Jingo (1997) by Terry Pratchett

jingoism, an attitude of belligerent nationalism, or a blind adherence to the rightness or virtue of one’s own nation, society, or group, simply because it is one’s own. 

Encyclopedia Britannica

Discworld Novel No. 21

It has been a while since I read a Discworld story. Some years ago, I went through a Terry Pratchett reading phase. I started reading the Discworld series in order and got as far as Book 12 Witches Abroad. (I have reviews of Pyramids and Witches Abroad on this blog.) Being a big fan of Sam Vimes, I’ve also read the City Watch books Men At Arms (Book 15) and Feet of Clay (Book 19). Jingo is another City Watch book, and I’ve had it on my kindle for a while. After a rather “heavy” reading experience involving Neal Stephenson, I fancied something light and easy.

Josh Kirby’s brilliant cover art

Jingo tells the story of a recently discovered island halfway between Ankh-Morpork and Al Khali, the capital city of Klatch. The island is quickly “claimed” by each country due to its strategic importance. Following this, in Ankh-Morpork there is an assasination attempt on a visiting Klatchian prince. This worrying event causes the two countries to break off diplomatic relations and the Klatchian prince’s brother issues a declaration of war. It’s not looking good for Ankh-Morpork as they seem to be lacking both an army and a navy. Can Commander Vimes and the City Watch save the day?

This was a breath of fresh air and reminded me–yet again–to read more Pratchett. The Discworld books are funny but there is so much more to them than just the silly humour. Sir Terry was a brilliant satirist and used the Discworld books to make cutting yet painfully funny observations on humanity and everything that goes with it. Yes, the stories are entertaining but they are also insightful and wise.

“It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us.”

Jingo points out the ridiculousness inherent in two countries fighting over a small piece of land which neither can truly lay claim to. When you stop and think about it, this idea that a country can claim a section of land “belongs” to them is absurd. Picture this scenario:

“This land is ours.”
“What? Why?”
“Because we stuck our flag in it first. And we will fight to keep it. So you better scram!”

In Jingo, Pratchett also lays his satirical eye on topics such as war, racism, immigration, gender roles, Lawrence of Arabia, submarines, leaders, and more. The fact that he can still make the story hilarious, moving and inspiring is a credit to his craft.

There isn’t much more I can add to this review so I will close it here. While Jingo isn’t the greatest book Terry Pratchett wrote, it’s still a very entertaining read in my opinion. I will be reading more Discworld soon. Please let me know which Discworld books you have read or recommend.

As alway, thank you for reading!

-Wakizashi, *enjoying a quiet morning at the JHS; no classes until this afternoon*


15 thoughts on “Jingo (1997) by Terry Pratchett

  1. Pratchett is only a genius if you consider his views on the subject that he so ably satirizes to be correct.

    I always liked the early discworld books better because his targets are very broad and general. I found that the longer the series went on, the more specific he became and the less I agreed with him and thus my enjoyment was curtailed. By the end, I didn’t even read the last couple of books. Sorry to be a downer….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jingo is fun! I’m glad you liked it, Wakizashi, and will be looking forward to reading about your next adventures in Discworld! I’ll be very curious to know what you’ll think of Small Gods! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Vimes is such a great character. I always enjoy the stories he is in. I ordered a hardback copy of Reaper Man, so that will be next. I read it years ago and remember it being very good, so fancied rereading it. Small Gods after that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a coincidence, I read this a while back, also my first Pratchett book in ages. I agree entirely, a thoroughly enjoyable book that expose the absurdity of nationalism, amongst other things. Poignantly appropriate as Europe descends into utter madness … We need all the laughs we can get and Pratchett makes for nice escapism. Btw, if you’re not already familiar with his work, you might want to check out Robert Rankin. Similar to Pratchett in humour, but set against the backdrop of a then contemporary 1980s Brentford with absurd and unlikely occult occurences around every corner. Later, he was just churning them out (a bit like Pratchett, imho), but the Brentford Trilogy, (The Antipope, The Brentford Triangle and East of Ealing) is pure genius.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad to see you enjoyed this one. I’ve only read the first three books so far (I’m reading in publication order). I’m not always quick to pick up on specific satirical elements, so I may have overlooked a lot and just enjoyed the humor and more general wisdom. So far, I’ve enjoyed each book more than the one before (but again, only read 3). My favorite is Equal Rites. I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

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