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I was going to give up on this series (see my reviews for the first two books) but, if being a completist at heart I hate to stop in the middle. At least this book is marginally better than the others in that there are major alternate historical events occurring to create more interest. The first one hundred fifty pages continue in much the same tedium that readers had to endure in the first two books: battlefield personnel banter, swearing and stereotypical name-calling. Then, thankfully, events take a turn to create more interest. By the end of the book the outcomes are unpredictable. More of the characters are in unusual situations. Hopefully the fourth and fifth books will build on increased surprise and suspense.
The only two historical characters who participate in the dialogue of the book are Winston Churchill and Rudolf Hess and they are only given a couple of pages each. I contend that these books would have been so much more readable if Turtledove had involved historical personages directly in the narrative and dialogue—the plots, the intrigue, the deceptions, the behind the scenes action in the upper echelons. Instead he has us eating dirt down in the foxholes, drinking bilge water and choking on malodorous cigarettes. The author's repertoire is getting stale. At least for the sake of his loyal fans I hope he can provide some fresh excitement instead of continually turning over the same sad sack sod.
As an avid Turtledove fan I was greatly anticipating the release of The Big Switch. That being said I found the second novel in the series East and West to be a disappointment. I found that novel almost to be a retelling of World War Two without the necessary alternatives that make alternative history such a fascinating genre. The Big Switch does not have this problem. This novel sees the complete realignment of the Second World War. Indeed, the political unrest that is occurring in Britain is a fascinating subplot, along with the strategic goals of the Japanese in the Far East. The work is crisp and fast paced and does not get bogged down in time trying to build to bigger events. In my opinion, Turtledove restores the series and builds interest in the coming work.