Is Harry Turtledove's TL-191 worth it?

The Mormon revolt was probably solely a Doylist thing: American industry and population size meant America had to be nerfed in some way or his story would have been over quicker and with less challenge.

It's definitely fairly crazy, though, and if I was a Mormon I'd feel insulted for sure...

On a different subject, one thing I find quite interesting is that while he definitely seems on the right side of the spectrum from some of the stuff he's written...Flora Hamburger-Blackford is easily one of the most moral and decent characters in the story, yet she's a Socialist. And it definitely shows the better aspects of the Socialist Party becoming a major force - see the improved conditions for labour unions.
 
It was my first taste of alternate history as a teenager it was a great read I will reread the first three parts How Few Remain , The Great War Trilogy and the American Empire Trilogy I generally don't care for the Second Great War Trilogy. And think he just gave up in the End and went Nuke Happy. My favorite characters are Flora Hamburger/Blackwell, Clarence Potter, Reginald Barlett and Roger Kimball, I even like Great War vintage Jack Featherston.
 
These books will always be special to me regardless of their flaws. This series (starting with How Few Remain of course) is what really got me hooked on Alternate History. The World War series and Guns of the South were nice but those were more straight science fiction - aliens invading during WW2 or racist South Africans travelling back in time as opposed to TL-191 which is a true alternate timeline in the historical sense. No aliens or time travelers or cross dimension travel but our history in a different timeline. Once I read those it was a straight line from that to ending up here. :)
 
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These books will always be special to me regardless of their flaws. This series (starting with How Few Remain of course) is what really got me hooked on Alternate History. The World War series and Guns of the South were nice but those were more straight science fiction - aliens invading during WW2 or racist South Africans travelling back in time as opposed to TL-191 which is a true alternate timeline in the historical sense. No aliens or time travelers or cross dimension travel but our history in a different timeline. Once I read those it was a straight line from that to ending up here. :)
My experience exactly
 
I think the Mormon Uprising was supposed to be an analog to the Irish Rebellion? It's not perfect, but that's about the only thing I can think of. Of course, given what (very little) I know of the Mormon faith, the idea of them even reacting violently is a little too out there.

But all in all, the series is a flawed, but fun run. Provided you can stomach Turtledove's sex scenes. And really, the only one that I found myself near violently ill over was when Jefferson Pinkard raped his wife. That honestly made me ill.
 
Can we just agree to never remind ourselves of Turtledove's sex scenes ever again? I don't think I'm the only one who would rather not remember those.
 
Can we just agree to never remind ourselves of Turtledove's sex scenes ever again? I don't think I'm the only one who would rather not remember those.
If we have to suffer that atrocity you have to suffer alongside us! We suffer as one!

I dunno though, as I've branched out and started reading other alternate histories, I'm finding myself honestly put off by how bland the Southern Victory series is.
 
If we have to suffer that atrocity you have to suffer alongside us! We suffer as one!

I dunno though, as I've branched out and started reading other alternate histories, I'm finding myself honestly put off by how bland the Southern Victory series is.
See, if I were TD I'd have had a weird quasi-socially-liberal totalitarian/futurist USA fighting a dying CSA, and something nuts going on in China (Heavenly Kingdom-esque uprising?).
 
See, if I were TD I'd have had a weird quasi-socially-liberal totalitarian/futurist USA fighting a dying CSA, and something nuts going on in China (Heavenly Kingdom-esque uprising?).
Personally, I'd have the US having gone effectively full-blown Socialist in all but name before a rematch with the CSA. But with Teddy still running things...
 
See, if I were TD I'd have had a weird quasi-socially-liberal totalitarian/futurist USA fighting a dying CSA, and something nuts going on in China (Heavenly Kingdom-esque uprising?).
I would actually find a Heavenly Kingdom-esque uprising to be very interesting oddly enough.

Personally, I'd have the US having gone effectively full-blown Socialist in all but name before a rematch with the CSA. But with Teddy still running things...
Given that Prussian influence was so heavy in the Union, would it be too on the nose to have the USA wearing uniforms from East Germany? :p
 
These books will always be special to me regardless of their flaws. This series (starting with How Few Remain of course) is what really got me hooked on Alternate History. The World War series and Guns of the South were nice but those were more straight science fiction - aliens invading during WW2 or racist South Africans travelling back in time as opposed to TL-191 which is a true alternate timeline in the historical sense. No aliens or time travelers or cross dimension travel but our history in a different timeline. Once I read those it was a straight line from that to ending up here. :)
That summarizes my experience as well. I did not get into AH until my 30s and I got hooked on this series.
 
