Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Eonex, Nov 1, 2019.
I think what most miss is that post-SGW USA is doomed to fail in its mission to reabsorb the CSA.
I think the books about WWI are bad, but are readable (you can avoid to read full chapters of unuseful characters), also if a bit annoying.
The other books are very bad, obviously imho.
If you write a TL like tl191 here, you'll be attacked, and rightly, to writing a ASB story.
When I was younger i brought all the books, because I don't know what AH was.
I think I have simply wasted papers and money.
What do you expect? It's from the perspective of Robert E Lee. Though, I have to admit, Turtledove's benevolent portrayal of Lee has frustrated me the more I learn about his treatment of his slaves.
Well, the former Confederate States certainly aren't going to be annexed into the US like nothing happened. 80 years of nationhood will create a permanent divide between North and South.
It’s an interesting one is Guns of the South. On the one hand, it doesn’t ignore slavery or racism. It goes to considerable trouble to point out ‘slavery was a thing that existed in the CSA, it was bad y’all’, and it shows the racist attitudes of people like Nathan Bedford Forrest and the like. It doesn’t try to pretend that the war didn’t have slavery as a cause.
On the other hand, it treats slavery as just one reason for the war rather than the leading one and raises the Lost Cause ‘states’ rights’ banner high and proud, plus turns Lee into this saintly figure It also seems to labour under the idea that the CSA could have abolished slavery without a civil war of its own, which I doubt given how it was hardwired into their Constitution.
What do you bet that a few decades down the line, the Union - now with their own AK-47s - would try invading fresh from victory in Canada?
Not necessarily. It’d be a long, hard struggle for sure, involving a lot of loyally dubious activity, but if they held the course I’d say it could be done. And the TL-191 US had fought four wars with the CSA - seriously doubt they’d ever let the South go free after that...
How few remains is very good, the rest is hit or miss...with a lot of misses
It's worth noting that not everyone in the Confederate States jumped along the abolition bandwagon. The Patriot Party only lost to the Confederate Party by a thin margin in the CSA's first election after the war, so that adoration of slavery is still there. Forrest just couldn't keep up the pressure on Lee.
I think it is implied that that is the Confederacy's main fear at the end of the book. After the US is done in Canada, it will change direction and go to war against the Confederacy. It's a shame Turtledove never wrote a sequel to this book. The ending feels like a cliffhanger.
IMO the Great War is better than How Few Remain, which has a lot of logical gaps, rather stupid characterization (particularly Grant), and pretty much makes people just do things to make the story happen.
The Great War solves most of those issues by ignoring them. The USA and CSA ended up in their respective Allied camps because of stuff that happened offscreen. The British managed to end up on the opposite side of both Germany and the US because of idiocy offscreen, etc.
I think I'm the only one who liked the subplot of "CSA becomes alt-Nazis". It's the logical end result of a country that was founded on hardcore racism. Sure it wasn't written very well but I can overlook that.
I'm not against it, I'm just frustrated that they're so blatantly just the Nazis but in the South. Especially since the Great War series seemed to be heading for an inversion of the trope.
Agreed. How Few Remains has a lot of fun individual moments, but HT had to really put the thumb on the scales to get the result he wanted in that story.
Nevermind though that Forrest not only recanted his alliance with the AWB in the book, he also denounced the Klan when they started turning to violence and actually tried to make peace with black southerners. Plus, there's a strong difference between the conservative racism of the CSA and the reactionary racism of the Rivington Men. Both are bad, don't misunderstand me, but it's a whole different thing when you have a former soldier of the Confederacy wondering just what in the hell one of the Rivington Men did to drive a slave to hang themselves after a failed runaway and also make it so that no white prostitutes would serve them.
To be fair, most books also gloss over the less than admirable qualities of Lincoln and the Roosevelts. Hell, how many history books cover the viciousness with which General Grant attacked Vicksburg or Sherman's March to the Seas? There's a reason the Carolinas and Georgia take such a dim view of General Sherman.
Of course, consider as well that only a small majority of Southerners actually owned slaves. In fact, GotS I believe made that a point in how poor whites didn't have the money to own one slave let alone a plantation's worth. If Django Unchained is anything to go by, the price of a slave back then would be like buying a new car in the modern-day or a down payment on a house, though I HATE to make that comparison.
Given the growing inefficiency of the practice as well as the detriment of cotton on the soil, I wouldn't be surprised if civil war didn't erupt purely on the basis of class struggle between the southern aristocracy on side and the poor whites and slaves on the other.
Of course, in the book, given that Lee is the darling son of the Confederacy much like how Washington is to the USA, I would find it less believable that the Manumission bill would've passed under say... Wade Hampton III.
