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.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)|
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***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***
Excerpted from "Radio Free Vermont"
Copyright © 2018 Bill McKibben.
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What People are Saying About This
"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."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Delightful story about an old guy who misses the way his world in Vermont and America has changed into something he doesn’t quite like. Could be disappointment with the way Vermont has evolved has to do with his aging and facing life the way it is now as opposed to the way it used to be. A few jabs at the current political climate, but not too offensive to a reader who does not agree with author’s opinion. Spoiler is the commentary after the story ends. Not necessary. Reader gets that author has a bias.
A good message but the story it’s self was lacking a bit. There wasn’t really a plot the characters just make podcast and every once in a while perform an act of civil disobedience. It could have been pretty funny (which would have made it more enjoyable in my eyes) but the author seemed to want to be a bit more realistic. The characters are interesting and likable which helps rescue this story a bit, but overall I just found it lacking.
Welcome to Vermont in the winter of 2017. Donald Trump has been elected president, the winters are more midatlantic mudfest than snowy paradise, and the strange, unique state of Vermont seems more and more in danger of becoming just another bland American state. Enter Vern Barclay, 70 year old radio show host and current leader of a quiet underground movement seeking a free, independent republic of Vermont. Vern comes into his activism more by accident than by malicious intent, but before he knows it, he has become the leader of a movement dedicated to keeping Vermont small, fair, weird, beautiful, and free. As a University of Vermont alumna and as a former resident of the state, I always enjoy reading stories focused on my former home. McKibben has created a small, odd tale of resistance that mirrors the small, odd state of its setting. Even when I lived in Vermont (which is about a decade ago, now), you could walk into a restaurant and know exactly where the food you were eating came from. Vermont was a localvore haven long before the word was invented. The state is home to way more microbreweries and distilleries than you think you may need. The funky, friendly, live-and-let-live attitude of the majority of the state means that you can have your hippy-dippy Subaru and co-op grocery, and your handguns too. Add to all this the fact that Vermont, being small yet mighty, has made overtures of independence and succession in the past. In fact, one area of the state, called the Northeast Kingdom gets its name from an unsuccessful attempt at sovereignty when the country was young. What we have in Radio Free Vermont is an uplifting (though very, very white) story of resistance Vermont style, involving calm discussion, reasoned arguments, lots of local beer, minor property damage, cross country skiers, and no violence. This is a resistance with an undercurrent of subtle Yankee humor. This is a resistance of the intimately local, and of neighborly cooperation. It is not loud, or violent, but it is the spark of something beautiful and funny that helps light the darkness of our current times. An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Bill McKibben, Penguin Group Blue Rider Press, and Plume Blue Rider Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. This is an excellent political novel, and though extreme, also apt. Rebels in Vermont - a septuagenarian radio personality, a thirty something gold medalist in Olympic biathlon and a very young computer geek - begin making waves about seceding from the United States and becoming independent. Rather like a city-state in days of old. Labelled terrorists after their first few podcasts, the trio hide in plain sight and keep stirring the waters until Vermont's Town Meeting Day, where the citizens of Vermont can decide if they want to be a small independent nation or just get back to the weird that made them so special to start with. This is a book I will want to share with my friends and family. Thank you.