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Radio Free Vermont

Radio Free Vermont Book Cover Radio Free Vermont
Bill McKibben
November 7, 2017
Publisher via First to Read

"I hope no one secedes, but I also hope that Americans figure out creative ways to resist injustice and create communities where everybody counts. We've got a long history of resistance in Vermont and this book is testimony to that fact." -Bernie Sanders A book that's also the beginning of a movement, Bill McKibben's debut novel Radio Free Vermont follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic. As the host of Radio Free Vermont--"underground, underpowered, and underfoot"--seventy-two-year-old Vern Barclay is currently broadcasting from an "undisclosed and double-secret location." With the help of a young computer prodigy named Perry Alterson, Vern uses his radio show to advocate for a simple yet radical idea: an independent Vermont, one where the state secedes from the United States and operates under a free local economy. But for now, he and his radio show must remain untraceable, because in addition to being a lifelong Vermonter and concerned citizen, Vern Barclay is also a fugitive from the law. In Radio Free Vermont, Bill McKibben entertains and expands upon an idea that's become more popular than ever--seceding from the United States. Along with Vern and Perry, McKibben imagines an eccentric group of activists who carry out their own version of guerilla warfare, which includes dismissing local middle school children early in honor of 'Ethan Allen Day' and hijacking a Coors Light truck and replacing the stock with local brew. Witty, biting, and terrifyingly timely, Radio Free Vermont is Bill McKibben's fictional response to the burgeoning resistance movement.

My review:

I was initially drawn to this book because it's about the state where I was born, and lived in for three and a half decades. Other than hoping for a casual reference to some places I remember, I wasn't sure what to expect. I LOVED this book! It was sometimes funny, but then would throw in some serious facts about the current state of our nation. The way that this merry band of misfits go about organizing the idea of Vermont becoming a free state was spectacular, in that there was absolutely no violence (only brains) involved. Vern was a great character, witty and wise from his long running radio show, and respected enough to begin to plant the seeds of what would happen if Vermont were to secede from the United States in order to get back to its small roots. There was a plethora of historical information about the early days of Vermont (the first state to outlaw slaves and allow same sex marriage), to what has become of small farms and businesses due to corporate conglomerates. And lest you think that it reads like a history book........oh my goodness not at all! Most of the information is given out while answering callers to Vern's radio show. Of course, once the government gets wind of what Vern is up to, shenanigans ensue with trying to get their information out without being tracked down and thrown in jail. I was definitely not ready for the book to finish, I hope the author comes up with a sequel!

Such a short book that packs a whallop of facts and fun! A solid 4 star read, I'm sure an extra star had to be added because of all the Vermont references that had me squealing (I was born in Barre.......I mean Thunder Road....AHHH! ).  While most of the names have been changed, there are a few references in the book to current political office holders that may have you nodding your head. A definite for Vermonters, and a do not miss for others!

I received this book as part of the Penguin First to Read program. All opinions are my own.


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