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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Book Review - 'Wolverines: Reflections on Red Dawn' by Ryan Lewellin


Well this is a brief review of the first book that really read this year as the previous book, A Frozen Hell, was about 90% read in 2013.  So in a nutshell, it is interesting and worth a read at least once, especially for the price.  Don't expect earth moving revelations about the movie, even the author will admit to that. 

Without go into a huge review, the author has 23 independent essays that cover various topics about his interpretations for the movie, Red Dawn.  The key thing is to remember that these are independent essays, otherwise it might seem that he is repeating himself at times.  But if one is read the chapters out of order or only to read those that interest the reader, it makes prefect sense why he repeated some things in some the different chapters.  Some of his observations were items I didn't catch before, like early on one of the actors was wearing a Star Wars hat and what it might have meant.  The author comes off as very well read and have watches movie for their content and not some beer drinking hillbilly who thinks Joe Dirt is Oscar material.  So his observations and interpretations are actually pretty meaningful.  I only caught one error in one of the essays, unfortunately I forgot to make a note of where it was, but he accidentally states only one time that it was Toni & Danny that survive the movie, when it was actually Erica & Danny.  But he has it correct every other time in book.  It was clearly an accidental editing error for that one sentence.

For the most part I agree with a lot of his interpretations, but will disagree (partially) in two subjects, that being the Communist invaders were oppressive baddies and about the meanings of needing of armed individuals to secure our freedoms.  Back when I was much younger, I would have agreed with him pretty much without question, now over the years of being jaded and cynical, I would disagree.  Basically, it not because I agree with the Communist invaders cause, but I don't see how they were any more different then some of our own or our allies actions in wars, although he does touch on Col Bella being human and sort of touches on it again about the invaders as a whole in another essay.  Quite honest, I am more impressed with Red Dawn's image of the invaders or the baddies being humans with different agendas vs the nameless and oppressive baddies in many other movies like Invasion, USA, (1952), War of the Worlds, or Saving Private Ryan for an example. 
If these are the armed individuals that are to resist the Communist invader, all I have to say is "Hello, Comrades!  May I serve you some vodka and put on my Red Elvises' album, 'Russian Bellydance' for you?"
As for the armed individuals, I actually saw it the reverse of when the scene of paratrooper prying the pistol out of the hand of a dead civilian after seeing the jingoistic bumper sticker about how some can take the owners guns away.  I have always seen the rights to bear arms by the individuals as needing to be well-regulated and trained, much in the line of the Minutemen or Alarm Companies of the 1700's or Switzerland today, or even the small mid-western towns' bank robbers reaction posses of the 1920s-30s, for the lack of better terms for them (if you would like to know more, I can type up a brief entry about that).  If an individual wants to keep military grade firearms, they must be regulated and trained, as a militia and be prepared to be called out to assist the government as needed.  But by not being regulated, the individuals can not be expected to be of any use to maintaining freedom or society (I am also lumping survivalists and what is called 'militias' today in with this).  By not have a regulated militia of citizens there was no serious threat to invaders, but just some untrained loser that dies alone. 

Anyways,  I enjoyed it and it is worth a read.

As a special treat, I am adding a YouTube clip of the Red Elvises' hit, "I Want To See Your Bellydance"



tim said...

Thanks for posting this review, Joe. I might actually check it out.

Anibal Invictus said...

Difficult for this European to understand the right to use weapons. It seems like a State failing to provide security to its citizens, or in other works, a failed State. Don't want to créate any controversy, but this is how many people see the issue from the other side of the pond

combatcolours said...

Like the photo of the 'heavy infantry' on the hunt for commie squirrels!
'leave no man behind' would be a bit of a challenge for this crew -knowing where I speak as I pat my belly!
"Red Dawn" is definitly a guilty pleasure for me a quite a few others.
And I understand the comments from across the pond, grappling with personal "rights" vs the public safety is a big issue which has yet to be truly and rationally discussed in the States -we apparently prefer to shout down any opposition to our beliefs while little kids get shot in schools...sad situation.

Sapper Joe said...


As what CombatColours said, it is a subject over here that you can rarely, if ever, have a truly rational discussion about without someone on either side, or both sides, get into a shout down match. Don’t worry about being too controversial by asking a question, I like having rational discussions.

Oddly enough, both sides are normally proud of our country/government (when their respective political party is in charged), and both sides believe that we are a failed state when the opposing political party is in charged. Both sides feel that we are an angel’s breath away from total anarchy and have their own ideas of how to protect our families. Maybe we are, but I am pretty sure that we are not anywhere near that without a major outside event (i.e., lose 20+% of our gasoline production in one fatal swoop).

So getting back to your question, just about everyone over here feels we are in a failed state depending on which political party is in control. People like me are every rare who are actually both for and against gun control by making it more regulated. I guess I should give you brief background of me to understand how I came to my logic. I use to be a member of the NRA, but not anymore. I was a NRA rifle instructor at the age of 16 and also taught at a rifle range. I continued to be an instructor for both rifles and pistol for the next 7 years, mostly at a public college range. I was also an instructor/trainer for the National Guard for several more years as well. During that time, I had seen or met some people whom should never have been allowed anywhere within a mile of a firearm of them. I honestly cannot tell you how many times I have almost been shot or had a loaded firearm pointed at me because they were mentally defective. Off the top of my head, I think it the answer is 2 and 40+, respectfully.


Sapper Joe said...


Also, those numbers I gave is excluding my time with the army in Honduras, because those people were trying to kill or wound me and not being mentally defective.


timmy! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
timmy! said...

Trying this again with the picture.

You can even see the effects and the influence this movie has had on some of the soldiers who fought in Iraq.

It has made a lasting impression and most likely fueled the "preppers" in America today.