Tuesday, 21 August 2018

#BlogTour The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott

It's my turn on the BlogTour for The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott. It's a clever little tongue-in-cheek political thriller with a very poignant message.

About the Author
Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye's Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.

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Buy The Benevolent Dictator

About the book
Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.

Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.

Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.

Ben is a boy, filled with the naiveté of a well-educated young man, who believes he can change centuries of oppression merely by being present. No different from any other idealist or any other young person, who has yet to comprehend that the world does not revolve around his or her persona, desires and expectations in life.

Ben inadvertently ends up in the middle of a contentious political skirmish merely because his uni friend asks him to become his political advisor, and a friend in the midst of a nest of vipers.

There is an interesting TV series, which mirrors the true life events of a certain dictator and his son. A son who was raised and schooled amongst the most elite of the British regime. When said son returns with his democratic upbringing and thought processes he plans to change his country and the autocratic rule they have lived under for many decades. What happens instead is that the man raised with western values slowly but surely morphs into his own cultural values and into the dictator his father was before him.

Bearing in mind how different and complex the Western democracy is from non-democratic countries, it is almost colonial thinking that presumes to change these existing systems merely based on the audacity and presumptuous attitude of democracies deciding they need to change every country to reflect their values.

Not that I don't wish human, civil, basic rights and equal opportunities and safety for all genders in every country, it is just unrealistic and very Victorian to push it on unwilling populations, especially when there is a basic lack of understanding of different cultures.

Although Amal may have the best intentions he lacks the experience to comprehend the intricate political scheming going on around him and behind him. Lacking the objectivity and refusing to believe his situation as the heir is anything other than set in stone and tenable, he ignores the machinations going on around him.

Trott gives an accurate representation of why the democratic countries who think they can save countries under dictatorships or communist regimes either fail or end up making the situation worse. There is a lack of basic understanding of non-Western cultures. In this sense Ben represents the countries, who end up chasing their tail or being helicoptered out of war skirmishes, and leaving the stirred pot to their own devices and demise.

The title Benevolent Dictator is of course a paradox. A dictator is by virtue of the fact he or she decides everything for all of their people regardless of whether they like it or not, never benevolent. It's a clever little tongue-in-cheek political thriller with a very poignant message.

Buy The Benevolent Dictator at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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