Loring Wirbel's Reviews > 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America

2030 by Albert Brooks
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Jul 28, 2011

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Read in July, 2011

Brooks clearly intended a fast-reading tour de force with '2030', not a piece of 1984-style literature. For what it attempts to do, it is an interesting and plausible work, particularly in the scary 2011 environment of dodged debt ceilings and failed states.

I'll call him on three issues - First, there are minor typos here and there, and minor factual mistakes that a better fact-checker might have remedied (e.g., "Strategic Air Command" has been "Strategic Command" since the 1990s).

Second, the overall generational warfare might be too extreme to believe. Americans tend to take on a lot of suffering without protesting much, and their notion of history is rather flat. While younger people in Brooks' 2030 might have some reason to resent older people living longer and longer lives, their memory of a better life would be minimal, and their tendency to read history would probably be subdued enough to make any terrorism against their elders unlikely. Quiet resentment would be a lot more likely.

Finally, the end does not climax all that much - the hijacking of the ship is rather predictable, and the election of the first China-born president is something that the final third of the book builds us to. I expected a little more of a twist or unexpected climax.

Still, this is a fun beach read, and a fairly plausible story about a future that is virtually upon us (which may end up being one of its problems - Orwell got a longer shelf-life with 1984).

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