Life has been going downhill for Don Jenkins. He is a writer with Writer’s block, his kid is grown and his ex-wife wants more money which he isn’t able to give. His biggest problems start though as he goes into a 7 11 to get his extra-large mug filled with soda and the cashier won’t fill it because it’s against Government regulations. Don is tired of the Government’s restrictions on our freedoms and wants a change.
Don blogs about his feelings on the government and supports a movement called Second Vermont Republic which wants to break away from the United States and govern itself. Things aren’t going well with the movement though and one day a comment on his blog leads him to North Dakota. Here he finds a man named Mackey who wants to turn North Dakota into its own self-sufficient country. The Free Dakota movement is being met with major opposition though and with the feds investigating and the armed forces entering the state to keep the peace, everything is about to change for Don.
Free Dakota by William Irwin is an interesting book and whether you like it or not will depend on what you are looking for. If you want action, adventure and a great story then this one might not be for you. What it does have is a good social commentary, political debate and good ideas on how society should work from characters that are entertaining and believable. After you read Free Dakota you will want to have a discussion about it when you finish.
When I first started reading Free Dakota I had to get use to it because I kept thinking that regular people don’t talk like this and the story seemed chaotic in how it was told. That being said it gets better as it goes along and the way it was wrapped up at the end really got me thinking. I think the story and characters are secondary to the information being presented but it needed them to make it a better read. The main point in this book is that we can live better with less government and we should be more self-sufficient. It also presents the idea that people and businesses can do a better job of regulating themselves then the government can.
One of my favorite things about Free Dakota is how it was written. William Irwin is a Philosophy professor and has written several books on Philosophy including The Free Market Existentialist: Capitalism without Consumerism. I read this book and some of it I understood and some of it went over my head. While that was a non-fiction book, this one is a fictional novel but it includes ideas on being libertarian and having less government which are real. I loved listening to the ideas presented and I loved how the characters in the story defend their points of view on society. In Reading this book I felt that if these ideas were presented in a non fiction book I wouldn’t have been as interested and probably wouldn’t have understood it as well. Since the information William Irwin has presented is in the form of a novel I understood it and enjoyed it.