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Redcoats' Revenge: An Alternate History of the War of 1812 Hardcover – Nov 1 2008
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About the Author
, which won the Distinguished Writing Prize from the Army Historical Foundation. He lives in Lake Placid, New York.
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The story is a simple one: What if Field Marshal the Duke Wellington had accepted command of the Army of Canada in the War of 1812? The chain of events that follow result in Andrew Jackson being appointed commander of an American army thrown together to stop Wellington and their climactic meeting in a battle at Saratoga, New York.
Rather than tell his story in a novel form, following the story of a handful of characters deeply involved in events, Fitz-Enz tells his story as if it were presented in a history book. And the detail and backstory of the events involved are so terrific that it can be used as a history. In many ways, the book follows the style of Macksey's Invasion : the German invasion of England, July 1940 / Kenneth Macksey, but focusing more on the characters involved. From the start, we're given excellent backstories of the two generals involved and the historical courses they're set upon.
An author's note at the end of the book states that Fitz-Enz' goal was to use the story to encourage readers to delve into the actual history of events. It certainly worked for me. Although there aren't footnotes, he includes a nice bibliography at the end that gives a starting point for more reading.
I won't spoil any of the surprises in the book -- and there are some, since Fitz-Enz uses political machinations and individual characters to influence events, rather than calling upon mechanical dei ex machina to advance the plot. The ending is an interesting one, as events are brought to a conclusion while still leaving room for the reader to speculate about what happens next. There isn't a neat and definite resolution to events, as so often happens in alternate histories.
Overall, I'd strongly recommend this book to any alternate history reader who is tired of the normal course of the genre, or to any reader of history with an interest in the War of 1812. I sincerely hope that Fitz-Enz continues to write alternate histories, as he's shown a real talent for them here, and it'd be a shame to see him give up after just one book.
Wonderful book, hell of an ending.
I recommend REDCOATS' REVENGE to any serious student of history who is interested in an all too plausible 'what if' about what really was an important conflict.