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How Few Remain [Mass Market Paperback]

Harry Turtledove
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 29 1998
From the master of alternate history comes an epic of the second Civil War. It was an epoch of glory and success, of disaster and despair. . . .

1881: A generation after the South won the Civil War, America writhed once more in the bloody throes of battle. Furious over the annexation of key Mexican territory, the United States declared total war against the Confederate States of America in 1881.

But this was a new kind of war, fought on a lawless frontier where the blue and gray battled not only each other but the Apache, the outlaw, the French, and the English. As Confederate General Stonewall Jackson again demonstrated his military expertise, the North struggled to find a leader who could prove his equal. In the Second War Between the States, the times, the stakes, and the battle lines had changed--and so would history. . .

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How Few Remain + Walk in Hell (The Great War, Book Three) + American Front (The Great War, Book One)
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From Library Journal

In 1862, the Confederacy won the War of the Rebellion (not by interference of time travelers, as in Turtledove's Guns of the South, LJ 9/1/92, but by their own skillful military and diplomatic efforts). The defeated North has stewed for nearly 20 years. In this alternate history, the South exercises an opportunity to purchase Sonora and Chihuahua from the bankrupt Mexican Empire, having already wrested Cuba from Spain. James G. Blaine, now president of the United States, arrogantly seizes upon this pretext and invades with the aim of reunification. Lincoln has become an outcast of the Republican Party and preaches socialism while Custer is a frustrated and embittered colonel on the frontier, Samuel Clemens a fiery newspaper editor in San Francisco, and Rosecrans the inadequate head of the Union Army. Turtledove is an accomplished professional at this sort of thing and has given us an entertainment that makes us think somewhat about why we are the way we are. Highly recommended for history, historiography, military, and popular fiction collections.?Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Turtledove calls his numerous novels "alternative history." He changed the result of the Civil War by giving General Lee AK-47s in Guns of the South (1992); in Worldwar (1996), World War II came to a screeching halt as the belligerents united against alien space lizards. This current novel extends the Civil War theme. The year is 1881. Lincoln, since losing the Civil War and then the presidency, is an itinerant socialist speech-maker. In the Confederate States of America, President James Longstreet buys northern Mexico, and the U.S. president declares war, the course of which operates through several historical figures. In San Francisco, antiwar newspaper publisher Samuel Clemens talks himself out of seditious trouble with William Sherman, while the British fleet reduces the city to rubble. The British/Canadian invasion of Montana is stopped by Teddy Roosevelt, yelling "bully" constantly, and by George Custer, whose brother Tom dies, reappears, and then is later referred to as dead. The War in Mexico goes worse for the bluecoats, as would be expected, since they face the dashing, slashing J.E.B. Stuart and his "camelry" --whether their mounts are dromedaries or Bactrians is unclear. At Louisville, Stonewall Jackson reprises his successes by repelling the Union attack and capturing Frederick Douglass, war correspondent. Turtledove is successful in the plausible, albeit theatrical, characterizations of these figures, and his imaginative curiosity will appeal to the what-if segment of the vast Civil War readership, although they might trip over Tom Custer's dead-or-alive act. Gilbert Taylor --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An oldie but a goodie. March 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of HT's earlier books, telling the story of the "Second war between the states," as the tagline goes. There's a brief preface telling why the CSA won it's independance in this timeline, then the story goes into the era of the war, and it really takes off. The characters are well-done, the story is textured, and this book in particular is far superior to his later works, in which he follows our history too closely. That's a different matter, however. Multiple viewpoints cover most aspects of this world, and a foreign viewpoint gives a unique view that is lacking again in his later stuff. He also doesn't fall into the normal authorial trap of not killing off characters, and he's not afraid to have the "good guys" lose. All in all, this is one of his better books, and a good one to introduce someone into the genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of Turtledove's best Nov. 1 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Harry Turtledove writes many different types of alternate history, some mixed with science fiction (Worldwar series, The Guns of the South), some with a fantasy element (Darkness series, Detina series). How Few Remain is straight alternative history; Turtledove changed one event, and then from this "branching point" a different world emerges. In this book, the Confederate States of America defeated the USA because a courier did not drop secret battle plans (as happened in our timeline). The CSA is a nation in its own right. 20 years later, the USA still seethes from their crushing defeat and economic downturn, and attempts to remake the Union again.
Using multiple viewpoints in short vignettes, similar to John Brunner's novels or John de los Passos' USA, Turtledove evokes the moods of different groups and geographies. And as in Worldwar, Turtledove introduces famous people whose lives have changed because their history diverged. Thus Abraham Lincoln lives past 1865 (our 4-year Civil war ended sooner in this timeline, with a different victor), but is disgraced for losing the war, and finds himself extolling the virtues of socialism. Teddy Roosevelt finds an opportunity to drum up a volunteer army at age 21, fighting the Brits in Western Canada.
Political intrigue and diplomatic tangles abound. The CSA aligns with England and France, while the USA forms a partnership with Germany. But the US is surrounded by enemies, with British Canada to the North, and the CSA with its new Pacific ports (having purchased two provinces from the Empire of Mexico). The USA is spoiling for a rematch, and President James G. Blaine, the first Republican elected since Lincoln, intends to avenge the loss of the Southern States.
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5.0 out of 5 stars this book is interesting Sept. 26 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book about 3 years ago so I don't remember everything about it but it explains how the world could have been if the south had won the civil war it basically sets the stage for the next series the great war
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4.0 out of 5 stars It begins Aug. 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1863, the Confederacy successfully seceded from the Union. This book tells of a new war between the USA and the CSA, taking place in the 1880s. Warfare has changed a lot in twenty years, and the military leaders of both sides must come to bloody terms with Gatling guns, fast-firing artillery, and trench warfare. The viewpoint characters are amusing and interesting portrayals of real people. Sam Clemens (Mark Twain), for example, is working as an editor in San Francisco, while the aging Abraham Lincoln wanders the country spreading Marxist ideology. Such individuals give the book a great sense of period. There is also Fredrick Douglas and numorous other cameos by other famous people of this period
Overall-While it may not be th ebest of Harry's books it does provide good background for the rest of the "World War" serise
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5.0 out of 5 stars In The Beginning... Aug. 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I stumbled across Harry Turtledove by the front cover of "Walk In Hell", the second book of the Great War trilogy. I picked the book up and started reading. Within no time I was hooked on the intriuging story line.
This left me with no choice but to "back track" to American Front which then told me to back track further to How Few Remain.
For me it was a prequil to Walk In Hell and I was impressed with the introduction of the reason why the CSA now existed. It showed us how close reality for our world came to changing. The North American map at the front is a great guide and will change dramatically over the next sixty odd years.
The what might have been scenario if the USA had've held together was well played out - a classic alternate history play on the actual.
Famous people of the times are thrown into a whole new world.
The central charcters of Armstrong Custer and Theodore Roosevelt and their bitter dislike for each other are established in the first of this epic story of the alternate world Turtledove has created, an upside down state of world affairs.
Prehaps a little more could've been focussed at the start on the final battle that would turn the tide in favour of the creation of the CSA and the role Great Britan and France would play.
Thankfully reality is the world we live in now, not perfect but look at the possible alternative.

