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INTERVIEW: Author Brad Thor Talks Act of War … and Culture War

July 16th, 2014 - 11:42 am

Brad Thor, bestselling author of 13 military thrillers and an unabashed conservative, is currently touring the country to promote his latest: Act of War. I caught up with him to discuss the inspiration for the book — in promotional material, he mentioned his desire to explore the Marcus Luttrell tragedy — and to have him share his thoughts from the tip of the spear of the culture war. 

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Steinberg: You’re not overtly political in the book, you don’t refer to liberals or conservatives, the words “Democrat” and “Republican” don’t appear in the book, but you certainly come away with a strong message about which orientation has their facts right in terms of national security. Do you have a prime motivation of shaping the culture, or are you focused on writing excellent military thrillers?

Thor: Yes, it’s important that we start from the beginning, which is first and foremost that I am an entertainer, David. I would never open a deli that says no blacks, no Jews, no gays, no libertarians, no Republicans. I would never hang a sign on my business — I’m a small-business owner — that says this group is not invited. That’s number one.

Number two, do I have a particular view of the world, of what I think is successful and what history has proven successful? Yes, I do. I write political thrillers, so politics are part of the thrillers, and it just so happens that certain political parties have certain ideals. I’m not going to hide it — I’m a conservative through and through.

I’m in the business of making money, not necessarily statements, with the books. Can you find a particular point of view in certain characters in the books? Absolutely. Now those particular opinions matter in D.C., and those opinions are prevalent in the military and other spots in the intelligence world. The same problems we have battling liberal ideology in social media and the popular culture, that battle exists in the intelligence world, it exists in the military world. That is the great clash of ideas — what ideas are going to advance our republic. Is it liberalism, is it conservatism, is it something else?

I would be derelict in my duty of writing authentic political thrillers if I didn’t put those ideas on the field of battle, and allow everyone to sit back with me and watch how they play out.

Steinberg: The big reveals, the big plot turns in the book, you are pulling them precisely from present day news. Now, it’s not the Law and Order example, where they draw from some event that occured that isn’t necessarily political, and just go from there. What I see in Act of War is, you’re taking the news of the day, the policies of the current administration, and then you try to nail exactly how those policies are affecting national security personnel.

Thor: My job as a thriller writer is to beat the headlines.

I want you to read one of my books, and first and foremost be entertained, say “wow, that was a great thriller.” But I want you to close the book a little bit better informed, maybe with some questions of your own.

One of the nicest emails I get from readers is when someone says “wow, I read your thrillers with my laptop open” — I like to call my style “faction,” David — the nicest emails are when people say “I like to read your thrillers with my laptop open because I don’t know where the facts end and the fiction begins.”

Yes, it’s not Law and Order. I’m not taking a case that already happened. What I’m doing is looking at the state of affairs. I wrote this book over the last year, so I was sitting at my laptop back then, thinking: “Where are we going to be a year from now? How do I make this book as current as possible when it comes out? How do I write a book 12 months before it comes out and make sure that its current?”

So there’s a lot of trying to peer over the horizon and read the tea leaves. You know, I nailed the whole NSA thing before Snowden in my book Blacklist.

In my book The First Commandment, on page one, it’s not four high-value Guantanamo detainees we swapped, its not six, it’s five, exactly five, on page one of the First Commandment. (Ed. note: I checked up on this. Whoa.)

So I pride myself on being able to beat the headlines, and I do that by just being a voracious consumer of the culture, the news, I watch Washington. I’m saying to myself “history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes,” and history is a good guide of where we’re headed because people ignore it.

Steinberg: If PJM readers aren’t familiar with your background: you’ve done precisely this in a more clandestine manner before, correct? You’ve worked with the Department of Homeland Security.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Pretty smart if you value principle over identity.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very astute remarks on the politics. And I appreciate his understanding that legal and moral are not the same thing. (By the way, it is a horrible thing that every once in while we have a President, be it a Clinton or an Obama, who destroys the morale of the common soldier.)

Personally, the one thing that makes me question whether that the US will return to its place in the sun is the (approaching) 50% illegitimacy rate. Given that we are not generally talking about common-law relationships, but broken families, semi-families, and non-families, I'm not sure any country could survive that. Perhaps welfare reform is the most important national defense issue the US has.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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21 weeks ago Link To Comment
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21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've read all Thor's books and have loved every single one of them! I recommend them as a great read to all my friends. The negative comments I read here are obviously from leftist trolls.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
Awesome interview!
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Hey, We have three Brad Thor books on our shelve- all hardbound!- because a woman hosting a New Year's party said that he was her favorite author- and her husband's favorite author. They were two very different personalities, but both amazing, good, thoughtful, literate people. I picked one up the next time I saw one- and I was hooked.

They are really entertaining. He talks about realism- okay, yeah, very realistic- but WOW! super-thrilling, very entertaining- highly recommended by me.

22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Brad Thor grouses about the Left, grouses about Democrats, but attacks Republicans and the Republican Party. How smart is that?
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very smart right up until the end of the primary.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pretty smart if you value principle over identity.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment

It is quite simple to determine if a country can come back; the status and strength of its currency and banking system. Once a country loses control of its own currency, there is no coming back. There is only managing a kinder, gentler collapse.
When President Nixon, Kissinger and associates created Petro-Dollar system it also set timer ticking to collapse of USD. For a time it was a very profitable arrangement; the USA received hard asset in form of Petroleum for paper it was printing at will.
However the USA was exporting inflation to the rest of the world, this arrangement cannot last. The fact BRIC nations are creating their own IMF and World Bank to isolate damage USD has been leaving in its wake indicates the end is near for USD and as result USA as we know it.
Good writing in these books, very entertaining and thought provoking.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very astute remarks on the politics. And I appreciate his understanding that legal and moral are not the same thing. (By the way, it is a horrible thing that every once in while we have a President, be it a Clinton or an Obama, who destroys the morale of the common soldier.)

Personally, the one thing that makes me question whether that the US will return to its place in the sun is the (approaching) 50% illegitimacy rate. Given that we are not generally talking about common-law relationships, but broken families, semi-families, and non-families, I'm not sure any country could survive that. Perhaps welfare reform is the most important national defense issue the US has.
22 weeks ago
22 weeks ago Link To Comment
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