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American Empire: Blood and Iron [Hardcover]

Harry Turtledove
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 31 2001 American Empire

Twice in the last century, brutal war erupted between the United States and the Confederacy. Then, after a generation of relative peace, The Great War exploded worldwide. As the conflict engulfed Europe, the C.S.A. backed the Allies, while the U.S. found its own ally in Imperial Germany. The Confederate States, France, and England all fell. Russia self-destructed, and the Japanese, seeing that the cause was lost, retired to fight another day.

The Great War has ended, and an uneasy peace reigns around most of the world. But nowhere is the peace more fragile than on the continent of North America, where bitter enemies share a single landmass and two long, bloody borders.

In the North, proud Canadian nationalists try to resist the colonial power of the United States. In the South, the once-mighty Confederate States have been pounded into poverty and merciless inflation. U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt refuses to return to pre-war borders. The scars of the past will not soon be healed. The time is right for madmen, demagogues, and terrorists.

At this crucial moment in history, with Socialists rising to power in the U.S. under the leadership of presidential candidate Upton Sinclair, a dangerous fanatic is on the rise in the Confederacy, preaching a message of hate. And in Canada another man--a simple farmer--has a nefarious plan: to assassinate the greatest U.S. war hero, General George Armstrong Custer.

With tension on the seas high, and an army of Marxist Negroes lurking in the swamplands of the Deep South, more than enough people are eager to return the world to war. Harry Turtledove sends his sprawling cast of men and women--wielding their own faiths, persuasions, and private demons--into the troubled times between the wars.

