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Paperback The Cobweb Book

ISBN: 0553383442

ISBN13: 9780553383447

The Cobweb

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

From his triumphant debut with Snow Crash to the stunning success of his latest novel, Quicksilver, Neal Stephenson has quickly become the voice of a generation. In this now-classic political thriller, he and fellow author J. Frederick George tell a savagely witty, chillingly topical tale set in the tense moments of the Gulf War. When a foreign exchange student is found murdered at an Iowa University, Deputy Sheriff Clyde Banks finds that his investigation...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Another Stephenson masterpiece

Stephenson's current day story is very thought provoking under current global circumstances. I enjoyed every page and delighted in every irony and found myself glued to the book for hours at a time.

Light reading that goes down wonderfully with no aftertaste

I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I'm a huge Neal Stephenson fan. His writing is wonderful. His characters are fascinating. This book, co-written with his uncle under the pen name Stephen Bury is, in my opinion, highly underrated. First and foremost, if you've read Stephenson's recent work (Cryptonomicon, The Baroque Cycle) then you'll probably find The Cobweb to be somewhat light reading. On the other hand, if you like thrillers, this is a very easy and palatable read. What I enjoyed most about The Cobweb were the indictments of Washington bureaucrats, and of the way the U.S. Government works (or doesn't, as is more likely). The book's characters are people are I can relate to, whether we're talking about simple speaking but intelligent deputy sheriff Clyde Banks or the cynical career CIA agent Hennessy. The family of wrestlers named Dhont and the (fictional) migratory Vakhan Turks added a lot to the tale. Since I have spent five years on active duty in both the Marine Corps and the Army, I particularly enjoyed the critiques of bloated bureaucracy and the central theme of the book "being cobwebbed" by bureaucrats. The detailed descriptions of government bloat and inefficiency are spot on. The Cobweb manages to mock politics, politicians, bureaucrats and bureaucray and I found that aspect of the novel highly refreshing. The only scene I found unrealistic or unbelievable in the entire novel was the shootout in downtown D.C. in which one of the characters survives a pistol battle only to ask, "What was that all about?" People who survive gun battles that take place inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up aren't going to be able to hear, but I can forgive the authors since they've probably never heard a gun fired inside a car with the windows rolled up. I'm pretty sure a lot of the botulism stuff was unrealistic too, but I'm not a scientist, and so my suspension of disbelief remained intact in regards to the Iraqi terrorist plot to use botulism against Israel and thereby break the coalition. I suspect that in the real world, though, such a scenario wouldn't work, because the truth of the matter is that every country but Britain could have pulled out of the first Gulf War and the result would still have been identical. Nevertheless, it's an interesting plot the kept my rapt attention throughout. My favorite portion of The Cobweb is a long speech in which the jaded Hennessy explains that government does not solve problems it merely manages them. Bureaucrats don't actually fix anything, they find ways to drag out and prolong the problems, making them their own and passing them on to the next crop of bureaucrats, who continue the process of managing the problems. The Cobweb is a wonderful yarn that highlights the best and worst in people and institutions and it's a wonderful romp through a fictional part of Iowa that I highly recommend. Guest starring two real historical characters - Tariq Aziz and George Herbert Walker Bush.

A fun read.

This book, despite its newer publication date, is a re-issue but is entertaining to read. Neal Stephenson and his uncle, George Jewsbury, under the name J. Frederick George, created a tale of intrigue set during the first Gulf War which is relatively fast-paced. Stephenson's talent for characters and entertaining narrative are evident. Like some of Stephenson's other books, especially Snow Crash, this book is easy to read and enjoyable. This book was originally published under the pseudonym Stephen Bury.

More like Ross Thomas than Neal Stephenson

As with "Interface," the question here is, how much is this like Neal Stephenson?There are occasional touches of Stephenson, but on the whole, "The Cobweb" is much less like Stephenson's work than "Interface" was. Although there are some nerdy characters -- a Stephenson staple -- there is much less emphasis on science than in his own works, or even "Interface." That is, unless you count political science.In that regard, "The Cobweb" seems more like the fiction of Ross Thomas and his political thrillers than Neal Stephenson's works.On its own, "The Cobweb" is a fine read. It is essentially a revisionist tale of the Gulf War. While the book begins in early 1990 before the war, and ends in February 1991, before the end of the war, the war takes on tremendous significance. What if Iraqi terrorists were creating biological weapons at U.S. universities? On the whole, this is a more successful revision of history than "American Hero" (the basis for "Wag the Dog") was.

The Cobweb by Stephen bury

Don't let the pen name fool you. Bury is really crack sf writer Neal Stephenson and his uncle writing together. They have crafted an incredible thriller here. The book focuses on a small town in Iowa and how it and its' inhabitants play a crucial role in Desert Storm. It seems that Eastern Iowa State may conceal a biological weapons factory for Saddam Hussein. Deputy sherrif Clyde Banks begins to discover this as his wife is called up in the Army reserves. He becomes entwined with the CIA, FBI, foreign graduate students/spies/freedom fighters and more. The narrative builds momentum until every page DEMANDS to be turned. I decided to read a few pages before bed and now I'm looking at the sunrise.
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