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Balance of Power (Jim Dillon, #1)
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Balance of Power (Jim Dillon #1)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  526 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Tom Clancy meets David Baldacci in this electrifying debut -- a blockbuster tale of terrorism, naval action, legal intrigue, and a historic showdown on Capitol Hill.Balance of Power opens with a bang when pirates hijack the world's fastest merchant ship in a ruthless plan to spark an international incident. Instead, the attack provokes a Constitutional crisis -- and splits ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published May 20th 1998 by William Morrow
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Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Political legal maneuvering.

Any book that makes me Google and learn something that never paid any attention before gets at least four star. In this fictional story made me read parts of the constitution and learn more about Indonesia, Malacca straits.
Three law school friends, all working in Washington, opposing parties and clerk in supreme court. Their relationships and ideas clearly detailed and was very interesting to read.
But extremely detailed military firearms, ships, fighter jets and comba
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
At the end of this novel, author Huston thanks his editor....hmmmm. I believe his editor could have used a much sharper pencil with a giant eraser to condense this story and make it better. There is too much redundancy around battle conflicts and not enough between the legislative and executive branches. 4 of 10 stars
Patty Cole
Jun 06, 2009 rated it liked it
too much military jargon
Xaviera Milan
Nov 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
I couldn't keep up with the military scenes. The author didn't have to mention every guy on the platoon/crew and go gung-ho on the technical terms. The dialogue between the politicians and staffers seem so naïve. Why do they keep wondering about the audacity of the terrorists to pull off such a stunt? The question became super-redundant. Why is the CIA director chummy with the passive president? The president's chief of staff seems unsure and weak in political will. If I'm not mistaken, Dillon a ...more
Linda Goudreau
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story but very wordy.....

Really reminds me of Tom Clancy works. Why use one sentence when 12 does the same. Had some problems following all the law references but I made it thru. Thanks, Amarillo Turtle
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-books
Great look at the Constitution and military power. Does balance always mean equal?
A few slow spots in the "military-speak" but good enough that I binge read three of James Huston's books in ONE day!
Carol Smemoe
Interesting concept

Interesting concept and it kept my attention. It made me rethink about the separation of government. It kept was a descent book
Scott Murdock
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
1st book I've read from writer, He told an interesting story and was hard to put down.
Most everything that happened I believe could have happened.
Will read more if the books in this series
Nancy Petrick
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great 👍read

I could hardly out this book down. Interesting subject matter. It kept my nose in it from the beginning to the end.
James A. Bridger
A very good read

Other than the main character get actually going on a mission with marines, the story is believable and very well documented. I really enjoyed reading it.
Jon Nelson
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Could not put the book down, and also saw D.C. with a different view. Would liked to have the final outcome of blame for following "lawful order".
Maria C Clark
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel?

Made me think, would a modern politician have the guts to do his/her job.
Good story line and modern day thinking
Ronald Howell
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bill
Great read. Very interesting plot.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, fiction
This book is a great summer read. When the President fails to respond to an act of international terrorism, the Congress uses an obscure clause in the Constitution to act on its own. A political crisis ensues as the United States Navy is caught between conflicting orders.

