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Book Review: “While America Slept,” by Robert C. O’Brien

Republican National Lawyers Association

By: Ms. Kimberly Reed

In 1938, Winston S. Churchill published Arms and the Covenant, which had the title While England Slept in the United States. This book, a collection of 41 of Churchill’s speeches spanning the decade known as his “wilderness years,” served as an ominous warning about the coming of World War II. Churchill’s book also inspired Robert C. O’Brien’s just-published While America Slept.

While America Slept is a compilation of 27 of O’Brien’s essays published during the Obama years that focus on national security, the grave challenges that America faces, and what it will take to “restore American leadership to a world in crisis.”

This book is a must-read for any candidate, aspiring future leaders, those interested in an honest, insightful take on foreign policy and national security topics, and, most importantly, those who care about our country. The book covers six key topics: “America 2016 – A Nation in Retreat,” “A Hollow Force?,” “To Rule the Waves,” “China: Red Storm Rising,” “Losing the War on Terror,” and “The Leaders We Require in 2016.”

In While America Slept, O’Brien’s assiduous analyses of President Obama’s isolationist policies, the decline in the nation’s military capability, the rise of China, and the global war on terror, set the stage for his strategic and sound recommendations for the next president. The essays also are personalized, making the book’s high-level points relatable to diverse audiences. For example, in “Welcome to the UNGA,” which was published in 2010 at the opening of the 65th United National General Assembly, O’Brien cites his thirteen-year-old son Robert Christopher who states that “the thing is starting when all the dictators come to America and give speeches about how bad we are.” O’Brien, an accomplished diplomat, found this to be one of the “better descriptions” of UNGA, and goes on to provide candid details of how the United States operates in the world today.

In the preface, O’Brien notes that “[i]n 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president and our country and the world witnessed a rebirth of freedom that many believed they would never see.” O’Brien is “confident that the United States of America will make another such comeback—and that it will be soon.” Let us hope that O’Brien’s prediction comes true. With the 2016 presidential election shortly upon us, the world’s 7.6 billion pairs of eyes are closely watching to see whether America will choose to continue to sleep or if she will be awakened from her slumber, especially after being motivated by O’Brien’s While America Slept. While America Slept By Robert C. O’Brien 170 pp. Encounter Books. $23.99. Kimberly Reed is Co-Chair of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

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