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Seven Days in May

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,060 ratings  ·  58 reviews
"Gentleman Jim" Scott was a brilliant magnetic general. Like a lot of people, he believed the President was ruining the country. Unlike anyone else, he had the power to do something about it, something unprecedented and terrifying. Colonel "Jiggs" Casey was the marine who accidentally stumbled onto the plot. At first he refused to believe it; then he risked his life and ca ...more
Mass Market Paperback, N2640 , 372 pages
Published 1963 by Bantam (first published January 1962)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,621)
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Jeffrey Keeten
May 27, 2013 Jeffrey Keeten rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeffrey by: Jim McCasland
He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they're not the enemy. The enemy's an age - a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness a frustration, a feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white, and blue. Every now and then a man on a white horse rides by, and ...more
Ed
Published in 1962, SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is a novel of its era. The dire threat of nuclear annihilation at the height of the Cold War permeates the story (I won't summarize the plot here). And yet SEVEN DAYS could also well be ripped from today's headlines. Moreover it gets bonus points for the shout out of my hometown: Warrenton, VA. The suspense is well-paced and not the overheated melodrama many thrillers now use. The U.S. President snagged in a frightening web of betrayal and conspiracy finds ou ...more
Bob Mayer
I was giving a keynote at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference a few years back and brought this book and movie up. I asked how many people in the audience of 500 had read it or watched the movie.
Zero.
I was stunned.
If you don't think it could happen, think again.
This is a classic book and the movie was very well done. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. The way Douglas uncovers the plot from just a few clues, and then his heroism in going to the President is classic.
Carolyn Wyatt
Reading this book, which was originally published in the 1960s, was interesting in the context of today's political landscape. It was written in a time when people treated the president with integrity and respect, instead of treating him and speaking to him like he's a vagabond on welfare.
The book was good and well-written but I had a selfish reaction to it. I was constantly comparing the world of the 1960s (the book is set in 1974, but that was the future at the time) to the world of today. Peo
...more
Bpatton
What would happen if it were discovered that leaders of the armed forces were planning to overthrow the United States government and establish a military dictatorship? Set during the rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, a treaty is about to go into effect whereby the superpowers are to dismantle their nuclear arsenals. As a result, Jordan Lyman becomes one of the most unpopular Presidents in U.S. history, while Joint Chiefs Chairman General James Scott appears to be the favorite to su ...more
Simon
A while back, I felt the need to reread another favourite and grabbed Larry Bond’s Cauldron but while walking down the hallway, found I had picked out his Days of Wrath instead which was not really what I was in the mood for. As I was replacing it on the shelf in the study, I noticed Fletcher Knebel’s Seven Days in May beside it. I’d only ever read this as a teenager in the Reader’s Digest Condensed version and so opted to read it next.

What a great read!! Published in 1962, before Cuba, Dallas a
...more
Penny
One Sunday, Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey, who works in the Joint Chiefs in the 1970s administration of President Jordan Lyman, comes across strange indications of dealings amongst senior military commanders; before the week is out, he is working closely with Lyman and a small group of insiders to quell a planned military coup.

"Seven Days in May" was published in September 1962, and like the 1930s novel I recently read, it was a real exercise in time travel. Fascinating to read a military thrill
...more
Patrick
Consider the timeline around this book:

January 1, 1962 - Seven Days in May is published.

October 12, 1962 - Director John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate is released

November 22, 1963 - President Kennedy is allegedly assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas. Strong evidence suggests a coup d'etat.

January 29, 1964 - After being delayed because of the JFK assassination, director Stanley Kubrick releases Dr. Strangelove

February 12, 1964 -Frankenheimer's adaptation of Seven Days in May is
...more
Russell
The movie is a long-time favorite, but I had never read the book until now. The screenplay follows the book closely (Fletcher Knebel is listed as co-author of the script), and so the same tight, tense progression of events you see in the film is also there in the novel. One of the few books I truly found hard to put down!
Hparks
Oct 22, 2014 Hparks rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I got this book from the library on the strength of having remembered the title. I did not remember at all what the book was about.

The story starts with Colonel Martin J. Casey about to begin an ordinary, dull Sunday at the Pentagon. Starting with an odd message about a horse race, sent through classified channels, added to a chance conversation with an old friend, a quip by a pompous Senator at a party, and suddenly Casey believes he has stumbled upon a coup, planned for next Saturday.

I found t
...more
Kent
I read this back in High School. It's been a "few" years, so I don't remember much detail, but thought it was a very intense, well=written book "back in the day". Based on those memories, I'd rate it a 4 star.
Amicus (David Barnett)
I saw the film, starring Fredric March, Kirk Douglas, etc. back in 1964. It has long been a favourite of mine and it was good finally to get around to reading the novel, which has been lying on the "to read" pile for some years.

