Jewish World Review Oct. 23, 2003 / 27 Tishrei, 5764

Lewis A. Fein

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Consumer Reports

Passport to Freedom | Few novels openly speculate about liberty versus capitalism, while also offering action, suspense and political intrigue. Yet, Bruce Herschensohn, the former senatorial candidate and eloquent commentator, takes these two forces of literary thought — crooked wire and colored plastic — to (pardon the expression) ignite entertainment's charge — exoticism, romance, politics, espionage, murder, communism, fascism, freedom and Zionism.

Such is the trajectory of twentieth century life in "Passport," Herschensohn's new book about the twilight struggle against tyranny. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR. )

The novel's characters, which include diplomats, spies, generals, columnists and lovers, first meet during the presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. And it is a testament of Herschensohn's objectivity, his deferral to facts and control of emotion, that he sees Kennedy as a man conservatives should respect and Leftists fear: a cold warrior with an aristocratic pedigree, a decorated veteran and dedicated foe of communism. All this from an author - Bruce Herschensohn, registered Republican - who worked for Nixon!

For Herschensohn is a member of a previously strong and gloriously proud fraternity — the bipartisan motto against German terror and Russian expansion, "Patriotism!" This old lyric — a word stamped by Truman, delivered by Eisenhower, echoed by Kennedy and certified by Nixon; a word reborn in Pearl Harbor and every assault against liberty thereafter, from New York to the Pentagon to Pennsylvania — needs translation for today's Democrats. Indeed, one can already envision the Left's war against unity before evil and resolution on behalf of justice.

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Herschensohn further identifies this dangerous brand of moral relativism, wherein he uses the novel's prologue to advance the principles of liberty. And no city better represents the tension between wealth and freedom — the symbolic fight between order and individual choice — than Hong Kong. For no other city reveals the true conflict of the new century: the idea that capitalism is worthless without liberty, a glorified stock chart without honest reporting and independent editorials.

Even better, Herschensohn uncovers this same tension in radical Islam's war against Israel. His suspenseful account of the Six Day War, replete with CIA agents, Israeli politicians and Arab nationalists, is one of the most accurate (and concise) descriptions of the modern Middle East. He draws no stereotypes, accepts few excuses; his sources are history's truth.

Perhaps Herschensohn's greatest gift is his meticulous summary of Egypt's stubborn attitude towards, and the Soviet Union's equally foolish actions concerning, the existence of Israel. In the end, it is Egypt that must face defeat and regional confusion — for what? For the wickedly naive belief that free people — simply because they are Jewish — must die. Yet, the Israeli flag still stands, now and forever.

The book's ensuing chapters deal with honor, dignity, individual loss and political change. There is a divided Europe, a conquered Asia and an embattled United Nations. There is Cuba, Vietnam, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Germany and France. There is Berlin and Cairo, Havana and Saigon. There is authoritarianism and totalitarian evil. There is also America, freedom's final hope.

Bruce Herschensohn is an author of decency and patriotic truth. His novel is an extended archive of gratitude to the men and women who stand against the darkest apparatus of tyranny: collectivism and religious enslavement. He recognizes humanity's birthright, the unalienable right to live as free citizens. Let us never forget his words.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Lewis A. Fein