THE PATRIOT by Horald Bienvenu


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The Patriot's bookjacket shows a plaster death mask with a skintight American flat on it. The rest of the book is not quite that imaginative. Nor is there a single sympathetic character in this story of a super con man out for personal gain by forming a John Birch Society styled organization called American Patriots, Inc. Set in California, the novel reminds one of those last hack-written novels of Sinclair Lewis after he had burned out the humor that made Elmer Gantry, another con man, rousingly palatable. William Allan Boardman, an ex-public information officer for the Army, is starting out in his fledgling public relations business. He meets Walter Tighe, a self-made millionaire and restaurateur, who has a patriotic streak as broad as Pennsylvania Avenue. While ghost-writing speeches for Tighe, Boardman organizes a group of gullible people into forming American Patriots, Inc., whose figurehead is an alcoholic reverend who lost an arm in Korea. The novel reveals the cynical methods of setting up such a group and ends on a note of ""irony"" when Boardman is elected to Congress, must marry Tighe's Lesbian granddaughter and loses the girl he loves. Unlike Elmer Gantry, Boardman never believes the nonsense he peddles, and that perhaps is the difference: irony by plot rather than character.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1964
Publisher: St Martin's Press