The book was written in 1962 and set in 1974, so the suthors' assumption that Kennedy served two terms is one of the novel's more poignant features. LBJ gets one passing mention!

The film cut out many plot details and some minor characters. Col Casey is a married man with
...more
PJ
I found this book on my shelf so i decided to read it. Good book about seizing control of the united states government! Took me a while to finish.
Jason
This classic political thriller authored by two of that era's best writers of the genre, is a relatively fast read that holds your attention throughout. 'Seven Days in May' is certainly a product of its time (the Cold War, fears of the Soviet Union), but it paints a real and timeless portrait of the threat that is posed if the military-industrial complex's power is left unchecked. For this reason alone, it warrants serious reading. That's why 'Seven Days in May' has withstood the test of time an ...more
David Eppenstein
Read this book decades ago. A great thriller but probably a bit dated by today's standards and events.
Marlin Desault
Fast and exciting read but with a strong dose of liberal bias
Michael Welge
It's dated today, but it's a ripping good tale of its place & time...
Erik Graff
Aug 26, 2010 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those interested in early sixties politics
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: literature
Saw this originally at the Pickwick Theatre in Park Ridge with Dad at around the time we saw Dr. Strangelove and Failsafe--all films related to the threat of global war and all released not long after the assassination of President Kennedy. Purchased it locally soon thereafter and read it. Interestingly, the historical model for the general behind the attempted coup may well have been Edwin A. Walker, the extremely anti-communist general Lee Harvey Oswald is purported to have tried to shoot prio ...more
Jeane
A military coup in the United States? Not a comfortable thought. But this book is so well written,one could certainly see it happening. I found it well written and very intense. How on earth do you convince the president that there are some of his highest level military officers planning to take over? Certainly there must be times that the military think they know better than whoever is president, after all, the general public thinks that way about each president in turn. If you liked the movie, ...more
Peter
A hell of a good yarn, even if some of the characters are a bit thin.
Phyllis
Oct 15, 2010 Phyllis rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: political fans
The plot involves an unpopular president, an unpopular treaty, and a popular military leader who covets higher office. The characters are more representatives of types than fully drawn people. But all have strong allegiance to their own set of ethics. The President especially is thoughtful and quick thinking. The novel is a realistic depiction of a fictional coup against the American government. I liked it.
Gary Wallis
A good story that could surprisingly take place today. I found the writing was good , that the story moved along at a good pace and was entirely believable. I read this remembering that there was a movie made back in the 60`s but never read the book or saw the movie. I`ve had the book on my shelf for 10 or 15 years and finally picked it up. Glad I did.
Eileen
Jul 10, 2008 Eileen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults interested in political and military mysteries
Aside from the plot itself, it was interesting to read about the 1970s as a setting in "the future" in a book published in 1962: a future in which John Kennedy was not assassinated, Richard Nixon did not become president, the Watergate scandal never happened, and an entirely different set of political crises played themselves out.
Raymond
This book was a treat to read characters were well rounded and very believable. The book had constant intrigue and a great pace to it. This book could easily compare to some of the current atmosphere politically that is going on this day. Try it you may be surprised. PS.. For you that saw the movie the book is much better more in depth.
Chuck
This is one of my all-time favorites. I read it over forty years ago and still remember it like it was yesterday. I read it in three nights during the week while working full time to provide for a young family. I couldn't put it down. The movie was pretty good too.
Bruce
Ms Norma Norton had us read this in Civics in the 9th grade 1964 I started buying his hardcover books when they came out. Political Fiction Junkie ever since.

What I am saying Mr.President is that there is a plot to overthrow the government of the united states.
Dorothy
This one of my all time favorites. It is a story of an attempted coup in the U.S. Rereading this I found just how much things have changed. They used pay phones and felt guilty! The problems are the same though, ambition, greed, and overblown egos.
Larry
Nov 07, 2009 Larry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who might enjoy a good read
Recommended to Larry by: a 5th grade teacher
i first read this book when i was 12(1969). i have re-read it 20x times- and shall 20x more. the plot grabs you like a magnet-and holds you. this is a true classic....lawoak ps:the movie-while subtily different, is fantastic.
Kirk
I read this in high school shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis had played out and after seeing the film 'Dr. Strangelove.' It had a palpable impression on me then. I doubt I would like it as much now some 45 years later.
Mandi Murphy
A very enjoyable read. The book takes place before my time, and I was unfamiliar with some of the actual history and therefore confused by some of the invented history. But I thoroughly enjoyed the book anyway.
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seven days in may(audio) 3 17 Nov 22, 2013 06:14AM  
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Fletcher Knebel was an American author of several popular works of political fiction.

He graduated from high school in Yonkers, New York, spent a year studying at the Sorbonne and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1934. 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
...more
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