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on January 27, 2014
I've always enjoyed Harry Turtledove's books and I have become quite familiar with them. His writing style and presentation of stroyline is now predictable and although sometimes poderous it is consistent. So if you've liked him before you will enjoy him again, if you are looking for a change of direction or something extravagant and new than you will be very disappointed. He handles the subject well and there are some interesting plot twist which make the ride enjoyable although slow. Like I said, I started this series with a solid familiarity with Turtledove's work so I was not at all surprised as to how the subject matter was presented and handled, it was exactly what I expected. Knowing that Turtledove produces a certain type of book with a predictable writing style is in itself comforting. Sometimes I get in the mood for a Turtledove book, so I will purchase and read the entire series over time.
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on July 27, 2010
While I found Hitler's war to be average, this one was a letdown.

Basically the whole book takes place from mid to late 1939.

France: Stalemate near Paris, both sides pounding each other, armored back and forths but a bloody stalemate nonetheless.

Poland: Soviet offensive gets as far as east of Warsaw then gets stalled by German and Polish troops. Again a bloody stalemate.

Norway: Gets invaded by the Germans late 1939. The Swedes are mobilizing to deter a German invasion.

Soviet Far East: Japanese cut off the Siberian railway and Vladivostok is cut off from the rest of the USSR and encircled by the Japanese but the Soviets are still fighting hard and the Japanese are being subjective to constant Soviet attacks.

Spain: Stalemate, Nationalists trying to bomb the crap out of Madrid. Nationalists do probing attacks on Madrid.

Atlantic: German navy is causing damage on Allied shipping but the Allies are fighting back hard.

Not much advance on both sides.
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Having been disappointed by the first book in this series, The War That Came Early: Hitler's War, I had no great expectations for the second tome. But, having been well entertained by Turtledove's Worldwar Saga series of five books, I still had some faith in his writing. I rated the first book two stars and will give this one two and three fifths. There is some improvement as the plot gains in complexity; there is increased suspense and the reader gets more involved with characters carried over from the first book. Every character in combat seems to have their own agendas albeit they are sadly one-dimensional. The lack of respect in the line of command is a nagging theme. Jews are strategically interwoven in almost every scenario. Members of every race, nationality and political ideology--other than their own--are disdained, despised and disparaged by everyone. Curiously, in that regard, members of the black race is spared the deprecatory venom. Could it be that Turtledove is influenced by modern day political correctness?

Again, I was puzzled why the writer chose to keep most of the scenarios in the trenches, tanks, planes and U-boats. The book would have been much more dynamic and suspenseful if he had included the goings-on in the upper echelons of decision making. Actual historical characters are only alluded to but virtually absent (one page of Hitler making a phone call).

Otherwise I refer to my review of the first book. Like the first, this is how I think the second book could have been made better: 1. An introductory summary of the actual historical facts for the locations and the timeline covered by the story. 2. Each chapter of the book being headed by a timeline (e.g. April 1938 to July 1938). 3. Each section of every chapter being headed by stating the location of events. 4. At a minimum ten percent of the book presenting historical figures--what they said, thought and did. 5. More involvement of civilians impacted by the politics and combat. 6. More interweaving subplots and-- especially towards the end--some of the characters from the different scenarios meeting and interacting. 7. Some sketchy maps of where the action is happening.
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