The Last Full Measure by Trent Reedy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It seems that with each new book in this series, the US is getting dangerously closer and closer to fulfilling Reedy's prophecy - one that I really hope never comes to pass. It may not even be the same privacy-rights issue over federal IDs the way this trilogy presented the initial cause of its Second Civil War. It may be something else, like LGBT+ rights (an issue that went surprisingly untouched throughout this trilogy - and on that subject, when I told my dad the premise of these books, he immediately, semi-jokingly, suggested that the current transgender rights issue was the cause of this Second Civil War), or the bigotry promoted by Der Fuehrer Drumpf.
Either way, one can only hope that enough people will have read this trilogy and taken away the warning signs. Allowing America to devolve into a Second Civil War just because compromise is so out of the question for some of the hardliners in charge in the government would have so many horrifying ripple effects. Not only would this open the door for even more corrupt types to take over and force their own visions on society (as happens in this book with the white-supremacist Brotherhood of the White Eagle), but what about the rest of the world? Reedy paints a grim picture of what would happen if the US were so focused on containing its own crisis that it couldn't stop a power vacuum from forming elsewhere. This gives rise to a resurgent Soviet Union, an Israel forced to defend itself against Middle Eastern annihilation like never before, and China rattling its sabers at sea, among other unwanted turns of events.
And meanwhile, for PFC Daniel Wright and his compatriots, the war turns very personal, very fast, as they realize just how much it's not over. The United States can't help them. Idaho's government can't help them. The Brotherhood (comprised, no doubt, of the sort of men whose warped religion, smallness of junk, and raging inferiority complexes have turned them into incredibly hateful SOBs) is turning Idaho into its own racist, sexist playground of horrors. And for what endgame? Nothing but destruction and death (one death in particular had me in tears), all because some of these people just couldn't get their way before and jumped on a chance to hit the reset button?
War is hell. And maybe there's never really a victor, no matter what goes into the history books.
Reedy may be done with Daniel's story, but his rich, spot-on world-building could be equally well-served penning a spin-off or two focusing on the larger World War III conflicts going on beyond the Pan American territory.
In the meantime, to the Divided We Fall trilogy, I hereby say ave atque vale.
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