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From Publishers Weekly

Nobody plays the what-if game of alternative history better than Turtledove, especially when he has a large-scale subject and when he's working close enough to the present for readers to appreciate his detailed analyses of how familiar events might have turned out differently. His massive trilogy, The Great War, described how WWI might have been fought on an Earth where the Confederacy was still an independent nation. This follow-up novel begins by showing postwar life. Teddy Roosevelt is president; however, the Socialist Party gives the establishment serious competition, as veterans question the society they fought to save, and Upton Sinclair challenges TR in the election of 1920. Meanwhile, in the humiliated and bankrupt Confederate states, an angry racist with a gift of demagoguery whips up violent mobs and aims them at his enemies. Readers will recognize some of the names, but watching historical processes in action is the novel's real attraction. Knowing what happened in our timeline, readers will want to imagine the results of different choices. Sometimes, luck and willingness to compromise can resolve conflicts. On the other hand, the Southern Hitler may have his way. It depends on how well people make sense of the situations facing them. Turtledove's introduction carries over a cast of 16 varied characters from The Great War. Not all survive, but readers will be curious to see how the rest go on to cope with new challenges. This book begins a panoramic story, a new trilogy at least, that promises to be immensely fascinating. 5-city author tour; on-sale date July 31.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Turtledove's Great War series morphs into the American Empire series. The U.S and imperial Germany have imposed a "blood and iron" peace on Britain, France, Russia, and the Confederacy. On the western front, the Confederacy struggles to overcome defeat, dissension, and Weimar-level inflation, and the U.S. labors to stay on top of things and prepare for the next round of combat. Indomitable, muddleheaded General Custer has his sails trimmed by the election of Socialist Upton Sinclair as president in 1920, which also makes Turtledove's creation, Flora Hamburger, the wife of the vice-president. In the Confederacy, former artillery sergeant Jake Featherstone founds the Freedom Party. His road to power turns rocky after the crackbrained assassination of President Wade Hampton V, but Ann Colleton escapes the subsequent Freedom Party debacle only slightly damaged and loses her stormy lover when the widow of one of his victims shoots him. Cincinnatus Driver leaves Ohio for the better racial climate of Iowa, and Scipio, married and now named Xerxes, learns that no matter which whites win in the Confederacy, the black man almost always loses. Turtledove's skill at dramatizing historical forces proves magisterial once more. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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When the Great War ended, Jake Featherston had thought the silence falling over the battlefield as strange and unnatural as machine-gun fire in Richmond on a Sunday afternoon. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars B for Concept / D for Execution March 8 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the newest trilogy ("American Empire") in Turtledove's alternate history where the South won the Civil War, which chronologically follows immediately after his World War I series. For me, it will also be the last. The quality of this book is a lot lower than in the earlier series. I have been a Turtledove fan for a long time, but based on this effort, I will not continue this particular series.
Turtledove had a great opportunity to paint a picture of the Nazi-like Featherston's rise and (presumably temporary) fall. He could also discuss what's happening in the UK, Russia and France. (Is Russia even Communist in this alternate world?) He completely passes on this opportunity, to instead give us hundreds of pages filled with silly and boring prose about characters who have outlived their usefulness by a long shot and should not have appeared in this book at all:
* Nellie and Edna with their ridiculous bickering
* Galtier talking to his horse and engaging in "witty" banter with his family
* Jonathan Moss with his silly relationship with the Canadian woman
* Martin arguing politics with his family
* Sam Carsten with his sunburn
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing End or A Disappointing Beginning? July 21 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
American Empire: Blood and Iron is the follow up to the Great War series and this book is supposed to put to rest World War One and transition towards an alternate World War II.
To do this, Turtledove follows the day-to-day exploits of the large cast of characters we've come to know and either love, tolerate, or skip past. Sylvia Enos struggles as a single mom, Cincinnatus Driver adjusts to life in the USA, Reggie Bartlett sells cough syrup, Arthur McGregor continues to plot revenge, et cetera.
The main plotline in the CSA surrounds Jake Featherston and his "Freedom Party" (an obvious parallel to the Nazi's), which sucks in a couple more regular characters, Jefferson Pinkard and Roger Kimball, while in the USA the Government is going Socialist, which means Flora Hamburger is moving up in the world and there are drastic cuts to the military.
As someone who enjoyed How Few Remain, American Front and Walk in Hell (and wasn't overly thrilled with Breakthroughs), I found myself quite disappointed in Blood and Iron for a couple reasons:
Firstly, there seemed to be little closure to the Great War, especially in the USA. Once the war is over, people just start going about their lives again like nothing ever happened. Rather then try and explain the impact that the war has had on society we get pages of Lucien Galtier talking to his horse and Sam Carsten burning.
Secondly, I thought this book would give Turtledove a chance to add a new dimension to his characters, a type of in-depth look at personalities that would be lost in a book that focuses on telling a war, but there was none of that. Instead the characters still remain just names on a page floating aimlessly through their lives rather then appearing as "real people".
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4.0 out of 5 stars What if... Feb. 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
History is full of "what ifs." What if the Roman Empire had never existed? What if the Vikings had actually settled in America? What if the Black Death hadn't killed so many people?
With hindsight, it is easy to see what would have happened immediately after an event if it had been different. What is more difficult however is to plot out where things would have gone further down the track. There are so many more variables. Harry Turtledove has taken a central event in the history of the United States, namely the Civil War, and changed the result. In his novels, the war was still fought in the 1860s, but America remained divided, the Union in the north and the Confederation in the south. Sixty years down the line, the continent is still divided. The Great War has just ended, with the Union on top. Canada is occupied, Quebec is independent, and France, Britain and Russia have been beaten. Could history have travelled this way? Following this book, it could have, very easily.
This is no simple tale. There are several stories told all at once, from the upper echelons of national politics through to the poverty stricken and widowed. The war has affected them all differently. A former confederate submarine captain is central to the formation of the fascist Freedom Party. General George Custer, still alive and well, occupies Canada. Former slaves leave the Confederate states for a better life in the north, while hyperinflation destroys the Confederate economy. A brilliant young colonel develops the weapon of the future, but his government does not agree on it's effectiveness. The United States navy assists the Irish in throwing the British out of Ireland.
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4.0 out of 5 stars English project Oct. 30 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harry Turtledove is a master at alternate history. This latest novel, following his well written Great War series, is well written and brings up intriguing questions about what the world would be like if the Confederate states still existed and fought the United states in the Great War. The authors grasp of historic events is masterfully woven into this tail changing the very nature of United states history and following the most likely time line for the world he has created. The characters interactions with actual troubles from the United States real history are perfectly written. Turtledove's use of the varying aspects and the differing nature of his characters lives and points of view are well tied together to bring about a great story. From the struggles of blacks in a white powered south, to the conflicts of American soldiers in their newly controlled territory of Canadian, and the fights between war veterans, now working in steel mills, and the greedy owners of those mills. Turtledove masterfully combines these aspects of history and fiction into a thrilling tale of life in the 1920's.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars American Empire- Blood and Iron
Harry Turtledove continues his completely believable alternate history of the early part of the 20th Cenury with this book. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2011 by William D. Mutch
5.0 out of 5 stars the rise of Featherson
this book traces the rise of Jake Featehrson from a small local Freedom party meeting to a presidential canidate it also traces how many confederates feel after the war and the... Read more
Published on Sept. 26 2003 by Michael Allen Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Turtledove's Look at the birth of a Nazi Confederacy
I see I'm not the only reviewer who sees obvious parallels between the Freedom Party in an early 20th Century Confederate States of America and the rise of the Nazis in Germany... Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2002 by John Kwok
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Fall Of the Second Reich...
...takes place during the immediately previous generation, on the North American continent rather than Europe, but under startlingly identical circumstances to the Third Reich in... Read more
Published on Oct. 14 2002 by R. L. MILLER
3.0 out of 5 stars If I only knew.......
About 100 pages in I realized that I could have gained a lot of insight about the world presented in this had I read the The Civil War Series and the Great War Series. Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2002 by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun book to read, leads me to more "what-ifs"
I have read both the Worldwar series and the Great war series. The Great war series and this continuation is, in my opinion, much more entertaining. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2002 by twocentsworth
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but too obvious
Blood and Iron is the first book of Harry Turtledove's American Empire series, which promises to be a bridge for an alternate history of World War Two. Read more
Published on Aug. 10 2002 by Philip B. Yochim
5.0 out of 5 stars a few ideas of mine. but the book itself is great
excellent! although like a previous reader said, a world map would be helpful. also, I think that he should skip some of the things that just mirror our history. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2002 by MBizzle
5.0 out of 5 stars Good paced
I read another Turtledove book, Colonization: Aftershocks, at the same time as I read Blood and Iron. I critized Aftershocks for only progressing about 2 years in the plot line. Read more
Published on Aug. 4 2002 by Steven Marks
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