Review: Seven Days In May

Seven Days In May

Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey’s “foil the American coup attempt” novel Seven Days in May is one of those interesting books. I’d liken it to seeing the original Street Fighter, Wolfenstein 3D, Command And Conquer, or any early, genre-defining video game.

On one hand, it’s clear to see how much of a foundation it set for countless “Nation In Crisis” thrillers to follow.  One the other, well, even after accepting that this is the kind of book that isn’t centered around explosions, it’s still too dry for my tastes.

It’s almost exactly like seeing an old fighting game, realizing what it laid out for the genre-and then finding that in actual gameplay, it’s a clunkfest where a special attack is almost impossible, but if you can pull it off, it’s an instant match-winner. The prose is stuffy even by the standards of the time, and even by the standards of nonviolent political novels, I’ve seen better-written suspense elsewhere. But at the same time, I’d think it would come across as far fresher if actually read at the time it was originally published, and can appreciate it for its historical value if nothing else.

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