Blood and Iron (American Empire, Book One) Mass Market Paperback – Jun 25 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Nobody plays the what-if game of alternative history better than Turtledove, especially when he has a large-scale subject and when he's working close enough to the present for readers to appreciate his detailed analyses of how familiar events might have turned out differently. His massive trilogy, The Great War, described how WWI might have been fought on an Earth where the Confederacy was still an independent nation. This follow-up novel begins by showing postwar life. Teddy Roosevelt is president; however, the Socialist Party gives the establishment serious competition, as veterans question the society they fought to save, and Upton Sinclair challenges TR in the election of 1920. Meanwhile, in the humiliated and bankrupt Confederate states, an angry racist with a gift of demagoguery whips up violent mobs and aims them at his enemies. Readers will recognize some of the names, but watching historical processes in action is the novel's real attraction. Knowing what happened in our timeline, readers will want to imagine the results of different choices. Sometimes, luck and willingness to compromise can resolve conflicts. On the other hand, the Southern Hitler may have his way. It depends on how well people make sense of the situations facing them. Turtledove's introduction carries over a cast of 16 varied characters from The Great War. Not all survive, but readers will be curious to see how the rest go on to cope with new challenges. This book begins a panoramic story, a new trilogy at least, that promises to be immensely fascinating. 5-city author tour; on-sale date July 31.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Turtledove's Great War series morphs into the American Empire series. The U.S and imperial Germany have imposed a "blood and iron" peace on Britain, France, Russia, and the Confederacy. On the western front, the Confederacy struggles to overcome defeat, dissension, and Weimar-level inflation, and the U.S. labors to stay on top of things and prepare for the next round of combat. Indomitable, muddleheaded General Custer has his sails trimmed by the election of Socialist Upton Sinclair as president in 1920, which also makes Turtledove's creation, Flora Hamburger, the wife of the vice-president. In the Confederacy, former artillery sergeant Jake Featherstone founds the Freedom Party. His road to power turns rocky after the crackbrained assassination of President Wade Hampton V, but Ann Colleton escapes the subsequent Freedom Party debacle only slightly damaged and loses her stormy lover when the widow of one of his victims shoots him. Cincinnatus Driver leaves Ohio for the better racial climate of Iowa, and Scipio, married and now named Xerxes, learns that no matter which whites win in the Confederacy, the black man almost always loses. Turtledove's skill at dramatizing historical forces proves magisterial once more. Roland Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Turtledove had a great opportunity to paint a picture of the Nazi-like Featherston's rise and (presumably temporary) fall. He could also discuss what's happening in the UK, Russia and France. (Is Russia even Communist in this alternate world?) He completely passes on this opportunity, to instead give us hundreds of pages filled with silly and boring prose about characters who have outlived their usefulness by a long shot and should not have appeared in this book at all:
* Nellie and Edna with their ridiculous bickering
* Galtier talking to his horse and engaging in "witty" banter with his family
* Jonathan Moss with his silly relationship with the Canadian woman
* Martin arguing politics with his family
* Sam Carsten with his sunburn
To do this, Turtledove follows the day-to-day exploits of the large cast of characters we've come to know and either love, tolerate, or skip past. Sylvia Enos struggles as a single mom, Cincinnatus Driver adjusts to life in the USA, Reggie Bartlett sells cough syrup, Arthur McGregor continues to plot revenge, et cetera.
The main plotline in the CSA surrounds Jake Featherston and his "Freedom Party" (an obvious parallel to the Nazi's), which sucks in a couple more regular characters, Jefferson Pinkard and Roger Kimball, while in the USA the Government is going Socialist, which means Flora Hamburger is moving up in the world and there are drastic cuts to the military.
As someone who enjoyed How Few Remain, American Front and Walk in Hell (and wasn't overly thrilled with Breakthroughs), I found myself quite disappointed in Blood and Iron for a couple reasons:
Firstly, there seemed to be little closure to the Great War, especially in the USA. Once the war is over, people just start going about their lives again like nothing ever happened. Rather then try and explain the impact that the war has had on society we get pages of Lucien Galtier talking to his horse and Sam Carsten burning.
Secondly, I thought this book would give Turtledove a chance to add a new dimension to his characters, a type of in-depth look at personalities that would be lost in a book that focuses on telling a war, but there was none of that. Instead the characters still remain just names on a page floating aimlessly through their lives rather then appearing as "real people".Read more ›
With hindsight, it is easy to see what would have happened immediately after an event if it had been different. What is more difficult however is to plot out where things would have gone further down the track. There are so many more variables. Harry Turtledove has taken a central event in the history of the United States, namely the Civil War, and changed the result. In his novels, the war was still fought in the 1860s, but America remained divided, the Union in the north and the Confederation in the south. Sixty years down the line, the continent is still divided. The Great War has just ended, with the Union on top. Canada is occupied, Quebec is independent, and France, Britain and Russia have been beaten. Could history have travelled this way? Following this book, it could have, very easily.
This is no simple tale. There are several stories told all at once, from the upper echelons of national politics through to the poverty stricken and widowed. The war has affected them all differently. A former confederate submarine captain is central to the formation of the fascist Freedom Party. General George Custer, still alive and well, occupies Canada. Former slaves leave the Confederate states for a better life in the north, while hyperinflation destroys the Confederate economy. A brilliant young colonel develops the weapon of the future, but his government does not agree on it's effectiveness. The United States navy assists the Irish in throwing the British out of Ireland.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Harry Turtledove continues his completely believable alternate history of the early part of the 20th Cenury with this book. Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2011 by William D. Mutch
this book traces the rise of Jake Featehrson from a small local Freedom party meeting to a presidential canidate it also traces how many confederates feel after the war and the... Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2003 by Michael Allen Miller
I see I'm not the only reviewer who sees obvious parallels between the Freedom Party in an early 20th Century Confederate States of America and the rise of the Nazis in Germany... Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2002 by John Kwok
...takes place during the immediately previous generation, on the North American continent rather than Europe, but under startlingly identical circumstances to the Third Reich in... Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by R. L. MILLER
About 100 pages in I realized that I could have gained a lot of insight about the world presented in this had I read the The Civil War Series and the Great War Series. Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2002 by Michael
I have read both the Worldwar series and the Great war series. The Great war series and this continuation is, in my opinion, much more entertaining. Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2002 by twocentsworth
Blood and Iron is the first book of Harry Turtledove's American Empire series, which promises to be a bridge for an alternate history of World War Two. Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2002 by Philip B. Yochim
excellent! although like a previous reader said, a world map would be helpful. also, I think that he should skip some of the things that just mirror our history. Read morePublished on Aug. 5 2002 by Mike B