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Old 05-10-2010, 02:01 PM   #1
leebase
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Stewards of the Flame - Review

Stewards of the Flame by Sylvia Engahl. I'm continuing in my reading of this once forgotten favorite author of mine. This book gripped me from the opening page with it's quotes:

Formerly, people rushed to embrace totalitarian states. Now they rush to embrace the therapeutic state. When they discover that the therapeutic state is about tyranny, not therapy, it will be too late. —Thomas Szasz, Pharmacracy, 2001

Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. —C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, 1970

Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent. —Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 1928

The book starts off as "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" meets sci fi meets health care reform debate. I would have been happy had the book continued on in that vein. The book takes a different direction and explores the concept of ESP and powers of the mind over the body. Not normally my cup of tea as a topic but done really well and was very interesting.

Ms. Engdahl, like my other favorite author Orson Scott Card, just excels at telling a human story. You care about her characters and identify with her protagonists. Anyone sensitive to issues of liberty vs. control -- even control that's "for your own good" will enjoy this book. My own personal nightmare scenarios revolve around being in prison, or in a mental institution or in boot camp under a bad leader -- and this book plays well into the fear of not being in control of your own destiny.

I look forward to reading the sequel.

Lee
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