Stars and Stripes in Peril Mass Market Paperback – Oct 2 2001
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Harry Harrison has been publishing science fiction for half a century; this novel appears in 2000, the year of his 75th birthday. His 1998 Stars and Stripes Forever was a foray into alternative history at the time of the U.S. Civil War. An opportunistic British invasion is so badly bungled that it unites warring Union and Confederate forces against the common enemy, and the course of events is rousingly changed.
Now it's 1863 and perfidious Albion is making a comeback via the Pacific, establishing a Mexican beachhead and planning attacks on united America's "soft underbelly" in the Gulf of Mexico. Gurkha and Sepoy troops build roads while sweaty white officers express nostalgia for England: "I despair of ever seeing her blissfully cold and fog-shrouded shores again."
An early coup of misdirection makes the British advance seem unstoppable--but America forges ahead with new guns and naval armor, and General Robert E. Lee devises an audacious counterblow. What better way to disrupt Britain's wicked schemes than to strike at her own rebellious province of Ireland?
Harrison, an American, perhaps overdoes the lofty dignity of figures like Abraham Lincoln, while showing British politicians with their full complement of warts. But the breathless, headlong action sweeps you away as the battle is planned and at last joined. Even hardened English patriots will feel a sense of wish-fulfillment at the possibility that America may solve the "Irish Question" for them. This is a rapid-paced, slightly slapdash, and unfailingly energetic adventure in alternate history--all great fun. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Winner of the Nebula Award, the Prix Jules Verne, and the Premio Italia, Harry Harrison is famous for many works of speculative literature, including The Stainless Steel Rat series, Make Room! Make Room! (the basis for the movie Soylent Green), and the West of Eden trilogy. Harrison is currently working on the final volume of this alternate history trilogy. He lives in Ireland.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Then, I began reading the S&S series, expecting an informative development to an interesting idea (Britain attacking the U.S. during the Civil War). It was a total letdown. I have never read any of Mr. Harrison's works previous to this, but I do not feel any particular desire to now.
He portrays every character in one-dimensional descriptions, based along the lines of U.S. = good, everyone else = bad. He doesn't even take the time to develop any of the non-U.S.-and-allied characters beyond their immediate motives relating to the war and their own pompous convictions, regardless of what kind of person they were in reality. Though I know little about the actual Queen Victoria, I am more than a little suspicious that she did slightly more than scream at bad news and throw incessant fits.
Likewise, the lack of real development of civil issues in the reunified U.S., primarily the treatment of freed slaves, was irritating. That most people would practically ignore the existance of a problem save for philosophical argument is almost mind-boggling, and the section dealing with a negro teacher in Mississippi is resolved with impossible simplicity. Why no social backlash? It wasn't even mentioned again, and given the magnitude of what happened it could easily have sparked major riots at the very least.
Finally, issues abroad.Read more ›
It was, but in a different way.
None of what happened makes any historical or military sense. For instance the US invasion of Ireland flies in the face of believability (a landing overnight, landing tens of thousands of troops on unknown shores, without error or mishap?, followed by Blitzkrieg by steam train? why does no one notice?).
The British actions are nonsensical (a road accross Mexico! 250 miles of jungle and mountain!, why not use transport ships? just how many troops does Britain have?, there must be around 200-400,000 men guarding the road to garrison if it as densely as implied in the book).
I'm afraid this book just made me laugh aloud when I was'nt puzzled by Harrisons'latest plot warps. It makes about as much sense as an episode of "Time Tunnel" and is about as historically accurate. All it needed was stupidly costumed aliens backing the British.
Most of the plot was childish wish fulfillment.
The military research, particularly regarding Britain, was poor.
Steam Punk novels like "the Difference engine" I can enjoy, if the world of the past is changed by a writer who knows his business. But the new world needs laws and rules and consistency, this one is chaotic.
This book seems to be another exercise in hating the "evil English", an increasingly common US entertainment trait.
I think its' about time Harrison grew up and realised that the War of Independence happened a very long time ago, and that Britain did good as well as bad in the past, and that the USA also commited its share of despicable acts throughout its' history.
I'm just glad that no Britsh writer has sunk to this puerile level of revilement of another country.
First, the lame writing. The characters bear resemblance to their historical name-sakes in name only. There are a couple of clever manuevers pulled off in the invasion of Ireland, but there is next to no interesting narration of the events. The battle scenes are like reading a narration of a turn-based military simulation board game--and one with divisions as the smallest unit, at that! Events happen, and we are told how they happen, in the style and detail of a introductory-level history textbook. Little in this book draws me in and inspires me to invest much emotion in either the plot or characters.
I find it inconceivable that Britain, wholly dependent on its Navy for its world-power status as it is, would allow its ships to become so outclassed, or that it would seek war when even the crudest espionage service would conclude that America's ships were superior.
Lastly, the laughable "happy-ever-after" independent Ireland forming under America's sheltering wing is simply ludicrous. Um, a few hundred years worth of religious animosity evaporates overnight by chanting the "Sepration of Church and State" mantra? Now I'll grant that America's Navy is keeping Britain from invading but surely it will not be able to stop them from smuggling in guns and agents. And once the US finds out its Navy isn't big enough to guard its own two coasts and Ireland (we're ignoring logistics here that it can protect Ireland for any length of time) Britian hops back across the Irish sea and whomps the Irish.
I used to think Turtledove didn't do too well with alternate history, but now I see how a really bad AH novel is written.
Most recent customer reviews
Like some of the readers here I found this to be an enjoyable but ultimately forgettable read. I have not read the first novel but it was easy to get into this one without having... Read morePublished on Sept. 30 2003 by gallipoli
I am truly glad I did not purchase this one at full price. I only regret what I wasted buying it.
I thought the first novel of this series was pathetic. Read more
This is alternate history as snack food: quick and clever but ultimately unsatisfying. Harrison's vision of nineteenth-century blitzkrieg warfare is plausible and sometimes... Read morePublished on July 29 2002 by PATRICK OHANNIGAN
Really quick. I liked the book, but not as much as book one. Book one was filled with more surprises.Published on March 22 2002 by Donald Webb
Harry Harrison's "Stars & Stripes In Peril" excels as a textbook example of what might have happened if the United States had launched a blitzkrieg invasion of... Read morePublished on Dec 24 2001 by John Kwok
I agree with other reviewers that Mr. Harrison's ideas are interesting, but the manner in which they are put forth are very mediocre and flat. Read morePublished on Dec 19 2001 by Will
Stars and Stripes in Peril is the sequel to the wonderful Stars and Stripes Forever. However, this novel doesn't quite live up the expectations I had for it based on the first... Read morePublished on Nov. 21 2001 by Dennis Keithly
This sequel did not grab me as quickly as the first book. Things happen very, very fast which can leave you feeling like you are reading a series of blurbs rather than a novel. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 2001 by John Daugherty
I'd personally give this book 3 1/2 stars but that apparently isn't an option. Harrison writes a good book that is enjoyable and fun to read, but he lacks some important elements... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001