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on October 14, 2009
The idea of a future United States being a faux-Japan undergoing their own Meiji restoration after being forcibly opened up by aliens is a good idea. But it would have been better if he hadn't decided to grind his modern-day political axes and preach about libertarianism instead of telling the story that would naturally rise out of his premise. Are we actually supposed to believe that Teddy Kennedy would be remembered as a great villain centuries into the future? Or as anything more than a footnote? And needless to say, he makes no effort whatsoever to figure what things look like from the point of view of his villains, despite actually writing large chunks of the book from that perspective.
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on May 13, 2004
I went into this book with relatively low expectations -- I was just hoping for some light, action-oriented science fiction adventure -- but even those low expectations weren't met.
The other reviewers here have largely covered the book's (thin) plot, so I won't rehash that here. Suffice it to say, the characters are wooden cut-outs and/or stereotypes and the plot is trite and banal. The pacing was slow and extremely predictable. I was badly disappointed in Mr. White's work here, and I probably won't be giving him a second chance.
The author's political views are presented in a very heavy-handed fashion that jar you out of the narrative every time one of his mouthpiece characters begins a new diatribe. Don't get me wrong, I think Clinton and the Kennedys are despicable (as Mr. White clearly does), but I don't need to be constantly reminded of this in a science fiction novel.
Frankly, I'd advise you to take a pass on this one and read something else, even if you're just loking for a light read.
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on September 24, 2001
Nominated for this year's Prometheus Award (it lost to Smith's somewhat better Forge of the Elders), this book helps demonstrate the problems with literary prizes that reward political views, rather than literary work.

I'm a little bemused that White has been writing for nearly ten years, as this reads like a first novel. Most of the thematically important material is related through background narration or several painfully direct dialogue scenes. Every time the theme and the plot threaten to interfere with each other in interesting ways, a monkey-wrench gets thrown into the works, spinning them far away from each other for another fifty pages (except, as stated, when the plot stops altogether so that one character can tell another character the theme of the book at length). And none of the characters attain much in the way of depth. Though the plot machinations show some ingenuity, the characters acting them out are seldom more than cartoons.

Which is a shame, because there is more than adequate material for a good book here. Fighting against aliens who aren't exactly good, but are far less evil than the humans facing them poses many interesting questions -- none of which are dealt with. In fact, the game of Musical Antagonists ends with a big space battle against one faction of the aliens, utterly undercutting the most interesting parts of the book.

If Mr. White had taken more time with this, if he had made his enviromentalists and statists actually sound like they believed what they were saying, and if he hadn't sloughed off most of the work of antagonism onto the evil faction of the aliens, this could have been a much better book.

As is, it remains a mildly amusing waste of a few hours, if you don't disagree with his politics too vehemently.
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on April 18, 2001
Eagle Against the Stars is standard space opera. Which means that you shouldn't read it to try to find trenchant commentary about important social issues or intellectual musings about the nature of man and society.
What you should expect is solid writing, an interesting, fast-paced story line, and a modicum of tension. Oh, yeah, and expect the good guys (us) to beat the bad guys (aliens).
Steve White is a fine writer, and his books are generally entertaining, and fun to read. In this book, White has penned an engaging and entertaining bit of sci-fi, that accomplishes exactly what it's designed to do, which is to entertain you with a fast-paced adventure story.
IF you like combat sci-fi, you will enjoy Eagle Against the Stars. Steve White has, by the way, coauthored with David Weber, some of the best military Sci-Fi ever written: Insurrection, Crusade, and In Death Ground. This book doesn't quite measure up to those, but it is an engaging read.
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on April 15, 2000
This book is proof positive that Steve White is a full-fledged partner of the StarFire series, despite some snide commentary from the politically charged "readers"; and a great author in his own right.
Great story, well developed characters, indeed a very plausible scenario for the near-future USA (aliens or no aliens). Too bad White developed the whole story in the frame of a single book; this could've been made into a trilogy much like "The Disinherited".
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on March 18, 2000
turttledove! where are you when we need you? this book shows why a little information, in the hands of someone with no historical context, is considered dangerous. if you can keep from laughing at his vision of the future, the book is his standard shoot-em-up of heroes escaping impossible odds again, again, again, and on and on. if your looking for something original, look somewhere else. otherwise it's the kind of science fiction only the texas militia could love.
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on February 5, 2000
I enjoyed this book with NO apologies. Comments about it being slowly paced have me wondering whether other reviewers even read the same book. What I read was something like Tom Clancy meets "Earth: Final Conflict," with some great, slam-bang space opera riffs thrown in toward the end.
I found some of the tone of "Eagle Against the Stars" reminiscent of 40s & 50s Heinlein, which I consider a strong compliment since most of what Heinlein wrote from "Stranger In A Strange Land" on isn't much worth reading anyway.
The political commentary is a bit heavy handed at times, but that doesn't mean it's off target by any means. Political satire always exaggerates the essential truths about a candidate, a movement or an institution, which is probably why those on the Left will find endless reasons for hating this book, couched of course in criticisms about pacing, character, action, etc. Don't believe it. This is an entertaining, fast-paced SF action/intrigue story for those of us who still believe that turning this nation into a politically correct, Green-dominated, social-democratic paradise would pretty much suck what's left of the American spirit out of our society. Thank God the Lokaron arrived when they did.
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on February 1, 2000
I disagree with some of the earlier comments. I found "Eagle Against the Stars" a pretty fair space opera, reminiscent of Raymond Jones' classic "This Island, Earth" (the book, not the movie, although the movie wasn't bad) with its alien contact theme and the role the humans end up playing in it. So what if the author has an agenda? So do novels ranging from Patricia Cornwell's police stories to "The Destroyer" series. The question is: are they engaging enough to entertain or enlighten? I enjoy White's political incorrectness, even if I disagree with bits of it. As for the woman being the lesser character because she is identified by a perky nickname, she seemed to me more dominant and sensible than the male lead. This book was fun.
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on February 1, 2000
I'm late to this party, all the good points are taken. So, I didn't like this book very much. I did however finish it, thats something! This author has done some fine work, and I will still wait for his next work with interest.
Some of his background for fleshing out this future was amusing but on the whole it seemed rushed to me.
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on January 31, 2000
I was willing to give the author a chance based on some of his earlier work. Big mistake. He took a promising setup, and turned it into a boring pseudo-techno-thriller, filled with political messages that have the subtlety of a raging bull.
Starting with the dreadfully hackneyed hero drinking himself into oblivion in the Caribbean, going on to the villain who lacks only a twirled mustache to be Snidely Whiplash, and finishing with some of the most implausible characters ever, I hated this book from start to finish. I kept thinking, "It has to get better. It just *has* to...", but I was wrong. It only gets worse.
There are so many things about this book that are just *annoying*... the constant slaps at Clinton and the Kennedys and anything non-right-wing; the patronizing tone used toward any woman mentioned (all the characters are referred to by last names, except for the female lead, who is known by the perky "Katy", despite her years of covert ops work); the "Eaglemen" who abandon lifelong ambitions of throwing the aliens off the planet based on being told that, hey, some of these aliens are our *friends*!; the blithe dismissal of the entire rest of the world as less important (I'm sure the Europeans were happy to hear that); "good" aliens are *blue*, while "bad" aliens are *green*, get it? GREEN!;... the list could go on for pages.
I believe it was Samuel Clemens who said, "This is not a book to be put down lightly. It should be thrown with great force." Amen to that, brother.
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