Monday, February 25, 2013

Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

”AgendaAgenda 21
by Glenn Beck
narrated by January LaVoy

Copyright: 2012 Simon & Schuster Audio
Duration: 8 hours, 35 minutes unabridged
Genres: science fiction, dystopia
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: Just a generation ago this place was called America. Now, after the worldwide implementation of UN-lead program called Agenda 21, it's simply known as the 'Republic'. There is no president. No congress. No Supreme Court. No freedom.

There are only the Authorities.

Citizens have two primary goals in the new Republic: to create clean energy and to create new human life.

Those who cannot do either are of no use to society.

This bleak and barren existence is all that 18-year-old Emmeline has ever known. She dutifully walks her energy board daily and accepts all male pairings assigned to her by the Authorities. Like most citizens, she keeps her head down and her eyes closed.

Until the day they came for her mother.

Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family's future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth?

As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21, she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic - but is she already too late?

©2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc. (P)2012 Mercury Radio Arts, Inc.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Have you ever sat back and thought about the different ways we might solve the energy problems facing our world? We all know that the majority of our energy comes from the burning of coal and oil and other non-renewable sources. We also know that sooner or later those sources will run out. Sure, there are better alternatives like solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal, but so far no one has been able to make those options cost-effective.

In Agenda 21, Glenn Beck has come up with some interesting new sources of clean energy, namely the people themselves. Each home is equipped with something like a treadmill. People walk on the treadmill each day and the energy it creates helps to power the city. Beck went on to create special bicycles that people use for transportation. As you ride your bike it stores the energy, probably in some type of battery, and when you get home you plug it in to a device that transfers that energy into the city stores. Not only are you solving the energy problem, you’re keeping your citizens fit at the same time. Healthier citizens will lead happier and more productive lives leaving them better able to create more clean energy. It’s a win-win situation. But then things went a little too far.

Beck drops us into his already established world but through flashback scenes fills us in on how the world came to be the way it is. He provides us with vignettes that show how the government gradually took supreme control, first moving everyone into compounds and then taking away their freedoms one by one. The treadmills and bikes weren’t just for those who wanted to help out, they were mandatory for all citizens. Citizens who could not produce energy were taken away and never seen again. Churches were eliminated and the only worship allowed was worship of the new Republic. People were no longer able to choose their own mates, the all-powerful Republic paired them up and soon even child raising was taken over. It was all in the name of progress of course but as the government gradually clamped down on society it soon began to resemble a communist or dictatorship society. If you ever read George Orwell’s 1984 and wondered how Big Brother came to be, this is it.

It’s a scary look at one possible future for us and I liked a lot of Beck’s ideas. I was a little put off by how slowly the story developed. I could feel something coming, a buildup of tensions as the citizens became more discontent, and more rumors of conflict outside the compound trickled in, but the story took a long time to peak and it was kind of anti-climactic when it finally happened. Beck kind of left the story open-ended to a certain extent so maybe he’s planning a follow-up. More than anything,Agenda 21 felt like a lead-in to something bigger.

At the end of the audiobook is a rather lengthy afterword where the author explains how this story came to be. Apparently the United Nations does have something called Agenda 21 and this story is Beck’s idea of where it might lead if it is ever acted on. Overall, the afterword was long and boring and I didn’t listen to all of it.

Narrator January LaVoy didn’t do a bad job, but she didn’t exactly wow me. When I listened to her read, the image that came to mind was of a mother reading to a small child. Main character Emmeline is a young woman in her late teens. She is paired by the Republic and has a baby, but LaVoy read her parts in kind of a little-girl voice that really didn’t fit. She did, however, try to use different voices for different characters, which I appreciate. LaVoy is most recognized for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the daytime drama One Life to Live.

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Special thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for this review copy.
Audiobook review by Steven Brandt.
This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook.
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