Guns of the South is loaded with blatant Southern apologia and falsely vilifies the Union as the aggressor, though.
It's written with Confederate PoV characters who would see the Union as the aggressor, regardless of the technicality of Ft Sumter, realistically.

It was written in the early 90s, at a time when the Lost Cause was no longer acceptable/in vogue but the interpretation of the Civil War was still less anti Confederate/product of a less polarized climate than today (look at the Ken Burns documentary or the 1993 Gettysburg film for comparison) where saying anything positive about any Confederate invites a reaction.

I think if you keep that in mind, it's an enjoyable read.

I don't think it apologized for the South, but pointed out the difference between cultural racism and active racism. From that perspective it shows the Confederacy as a lighter shade of grey in comparison with groups like AWB, one that isn't good, but under the right circumstances is capable of considering change.

I think that's fairer, not perfectly, but closer to okay and also very much a best case scenario for the Confederacy from a Civil Rights perspective, with literal boomerang ASB.
 
It's written with Confederate PoV characters who would see the Union as the aggressor, regardless of the technicality of Ft Sumter, realistically.

It was written in the early 90s, at a time when the Lost Cause was no longer acceptable/in vogue but the interpretation of the Civil War was still less anti Confederate/product of a less polarized climate than today (look at the Ken Burns documentary or the 1993 Gettysburg film for comparison) where saying anything positive about any Confederate invites a reaction.

I think if you keep that in mind, it's an enjoyable read.

I don't think it apologized for the South, but pointed out the difference between cultural racism and active racism. From that perspective it shows the Confederacy as a lighter shade of grey in comparison with groups like AWB, one that isn't good, but under the right circumstances is capable of considering change.

I think that's fairer, not perfectly, but closer to okay and also very much a best case scenario for the Confederacy from a Civil Rights perspective, with literal boomerang ASB.
The book fundamentally misunderstands the structure and entire point of the Confederacy in a way that is very sympathetic to it, though. @thekingsguard has written entire essays about this, but the gist of it is that the Confederacy was literally built from the top down as an oligarchic slavocracy, to the point that their constitution specifically forbid the banning of slavery, which Turtledove then has happen soon after the AWB helps the South win (thanks to Lee winning an election despite literally standing against the very thing that the South had rebelled for), and then on top of that the North then turns around and attacks Canada for at best dubious reasons. That may have been acceptable historiography in the 1990s, but it's still a fundamental whitewashing of the kind of state that the Confederacy actually was.
 
The book fundamentally misunderstands the structure and entire point of the Confederacy in a way that is very sympathetic to it, though. @thekingsguard has written entire essays about this, but the gist of it is that the Confederacy was literally built from the top down as an oligarchic slavocracy, to the point that their constitution specifically forbid the banning of slavery, which Turtledove then has happen soon after the AWB helps the South win (thanks to Lee winning an election despite literally standing against the very thing that the South had rebelled for), and then on top of that the North then turns around and attacks Canada for at best dubious reasons. That may have been acceptable historiography in the 1990s, but it's still a fundamental whitewashing of the kind of state that the Confederacy actually was.
I've said this before, but one thing that frustrates me about the book is Turtledove's almost benevolent treatment of Lee, like there was nothing wrong with him, aside from him choosing to fight for the CSA. In April 1866, at least one slave IRL testified to Lee's brutality when it came to punishing runaway slaves.