I think Lee actually mused at that very real possibility and that's why he elected to employ some of the less radical members of AWB in order to help prepare the CSA against a possible renewed conflict against the USA.
Well, 83 years of independence and cultural identity that is distinctly different to the Yankees is not going to go away without some morally dubious actions on the USA's part. It's primarily why TL-191 Canada turned into such a beast to deal with. Plus, Deseret is still a problem all on its own.
this is pretty much my view as well. HFR was necessary for the overall plot, to 'keep the hate going' and ensure a rematch during WW1/WW2... but it was kind of a clunky POD (the US gets pissy over... a railroad?). And then there are those notorious awful sex scenes...
I can totally get the US going to war over the CSA taking Mexican territory actually. My problem was with how all of this was shown. Like how the US has apparently wanted a rematch war...but has made absolutely no preparations for this whatsoever. Or how the Third Republic is still perfectly fine being allied with the CSA after overthrowing Napoleon III, or how Britain for some reason still cares enough to get involved. How Few Remains works fine as a background to The Great War, so long as the details aren't known. But the execution was just not good.
Note, I read How Few Remain last in the series rather than first, so that might have something to do with it.
Exactly! I can't see the US daring to go to war if the French and Brits are still involved... they might be aching for a rematch, but I can't see them being so blind as to not see the odds against them. Still, the war does do the necessary 'keep the hate going' thing...
Neither me is against. It is only simple plain copied by OTL Germany. There were a lot of space for specific american ideology.
I would say yes. If you can deal with the rampant parallels between TTL and OTL then it's a fun story as you slot whichever character from there is meant to be the figure from history.
The Great War trilogy was my favorite of the whole series.
I feel Turtledove has been rendered increasingly obsolete-and it's not his fault. Yes, he has more than his share of issues, and yes, him having to write to an audience of people who aren't history enthusiasts is constraining. But the landscape has changed to the point where he's not the biggest "entry point" into alternate history-not when alternate history shows are being produced and advertised by the big players and people are at least generally aware of the concept. It's changed a lot from the time when you'd go into your bookstore's sci-fi section (at least, that's where he was in the bookstores I went into) and see some of his alternate histories.
We all know that Turtledove really wanted the aligned Entent-Confederacy and Central Powers-US respectively.
We - as readers - do have the benefit of hindsight though.
For better or worse, how we look at it would probbaly be something like this:
With Habsburg monarchy in Mexico, sponsored by the French, we most likely have a France/Austria-Hungary alliance, which would most likely set off warning bells in GB/UK. THis means that the UK/GB will send more men to Canada upon Confederation to properly secure it, and quite possibly they will try and repair their relationship with the US - probably play the neutral party to both the US and CS respectively - I mean the entire commerce trade through New England alone has to be thousand time more valuable than a lot of the Confederacy trade of Cotton. Nevermind the mid-western food basket states.
I think with a more neutrally-inclined GB, France is going to support the Confederacy in order to secure Mexico so there would be some concessions and most likely means we can keep Nappy III on his throne (whether or not this stops the Franco-Prussian war is debatable, but that will always be up to interpretation). So we would have a CS/France/Austria-Hungary alliance in the latter half of the 19th Century.
Now this makes both Germany/Prussia and also Russia wary. Russia was incredibly pro-Union during the Civil War and I don't see too much reason why that would change, but because of the CS/F/AH alliance, Prussia and Russia are most likely going to form some alliance themselves. Russia wants Galicia, and Prussia wants all of Germany. a French-AH alliance pretty much disrupts all of that. I would like to think that the whole German Unification will see some similarities with the Union, at least to some degree, most likley they will both have close relations to the Union.
This also goes back to where the UK goes though. Trade with North America is essential as is keeping Canada. But at the same time, it has to wary of the European Powers. France could be just as likely to build a strong navy in this ATL like Germany did in OTL - or that could still be the same with the German-UK naval arms race. Ukraine does provide a lot of food so it may be essential to keep on good terms with Russia at the same time. And then you also have to consider that GB/Prussia/Russia all have intertwined royal families. And that alone is subject to change because come 1900 Frederick III could still be alive and could have tried to liberalize his country a bit. Queen Victoria also have two assassination attemts after the POD, 1872 and 1882 respectively. ALso Franz Josepf and Wilhelm I also had attempts on their life.
Butterflies are boundless really, yet I digress a bit ...........so I would think that if we have an alt-WW1 it would be:
Great Britain/UK is the neutral and its weight of power would determine the outcome if it chose a side.
If Germany is unified rather than being under Austria, then those alliances are hilariously one-sided.
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