THE LEADER by Gillian Freeman


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Gillian Freeman's perception of psychological and sociological drives is combined with an ability to communicate them in suspenseful entertainments. This novel starts slowly and the distasteful central character is hard to put up with until the pattern begins to emerge--Vincent Pearman, neurotic/asthmatic, horoscope reading bank clerk, is on his way to becoming a fuehrer. Vincent is a paranoid; a uniform nut, a mother-ridden impotent and totally believable as a neo-Nazi. His rise to near power shows an aspect of English society seldom encountered in print. His potential mob is made up of small shopkeepers frightened of the economy, small landlords fearful of Jamaican and African colonials arriving in numbers and small minds afraid of changes or Jews or foreigners. Vincent siezed on a drifting organization of public school boys led by adult haters and, acknowledging his debt to Hitler, he manipulated groups to frenzy, ad libbed furious challenges to national pride, ritualized it all with uniforms, special salutes and celibate oaths. For a megalomaniacal moment, Vincent finds himself the voice of the negative third raters. In a shift so gradual that it has to be the sign of a craftsman storyteller, the author shows tetched Vincent burned out of his party which ticks on without him like an unstoppable explosive.... The It Can Happen Bare implications grip the imagination.

Publisher: Lippincott