This book took me right back to the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. Much of the story's action takes place on a fictional aircraft carrier, and I found, as I read, I was transported back to my own stint on CVN-69.
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had mixed emotions about this book. It was interesting and exciting and the scenario doesn't seem as far out as I'd like it to be given the current political polarization we're experiencing in this country. I had problems with some actions that seemed especially illogical: the DOD cutting off an aircraft carrier from all communications so that it couldn't receive vital information. Granted, it might be doing something not approved of by the president and approved by congress but it would seem ...more
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a good book and I liked the novel approach to the battle between congress and the President; it was an interesting twist on the War Powers Act and an interesting idea that the whole congress could wrap their arms around a bill and that there would be cross party agreement, something we don't see much of in Congress these days. I found myself liking some of the characters, especially the Admiral. Be sure to read "Price of Power", the sequel to this book, to find out what happens to the m ...more
Michael Taylor
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: james-w-huston
A superb book which used the Constitution as a way to drive the narrative of the book. I have used this with high school students in my government class as a way to see how the Constitution is used in real world situations. Feedback from high school seniors was overwhelmingly positive. Many of them told me that it was the only book that they had read in high school that they had wanted to finish. I used the sequel, THE PRICE OF POWER, as an extra credit assignment. It is a good continuation of t ...more
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
James Huston's Balance of Power is partisan politics on steroids - what happens when the Democratic President and Republican Speaker of the House draw a line in the sand and refuse to compromise. It made for an interesting plot, even though I found the intransigence irritating. Huston is eager to show his familiarity with Naval terms; I don't think I've ever read a book with so many acronyms! The ending lost momentum, and the hinted conflict between two Naval Battle groups never came, but it was ...more
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: military
Interesting premise, but the plot ranged from tedious to cheesy. Jim Dillon is a poor shadow of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, even though Jim is in the thick of the action and has several exciting events. The ending pretty much exemplified the term anti-climactic, which was unfortunate. Good read if you're traveling, but that's about it.
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What can the United States do when a pacifist president refuses to go after terrorists who have taken and destroyed American property and killed American citizens? In this thriller, the Congress of the United States goes head to head with the President and the entire executive branch. I thought this was a very interesting scenario. This book delivered a great plot, interesting characters, lots of action, all without foul language; something most political thrillers don't do.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Felt this book was trying to make a political statement, but in the end there was no clear conclusion. I'm assuming the author, being military, sided with attacking the terrorists, but I'm not sure he was completely fair to the presidents arguments against attacking. Also, it was an interesting premise, but I felt it got dragged down by the amount of "military speak". Us commoners can't understand much of it.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This book is an excellent mix of politcal intrigue, legal conundrums and tactical action--it's an excellent thriller. The author uses the constitution to drive action--I'm glad it wasn't me on the pointy end of that stick. It's partisan politics on steroids. The tactical battle scenes, usually boring, were interesting to me. The book poses some constitutional questions that get your attention. I don't pass out five stars often, this one deserves it.
Started out as an interesting story--a combination of Grisham and Clancy--but ended up not being much of a combination of intertwined subplots and intricacy that you would expect from those two authors. The law and military aspects remained fairly separate and I was left in the end a little let down. It was intriguing, but could have been a much more captivating story if told by a better story-teller.
Oct 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: war, political
The writing is juvenile and the way in which the corridors of power in Washington are portrayed is naive to the point of satire.

"You know very well what has brought me to the House, Mr. Speaker." The President spoke slowly and deliberately. Every eye in the House was on him. "You directed an intentional violation of the United States Constitution and I'm here to stop you."

That is when I had to stop reading.
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
I liked the law aspect of this book, part of me just wishes that there was a bit more shoot-em-up type thing going on. But it's okay that it wasn't there. This is the first book that I have read by this author so it will be interesting to read more of his work. Definitely looking forward to that.
Jim McCulloch
Sep 24, 2013 rated it liked it
It was an interesting and thoughtful story. Odd in that I never warmed to or even liked the primary protagonist . . . or his lawyer friends in Washington. The Admiral was outstanding and I particularly enjoyed his dialog with the protagonist. I also enjoyed the military action although there wasn't enough of it. The constitutional law issue was quite fascinating and thought provoking.
Joshua James
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

This is only the second book of Huston's I've read. It may just be me but I have a certain love for aviation and law like the author and that may be why I like these books so much. The way he ties in actual historical events with challenging themes, both operationally and legally keeps me turning pages.
Joel Ungar
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm sorry. There are a bunch of 5 star reviews on this book on Amazon and I just don't get it. Let's see - 3 best friends from law school are now the chief aide to the Speaker of the House, a counsel to the President and the top clerk to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. That's just preposterous.
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Military political
This is the first book I've read by Huston. It was a good book with a little of a military flavor and it was also political. A little longer than I hoped. And toward the end one thing that happened was pretty unbelievable. Don't want to say what it was because I don't want to give anything away.
Abhishek Ender
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is a brilliant mix of legal/action/politcal intrigue and its an excellent thriller. The monologues may be abit aaron sorkin-ish and very umm conservative, but at the base level the logic seems correct. The book is well written and the pace is fast.
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In addition to being the author of Falcon Seven, Marine One, Secret Justice, Shadows of Power, Fallout, Flash Point, The Price of Power and Balance of Power, I am a partner in the international law firm of Morrison & Foerster, and head of the Trial Practice Group, and a former Navy Flight Officer in F-14s.

I grew up in West Lafayette, Indiana, and attended the University of South Carolina on a
More about James W. Huston...

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