I just finished reading the book Expatriates by James Wesley, Rawles and I was not disappointed. In fact, this is my new favorite Rawles novel. It is not only entertaining, but informative as well. This is not the first JWR novel that I have read (they were all good) but Expatriates clearly demonstrates what I believe to be his best writing and a great amount of research to develop such intricate details throughout the book.
In previous installments of JWR’s writing, I was somewhat conflicted by the fact that the story was often broken up with the explanation of what the characters had done to prep or were doing to survive. Don’t get me wrong, the additional details are what makes his novels very helpful and they would lose some value if those facts were missing. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that Expatriates seems to be a great balance of the helpful preparedness facts that are reminiscent of a JWR novel with a story that flows nicely.
The story of Expatriates is unique because it tells the story of a missionary family in the Philippines and a petroleum engineer in Australia, all Americans, and their struggles as they find themselves outside the United States during a major socioeconomic meltdown. Away from their family and systems of support at home, the Jeffords (missionary family) and Chuck Nolan (petroleum engineer) are forced to not only endure the fallout of the socioeconomic meltdown (referred to as the “Crunch” in Expatriates), but the ensuing power grab that is carried out by the newly radicalized Islamic government in Indonesia. It is not the typical “defend the homestead” type of post-apocalyptic thriller.
While a fictional account, Expatriates also gives the reader a good account of what guerrilla warfare is all about and what the actions of a few can actually accomplish. This is why, as a conventional force, we have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan for years without “winning” these wars. But even as the Guerrilla forces fight against an oppressive Islamic army, there is plenty of knowledge to be gleaned from the experiences that the characters in Expatriates go through. It is a great demonstration in the power and importance of community and relationship building. Without the relationships that were formed in the story, the outcome would have been very different.
Not only did I enjoy the story, I appreciated the various quotes that were printed at the beginning of each chapter. Here are two of my favorites:
Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers, and rapists, and even more so for policeman, bureaucrats, and politicians.
- Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith, Hope, 2001
The more I learn about people and society the more I love guns and explosives. Guns and explosives are more understandable, more predictable, and less hazardous.
-Joe Huffman, in his blog The View from North Central Idaho
This first quote represents one of the ways in which some of the world’s most well known dictators have risen to power. The second quote I like because it is true.
The bottom line is that Expatriates was a great read that I could not put down. It was entertaining, informative, and thought provoking. You will not be disappointed. If you have read any of James Wesley, Rawles novels, you will love Expatriates. If you like the post-apocalytic thriller genre, you should read this book. It is available online and from most major book retailers.
Other fiction titles from James Wesley, Rawles include:
And the soon to be released:
In addition to these titles, JWR also has two great non-fiction books which are a great resource to either establish or grow your preparedness efforts. They are: