotes Paul Girard : Admiral, I understand you're not much of a betting man. Farley C. Barnswell : It depends on the game. Paul Girard : Hmm.

What is your pleasure Barnswell : No, those are house games. I don't much care for the odds. Paul Girard : What about horse racing? Barnswell : On occasion That's true, that's true. What about the Preakness?


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Have you got anything good going there? Barnswell : [ Adm. Barnswell senses that Girard knows about the takeover plot ] I only bet