A well-known series of alternate history anthologies now adds this solid and provocative exploration of the American Civil War. Seasoned alt-hist veteran Tsouras and nine other scholars offer 10 ways in which the South could have won its independence, beginning with European intervention or the construction (with British help) of a blockade-breaking navy. More subtle suggestions include Lee's lost order at Antietam being a deliberate deception, or the Union going bankrupt. The high points are probably Edward Longacre's Gettysburg campaign in which Jeb Stuart does his duty (he notoriously did not) and the editor's own somewhat implausible but enormously powerful scenario in which the South adopts General Cleburne's plan to free and arm the slaves. After that, Southern victories change the political equation, leading to Lincoln's defeat in the 1864 election. Evaluating these possibilities, one has to remember Shelby Foote's comment that "the North would just have brought the other hand out from behind its back." This latest entry in a series that's a byword among alternate-history fans succeeds in avoiding white supremacist fantasies and is well up to the very high standard set by earlier entries.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.