My name is Wesley Norris; I was born a slave on the plantation of George Parke Custis; after the death of Mr. Custis, Gen. Lee, who had been made executor of the estate, assumed control of the slaves, in number about seventy; it was the general impression among the slaves of Mr. Custis that on his death they should be forever free; in fact this statement had been made to them by Mr. C. years before; at his death we were informed by Gen. Lee that by the conditions of the will we must remain slaves for five years; I remained with Gen. Lee for about seventeen months, when my sister Mary, a cousin of ours, and I determined to run away, which we did in the year 1859; we had already reached Westminster, in Maryland, on our way to the North, when we were apprehended and thrown into prison, and Gen. Lee notified of our arrest; we remained in prison fifteen days, when we were sent back to Arlington; we were immediately taken before Gen. Lee, who demanded the reason why we ran away; we frankly told him that we considered ourselves free; he then told us he would teach us a lesson we never would forget; he then ordered us to the barn, where, in his presence, we were tied firmly to posts by a Mr. Gwin, our overseer, who was ordered by Gen. Lee to strip us to the waist and give us fifty lashes each, excepting my sister, who received but twenty; we were accordingly stripped to the skin by the overseer, who, however, had sufficient humanity to decline whipping us; accordingly Dick Williams, a county constable, was called in, who gave us the number of lashes ordered; Gen. Lee, in the meantime, stood by, and frequently enjoined Williams to lay it on well, an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done. After this my cousin and myself were sent to Hanover Court-House jail, my sister being sent to Richmond to an agent to be hired; we remained in jail about a week, when we were sent to Nelson county, where we were hired out by Gen. Lee’s agent to work on the Orange and Alexander railroad; we remained thus employed for about seven months, and were then sent to Alabama, and put to work on what is known as the Northeastern railroad; in January, 1863, we were sent to Richmond, from which place I finally made my escape through the rebel lines to freedom; I have nothing further to say; what I have stated is true in every particular, and I can at any time bring at least a dozen witnesses, both white and black, to substantiate my statements: I am at present employed by the Government; and am at work in the National Cemetary on Arlington Heights, where I can be found by those who desire further particulars; my sister referred to is at present employed by the French Minister at Washington, and will confirm my statement.
Tell me, does this sound like a man who would support the abolition of slavery in the CSA?
 
Reading the posts on this thread, I find it interesting that some of the things people don't like about TL-191, I like, while some of the things that people like about TL-191, I don't like.

For example, while there are some good reasons to criticize the plausibility of a WWII scenario in North America, I actually loved the parallelisms in this part of the story.

Featherston-Hitler
Confederate Freedom Party- Nazi Party
CSA-Nazi Germany
USA-Soviet Union (in terms of military power)
Blacks-Jews
Population Reduction-Holocaust
Superbombs-Atomic bombs
Morrell-[Rommel/Eisenhower fusion]

I was thoroughly entertained in seeing the Confederacy and everything it stands for finally getting crushed by the USA.
 
Reading the posts on this thread, I find it interesting that some of the things people don't like about TL-191, I like, while some of the things that people like about TL-191, I don't like.

For example, while there are some good reasons to criticize the plausibility of a WWII scenario in North America, I actually loved the parallelisms in this part of the story.

Featherston-Hitler
Confederate Freedom Party- Nazi Party
CSA-Nazi Germany
USA-Soviet Union (in terms of military power)
Blacks-Jews
Population Reduction-Holocaust
Superbombs-Atomic bombs
Morrell-[Rommel/Eisenhower fusion]

I was thoroughly entertained in seeing the Confederacy and everything it stands for finally getting crushed by the USA.
Your taste, of course, and nothing wrong with that. However, for others like me, the parallelism smacks somewhere between boring (why not actually examine CHANGES stemming from the myriad knock-on effects from the POD and immediate result?) and insulting (IMO the CSA + Jim Crow South on its worst behavior was waaay better than Nazi Germany on its best behavior, scary as that thought is). Plus, one could argue that the schadenfreude of seeing an obnoxious regime being crushed so thoroughly is cathartic/satisfying for one reader, but for another is pointless hateporn.

For me, the best part of the series is HFR and the Great War trilogy, especially the latter. If one looks at the OTL fighting at Petersburg, it's interesting how much of trench warfare was lampshaded and seeing it carried forward to a logical point in evolution (that is, WWI-level technology) for me. Beyond that, it becomes an examination of a Nazi expy that IMO doesn't fit a slavocracy like the OTL Apartheid RSA does. That plus the clumsy handling of the Mormons, Canada, and scant look at the world beyond North America sort of sinks the franchise for me. That, and the fact that Turtledove's prose isn't anything to write home about leaves any value for me solely in concept/worldbuilding, which I just said ends up falling apart.
 
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