17

The novel is set in 1984 or 1986, something like that, and it was written in the 1970s I think, maybe a touch earlier. I read it in 1981 or so. The book seems geared to what would now be YA, though back then I don't think they had that.

The US is ruled by a dictatorship. People are kept in line by these crews of people who come to your house and basically ransack the place, as a way of intimidating folks as they arrest someone (it's actually pretty clever as an idea; it tells people you have control and can do whatever you want to them, and not dissimilar to the way some local authorities operate).

The protagonist is one of those guys, he's a home-wrecker but he has a conscience and there's this scene at the start where a woman has a picture that he opts not to break.

Kids in schools are asked to race each other, or take part in athletic events, and the ones who don't pass are sent away to camps and nobody seems to know what happens to them.

The protagonist links up with a group of revolutionaries (of course!) but this group seems more subtle than most, I don't recall any big final battle.

There's a character named Raph(ael) who is the big revolutionary leader of sorts.

One part of the premise -- the scene I remember, anyway -- is the President burning copies of the Constitution and saying they don't need it anymore, it's antiquated, or something.

One part of the novel involves the aforementioned athletic events -- there's a family that knows their kid won't "pass" and is upset so they are trying to save him from whatever fate happens to the kids taken away.

There's no weird technology in the book, it's all stuff that would be perfectly plausible ca. 1975.

If this sounds familiar to anyone, let me know. I seem t recall the title as something like "Don't go to Sleep" or something like, but no dice on a library search. I could be completely missing that one.

6

From some Worldcat Research this sounds like the 1971 novel Sleep Two, Three, Four! by John Neufeld.

This is a story of the future of violence and dissent, of Maturity Centers that once were called colleges, of a dedicated and idealistic nation's sleepy drift into an alien and terrifying political system. The time is 1983, The country is the United States of America, and six young people - pursued by Army helicopters, bloodhounds, and a President who seems to be everywhere - join an embryonic underground to fight to totalitarianism in their country.

Additional detail at: Avon Book Description

Points that match are below.

Cover is:

Cover

"The novel is set in 1984 or 1986, something like that"

Check: Novel is set in 1983

"and it was written in the 1970s I think"

Check: Written 1971

The book seems geared to what would now be YA, though back then I don't think they had that.

Check: Per Worldbook site the novel is classified as Juvenile fiction:: Sleep two, three, four! : a political thriller / John Neufeld; Ginger Giles 1971 1st ed. English Book Book : Fiction : Juvenile audience 201 pages ; 22 cm New York : Harper & Row, ; ISBN: 0060243783 9780060243784

The US is ruled by a dictatorship.

Check: Given timing of being in the early 1970s Spiro Agnew is tagged a villain in this.

Kids in schools are asked to race each other, or take part in athletic events, and the ones who don't pass are sent away to camps and nobody seems to know what happens to them.

Check: In the novel the colleges are now considered "Maturity Centers"

The protagonist links up with a group of revolutionaries (of course!) but this group seems more subtle than most, I don't recall any big final battle.

Check: It is actually a group of young adults that are fleeing from the government.

One part of the premise -- the scene I remember, anyway -- is the President burning copies of the Constitution and saying they don't need it anymore, it's antiquated, or something.

Check. The constitution has been "suspended"

One part of the novel involves the aforementioned athletic events -- there's a family that knows their kid won't "pass" and is upset so they are trying to save him from whatever fate happens to the kids taken away.

Check: "any children deemed as "sub-normal" or posessing "pre-criminal personalities" are shipped off to labor camps."

  • Glad to be of assistance. – beichst Jun 28 '16 at 1:06

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