Book Review: Collapse by Richard Stephenson

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collapse book coverAs you may have guessed, I have almost no time at all to just sit down and read a book. I have a huge stack of non-fiction, survival related books, and they’re sitting right where I put them.

I scarcely have time to take a shower and make myself presentable each day, much less wile away the hours with my nose in a book.

This is why it’s such a delight to happen upon a book, purely by chance, that grabs my attention from the first page and keeps me entertained through the last.

Collapse by Richard Stephenson is that type of book.

Incredibly, Richard never had big dreams of becoming a novelist and Collapse is his first book, based on his musings of what it would take for America to collapse. It isn’t a cheery book, but it’s gritty, realistic, and definitely held my attention.

For someone with ADD, that says a lot!

As the book opens, America has been hit with a second Great Depression that has devastated the economy, a killer hurricane that has reduced Florida to third world status, and a vicious, ongoing war with the Empire of Iran. America is crippled and the President faces enemies within his own administration.

Collapse introduces us to three main characters. First is Howard Beck: billionaire, genius, close friend to the current President, and affected by Asperger’s Syndrome. Richard was smart to introduce this character first because everything about Howard is, well, really eccentric, and I kept turning page after page, just to learn more about this guy!

Richard Dupree is a felon in a high-security prison, but we soon learn that he is a former Navy SEAL whose backstory makes him a sympathetic character. Maxwell Harris rounds out the group, and we learn that he is burned out, looking forward to retirement, and is faced with a Category 5 hurricane aimed directly at his small Texas town.

The main characters in Collapse are very well developed and intriguing, and their individual story lines are strong and skillfully woven together. I like complex plots and was a big fan of Tom Clancy, so this feature was a big plus for me. The author also includes a few unexpected twists and the book is fast-paced.

[tweetherder]There are a lot of survival and prepper related novels on the market, not all of them worth reading. Collapse is different.[/tweetherder] It reads more like a novel from a best-selling author than something pecked out on a keyboard over someone’s lunch hour!

For more details, check out my video review.




20 thoughts on “Book Review: Collapse by Richard Stephenson”

    1. I downloaded the kindle version and read it this weekend. Awesome book, moves quickly and keeps the reader hooked the whole time. Look forward to the sequel!!

  1. Mike the Gardener

    Sounds like an interesting read. I am always looking for other opinions of different topics, and this book looks like it fits the build.

  2. I hate coming across as a sharpshooter/lurker/skulker when this is the first I’ve even heard of this book, but “Empire of Iran”? Really? If all this fiction novel does is to reinforce the fallacy that the idiot government of Iran is an immediate or eminent threat to US (like all the other bullshit we’ve had slung at us for ten years) then it will have done it’s part to hasten our collapse into economic disaster and WWIII. I apologize in advance if I am wrong.

    1. Yeah, that’s the first thing I thought as well. How in the world could the US be involved in a “vicious, ongoing” war with Iran? They don’t have a modern military by any stretch of the imagination! What, are they going to invade the US mainland, or fly their air force and bomb American cities?

      1. The book is set 25 years in the future. The Empire of Iran refers to a grouping of states based on the old Persian Empire (consisting of Iran, Iraq, Syria, etc). It’s Sci-fi guys, not real life.

      2. yes,if it goes according to script, your leaders will have you believe that the U.S. is under imminent threat and our enemies are preparing to land on our beaches,fly over to bomb us,etc. etc. the people bought it in the past,so why not?

  3. I’ve read many “collapse” books since the early 80’s by well known authors incl Mcilvany, H. Ruff, Celente, Buchanan, etc. I’m a retiree and haven’t seen this happen in spite of huge national debt. y2k hype and books sold, people prepping for it was a waste. Stuff (incl mine) was thrown out or donated to food banks. Retirees (except hard core preppers) are skeptical on spending much prepping for future meltdown. Most friends spend money on golf, sports equip, cruises, travel and dining instead of crap others someday will toss. Several who died recently had preps thrown out by heirs. Weather disasters are reason I prep for a month or so. Friends who died with many preps incl water purifiers, wood stoves, etc did so in vain.

    1. That is a great reason to get your kids or grandkids involved. They should know what this stuff is, and that it is not only valuable food, but important supplies.

  4. Thanks for the book review Lisa. Always looking for a good read. @laura, some people prep by “piling up” on stuff, while others prep by changing their lifestyles. I started gardening/preserving/seed saving: gives me food stores, but also activities I enjoy, better tasting food, and cheaper grocery bill. I got my HAM radio license: gives me options for communications, but also an exciting hobby to share with a new social circle, etc.

  5. Lisa, aka, Survival Mom, come on! I realize this is just a book review, but I was disgusted at your review of the part of the book which tells of the confrontation with the “Empire of Iran.” You even call it the “Evil Empire.” Wow, talk about role reversal. I love my country, but we all know the US is the global bully these days, its government being run by ruthless psychopaths. The US has bombed the hell out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Sryia, Pakistan, and has been trying to goad Iran into the mother of all confrontations. Make no mistake – MILLIONS have died because of the aggression and transgressions of the US in the Middle East.

    The best thing that could happen would be the financial collapse of the US, in order to save the rest of the world from the continual wars which are designed to bring about the ruthless, tyrannical new world order.

    Empire of Iran? How about the “Global Evil Empire of America?’ I will pass of this book, thank you.

  6. Yeah… a bit confused and immediately skeptical of the “empire of Iran” thing. Iran hasn’t launched an agressive war in 200 years. The US is involved in aggressive wars in 20 countries as we write this. Lmao.

  7. I plan on reading this book based on the great review- I too get lost within the first few pages if it does not grip me right away. To yankie and goldhoarder- I think there was a bit much reading into how the review was written on a FICTIONAL book. A lot of us would probably agree with your statistical information but making her sound like she is another mainstream media jerk is kind of harsh.

  8. Richard Stephenson

    Thanks again to Lisa for reviewing my novel and I appreciate all of the feedback. Yes, the book is fiction, I realize that Iran being a threat today is a far stretch, but this novel is fiction based in the future, not the present. It was in the news a few days ago that Iran could very likely have an ICBM by 2015. One fact that I do purport in the novel is that Iran has a superbunker that the US is unable to breach with a bunkerbomb. Fiction requires a suspension of belief for the sake of storytelling. If Collapse were set in the present time, yes, the idea of Iran being a threat would be something no amount of suspension of belief could hold up to. In the future, who knows? Germany was disarmed after WW1 and the idea of the Third Reich rising to power within twenty years was something that few could comprehend at the close of WW1. Just my two cents. If Collapse is not your cup of tea, no hard feelings from me. Not trying to make political predictions, just telling a story. Thanks again to everyone for the feedback.

  9. On the strength of Survival Mom’s recommendation, I bought a copy of Collapse, and then struggled through it. Collapse is just a grim fairy tale, with one implausible plot turn after another. Survival Mom is right, though: if you like Tom Clancy, you’ll like Collapse. The problem remains, however, that the subject of the probable decline and fall of the American Experiment has yet to attract a fiction writer equal to the task.

    1. thesurvivalmom

      Sorry you didn’t like it. If you find a book that is, “equal to the task,” let me know. :o)

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