Rumsfeld satirized in dark novel from McSweeney's
He’s been out of office for four years but, as a caustic new novel shows, Donald Rumsfeld still has the power to raise the ire of those on the political left. “Donald,” a work of fiction, lampoons the former defense secretary’s memoir “Known and Unknown.” The parody will be released on Feb. 8, the same day as the real-life Rumsfeld’s work. And while the two share a similar cover — a confident-looking Rumsfeld standing against the backdrop of commanding mountains — it shouldn’t be hard to spot the satire: Rumsfeld is wearing an orange prison jumpsuit reminiscent of a Guantanamo Bay detainee.
According to its publisher McSweeney’s, “Donald” asks the question:
What would happen if Donald Rumsfeld, former defense secretary and architect of the war on terror, was abducted at night from his Maryland home, held without charges in his own prison system, denied a trial, and kept in a place where no one could find him, beyond the reach of the law? Donald is a high-wire allegory that answers this question, in equal parts breakneck thriller and gradual descent into madness…[It is] a novel rooted in the harrowing stories of real people caught in America’s disastrous military campaigns.
Though a satire, many people will find no humor here -- this is a dark, angry novel. As satire often does, the book goes to extremes to bring home its points.
It opens with Rumsfeld reading in a library. He is soon confronted by an angry young man that questions the way military prisoners were treated while he was secretary of defense. Two chapters later, several men break into Rumsfeld’s house and threaten to kill his sleeping wife if he opens his mouth. The intruders then wrap his head in a hood, cut off his clothes, put him in a diaper, and inject him with something that makes him pass out. He awakes handcuffed in a strange room.
A similar publishing event occurred in 2009 when Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue: An American Life” was released. The spoof “Going Rouge: An American Nightmare” hit shelves the same day. That book, however, was a collection of essays by writers who examined her time in Alaska and effect on the Republican Party.
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