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.
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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