Robert D. Mather, Ph.D.

The Conservative Social Psychology Blog
Review of "Collapse"

Here I will review the fourth book in Kurt Schlichter’s series of Kelly Turnbull political action novels. You can read my reviews of the first book here (Review of “People’s Republic”), of the second book here (Review of “Indian Country”), and of the third book here (Review of “Wildfire”). Written in 2019, the fourth book in the series is “Collapse” and follows up on the events in “Wildfire.” Written out of order for the chronology of events, the order of events is “Indian Country,” “People’s Republic,” “Wildfire,” and “Collapse.” All of the books are set in a future where there is a civil war in the United States and the nation splits into two countries along political lines. The People’s Republic is the country formed out of leftist ideology.   


Fittingly, “Collapse” opens with Barack Obama Freeway in Oahu, HI, PR, a looming threat from communist China, and Mazie Hirono Road. In the United States, the Thirty-Second Amendment requires US military service of two years by the age of 30 in order to earn citizenship, voting rights, and the ability to hold public office. Senator Nick Searcy is a leader in the Conservative Party, which is more conservative than the Republican Party, and the US Vice-President is Ric Grinnell.


There is a high-stakes race to disable a key aircraft carrier and a cool Supermax prison in Colorado. There is also a little “Glengarry Glen Ross” reference, which is the hallmark of a good book. Turnbull’s early adventures take him to Tijuana, San Diego, and the San Diego Zoo which no longer holds animals.


Once again writing prophetically in 2019 (given the recent liberal response to the COVID pandemic), Schlichter set a scene where a woman coughs on a bus and gets kicked off by a People’s Security Force officer when another woman screams “Health criminal! Health crime!” (p. 91). There is Jimmy Carter People’s Navy Base, Camp Rashida Talib, Antifa Monument, a glimpse into the realities of calling up reservists, The Gavin Newsom Freeway, Old Camp Pendleton in San Diego, and SoFi Stadium having turned into Maxine Waters Pavilion of Social Justice. There is also the Conservative Party congresswoman from PA Taylor Swift, Prime Minister of Sweden for Life Greta Thunberg, and perhaps my favorite character of the series so far, Ross Warren the demolition man.


The details of the Charlie Company, 5th Battalion, 327th Parachute Infantry were stunning. Schlichter provides a vivid description of the sensory experience of being a paratrooper preparing to drop into combat and the experience of doing so.


Also prophetic given the recent public school, school board, and parent conflicts across the nation this past year over COVID protocols and Critical Race Theory indoctrination, Schlichter wrote of a teacher in the People’s Republic “She had learned that slogan at a recent teacher’s workshop. Her school did not actually have classes anymore – every day was a workshop about combatting privilege or economic fairness or the need to stamp out gender boundaries” (p. 242)

There is a dramatic battle towards the end of the book that takes characters with whom the readers have become attached and shows the brutality of war and how the good guys don’t always make it home. I won’t give anything away, but the last few chapters were edge-of-your-seat-can’t-put-it-down exciting with an extremely satisfying ending.


As characteristic of Schlichter’s fiction writing there are no wasted words, no wasted time, and no superfluous character development or unnecessary exploration of feelings and emotions. Every word has a purpose and every word fulfills its mission.


The Turnbull books aren’t for everyone. I can easily picture Bill Kristol crying while reading “Collapse,” traumatized by the violence, wiping away his tears and being emotionally moved to sign up for citizenship with the People’s Republic while empathetic to Martin Rios-Parkinson’s character. I look forward to fact checkers determining that last statement as true, as with the next one: “Crisis” is another home run for Kurt Schlichter in the Kelly Turnbull series.


His new book “The Split” comes out this week on July 22nd, 2021.


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