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2034 cover art

2034

By: Elliot Ackerman,Admiral James Stavridis
Narrated by: Emily Woo Zeller,P.J. Ochlan,Vikas Adam,Dion Graham,Feodor Chin
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Summary

From two former military officers and award-winning authors, a chillingly authentic geopolitical thriller that imagines a naval clash between the US and China in the South China Sea in 2034 - and the path from there to a nightmarish global conflagration.

On March 12, 2034, US Navy Commodore Sarah Hunt is on the bridge of her flagship, the guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones, conducting a routine freedom of navigation patrol in the South China Sea when her ship detects an unflagged trawler in clear distress, smoke billowing from its bridge. On that same day, US Marine aviator Major Chris "Wedge" Mitchell is flying an F35E Lightning over the Strait of Hormuz, testing a new stealth technology as he flirts with Iranian airspace. By the end of that day, Wedge will be an Iranian prisoner, and Sarah Hunt's destroyer will lie at the bottom of the sea, sunk by the Chinese Navy. Iran and China have clearly coordinated their moves, which involve the use of powerful new forms of cyber weaponry that render US ships and planes defenseless. In a single day, America's faith in its military's strategic pre-eminence is in tatters. A new, terrifying era is at hand.

So begins a disturbingly plausible work of speculative fiction, co-authored by an award-winning novelist and decorated Marine veteran and the former commander of NATO, a legendary admiral who has spent much of his career strategically outmaneuvering America's most tenacious adversaries. Written with a powerful blend of geopolitical sophistication and human empathy, 2034 takes us inside the minds of a global cast of characters - Americans, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, Indians - as a series of arrogant miscalculations on all sides leads the world into an intensifying international storm. In the end, China and the United States will have paid a staggering cost, one that forever alters the global balance of power. 

Everything in 2034 is an imaginative extrapolation from present-day facts on the ground combined with the authors' years working at the highest and most classified levels of national security. Sometimes it takes a brilliant work of fiction to illuminate the most dire of warnings: 2034 is all too close at hand, and this cautionary tale presents the listener a dark yet possible future that we must do all we can to avoid.

* This audiobook edition includes an exclusive interview with co-author Admiral James Stavridis.

©2021 Elliot Ackerman and Admiral James Stavridis (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“It is hard to write in great detail about what ensues in this novel without giving away the drama of its denouement. Suffice it to say that there is conflict and catastrophe on a large scale, and it unfolds, as major conflicts tend to, with surprising twists and turns.... The strengths of the novel are anything but incidental to the background of one of its authors, Adm. Stavridis, a former destroyer and carrier strike group commander who retired from the Navy in 2013 as NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.... Adm. Stavridis not only understands how naval fleets work; he has clearly given a great deal of thought to America’s biggest strategic risks, and at the top of the list is war with China, which, as this book seems designed to point out, could occur quite by accident and at almost any time.... One of the messages of this book is that war is utterly unpredictable and that opportunist adversaries of the U.S. are likely to play important roles in any widening confrontation.... 2034 is nonetheless full of warnings. Foremost is that war with China would be folly, with no foreseeable outcome and disaster for all. This is not a pessimistic book about America’s potential, but the picture of the world it paints before the central conflict will be a difficult one for many to accept, albeit one well supported by facts.” (Wall Street Journal)

"An unnerving and fascinating tale of a future.... The book serves as a cautionary tale to our leaders and national security officials, while also speaking to a modern truth about arrogance and our lack of strategic foresight.... The novel is an enjoyable and swiftly paced but important read.” (The Hill

“This crisply written and well-paced book reads like an all-caps warning for a world shackled to the machines we carry in our pockets and place on our laps, while only vaguely understanding how the information stored in and shared by those devices can be exploited.... In 2034, it’s as if Ackerman and Stavridis want to grab us by our lapels, give us a slap or two, and scream: Pay attention! George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-four: A Novel was published 35 years before 1984. Ackerman’s and Stavridis’s book takes place in the not-so-distant future when today’s high school military recruits will just be turning 30.” (The Washington Post

What listeners say about 2034

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  • 06-02-24

Too simplistic

It is hard to review this book without giving spoilers but it is written from the perspective of senior personnel who are decision implementers not decision makers and they taking their initiative in multiple cases just makes things worse. There is little or no reference or analysis of either the decision makers or the general population where millions are impacted and the global situation totally changes. A great opportunity squandered

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  • 01-12-23

Bland

I found this very difficult to get into, the story was fragmented and jumped around making it hard to follow.

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Very thought provoking

I wonder how many of us trust our government. I certainly don’t.
This book needs to more publicity.
I will certainly recommend it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

Rather underwhelming, caught between the two stools of character-based fiction and analysis and falling short at both.

The handful of fairly shallow characters who are coincidentally at the centre of multiple major events wasn’t convincing.

From the geopolitical perspective it started fairly well but became progressively less plausible, from a former supreme allied commander of NATO it’s astonishing how little consideration was given to Europe and Russia beyond the flimsiest mention of the Suwalki Gap. It reverts to a lazy ‘America alone’ trope, ignoring its allies.

The rabbit in a hat emergence of India was just silly, China and India share an enormous border where they frequently clash, to assume Chinese intelligence wouldn’t have a grasp of their capabilities is nonsense.

The voice cast was really pretty good so a bonus star for that. I would recommend Ghost Fleet as an alternative, not perfect but covers similar ground with a little more breadth.

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Total garbage

The narrator voices are annoying and the book is not believable, don't waste 9 hours of your life you will not get back!! You have been warned.

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Interesting book

Interesting book, for sure. I am no expert on the subject, but I suspect that it is based on a realistic threat. Even if it is not, it still is an interesting read.

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A war story with no war?

Every time the novel gets to the fighting it stops and moves to the next part of the plot. A hundred ships sunk, aircraft and land forces. There but no details, few characters. International politics aplenty, but not much interest to me. It’s like watching a sports event where you are only shown the numeric results. I would not recommend this book as a war novel but an international political thriller. The writing is okay but the subject is dull to this reader.

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    1 out of 5 stars

Implausible premise. Implausible details.

This book, written by ex-military officers has plausibility and a realistic premise as its main selling points. It has neither.
If there was ever any intention to present a likely future scenario, then that idea went in the bin fairly early on.
Any fule kno that its possible to fly an F/A-18C on its Inertial Navigation System, without reference to GPS or any external system and get reasonably accurate navigation and targeting. As for a cyber attack completely immobilizing an entire US carrier group (submarines and all?) don't get me started....

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Total fiction

Boring and fiction. Focus on super america whos bomging china with 70 year old airplanes. J20bs would never allow for any american missions close to china.

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not Worth the time

the story is thin. i listen through it and I rater have not wasted the time.

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