It leaves you wondering if Great Britan would've become the enemy of the USA if secession had've succeeded. Personally I'd doubt it but we (thankfully) will never know that outside the world of Harry Turtledove...A great start with a twisted ending, the storyline flows along quite nicely and is an easy read (sadly the follow up editions post WW1 do tend to fail in this department).
Five stars *****
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars In The Beginning...
I stumbled across Harry Turtledove by the front cover of "Walk In Hell", the second book of the Great War trilogy. I picked the book up and started reading. Read more
Published on Aug. 5 2002 by A. J. Cherrington
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the sequel, an interesting read . . .
Alternate history is a fun topic. Even people who are bored by history's "who", "what", "when", "where", "why" and "how" are intrigued by "what if" of history. Read more
Published on Aug. 3 2002 by Michael J. Berquist
2.0 out of 5 stars How Few Remain
Great idea, not such a good story.
Turtledove's alternate history -- the South won the Civil War and, plausibly, the North is starting a second war -- is generally well... Read more
Published on June 17 2002 by K. Freeman
5.0 out of 5 stars One Quick Thought
This is a great book, and I'd recommend it to anyone. However, I tire of everyone applauding the realistic premise of the book. Read more
Published on May 1 2002
3.0 out of 5 stars Southern View
This book is like a jigsaw puzzle where some of the pieces don't fit and others are missing. Some parts can be interesting but you wish the overall picture fit together better. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars A good novel and intelectual challenge
This novel extends Turtledove's Civil War theme begun in The Guns of the South, but the premise here under which the Confederacy won the Civil War (The Second American Revolution)... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2001 by William
5.0 out of 5 stars Turtledove's Greatest Work
For anyone who wants to read Turtledove's famous alternate history books and stories, How Few Remain is the THE work to start from. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2001 by John Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Alternative masterpiece
Unlike Turtledove's previous novel "Guns of the South", where the Southrons win the Civil War with the help of time-travelers, "how few" takes place in an... Read more
Published on Dec 13 2001 by John Faerseth
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