The Tulsa Beacon Newspaper calls The Last American President a "Must Read"! - May 14, 2015
Alan Cassell, a wrong side of the tracks boy from a broken home in Pittsburg, Kansas, and the beautiful Kate Fogarty who was from a wealthy family in Wichita were an unlikely couple.
They were even less likely to rise to the top of American politics. You will fall in love with them as they fall for each other. However, as they rise politically they grow apart personally. At a pivotal moment when Alan feels like everyone else had betrayed him, he discovers that even Kate had been unfaithful to him. This destroys Alan politically and contributes to the destruction of the United States of America.
Told from the perspective of friend and informal advisor, Archer Adams, The Last American President is a story that puts the emphasis on the human joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs, faith and betrayals of the last American President. It is a human drama, in a political setting, with bipartisan appeal.
The Last American President is a character driven story which all Americans will find to be a cautionary tale, Nonetheless, it presents a hopeful view of American life and what it means to be an American.
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Listen to Richard Engle as he speaks about The Last American President on the radio with Bob Burns in Your Afternoon.`
Richard Engle speaks about The Last American President with African American Conservatives.`
Review of The Last American President by Bob Burke for The Oklahoman
If you have grown weary of the rhetoric of the presidential campaign, but enjoy the intrigue of presidential politics, an Oklahoma City author has filled the void. The Last American President (Bell West America, 253 pages, $28.95) by Richard Engle is a detailed, behind-the-scenes novel of political campaigns, including a run for the presidency by the governor of Kansas. The book also is filled with thought-provoking warnings of the potential destruction of the United States resulting from bad policy choices in the national government. Engle, a longtime Oklahoma Republican consultant and conservative activist, relates the story of President Alan Cassel from the perspective of the President’s friend and informal kitchen cabinet adviser. The author draws you into the story from the Prologue as the President’s friend answers questions from his granddaughter about his life. The third-party telling of the story is very effective and allows the friend to not just report the President’s actions, but analyze those actions from his viewpoint. The friend can make judgment calls based upon his real time observations.
There is plenty of romance as the future President grows up poor in Kansas, falls in love with a rich girl, and is elected governor of Kansas. Against the background of many states being fed up with the actions of the federal government, presidential debates feature warnings that Hawaii and other states are thinking about declaring their independence. Such actions are unthinkable for us who have grown up with a UNITED STATES, but the author’s complex scenes reflect the views of many Americans who have recently expressed their distaste of Washington, D.C.
You may not agree even with a majority of the concepts the author puts forth from the lips of the characters. But, the book certainly will whet your appetite for debate over states’ rights and the role of a federal government. Members of all parties and independents will enjoy the well-written dialogue of love, debate, betrayal, and political blackmail. The idea, even in a novel, that the states would become independent and divide up the national debt is worrisome, although that is what the original Articles of Confederation created after America won its independence from Great Britain.
You can’t read this book over a weekend because of the complex plot and changing settings. Occasionally, I had to lay it aside for a day to reflect upon the state of present affairs and the seemingly great divide among the electorate of the country. But the novel certainly made me think about the future. As Francis Bacon wrote, “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” This is one of the latter.
Bob Burke for The Oklahoman