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The Disunited States of America (Crosstime Traffic #4)

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  522 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Time travel doesn't work. You can't go backward or forward; you're stuck at "now". What you can do is travel sideways, to the same "now" in another timeline where history turned out differently.

So far, only our home timeline has figured out how to do that. We use Crosstime Traffic to conduct discreet trading operations in less advanced timelines, selling goods just a littl
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Tor Books
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Diane Ferbrache
Beckie is on a trip with her grandmother to visit old friends in Virginia. Justin is on a trip to Virginia to gain information he can parlay into a college scholarship. When Ohio unleashes a mutated virus that begins a race war in Virginia, the two teenagers are trapped in small town Virginia, longing to be back home.

Set in an alternate universe of the late 21st Century North America, this is a love story/coming of age drama masking as a time travel adventure. In this North America, there are ma
Oct 25, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok
My first read by Turtledove, and quite likely my last. I tired quickly of Terry Goodkind's objectivist polemic, even though mildly sympathetic to some of the relevant ideals; with Turtledove'a Disunited States, the preachiness factor is turned up to eleven and frankly there are no redeeming factors. The story is boring, the characters are one-dimensional and entirely predictable, the setting is straight out of a Rachel Maddow rant,* and the sci-fi premise is barely delved. Turtledove ignores the ...more
Bath Book Shop
May 06, 2011 Bath Book Shop rated it it was ok
Well, I can't really say this book was bad, but it wasn't very good.

The premise had so much promise, and then... it was really boring. I mean, I finished it, but I wasn't particularly happy about it.

The only things I actually liked about it were 1) Justin, the main character, uses the term "stephenkinging" to describe his (possibly justified) paranoia about being a stranger in a small town during a war, and 2) when discussing George Herman, the best rounders player who ever lived (in the "altern
Feb 23, 2015 Randal rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
According to his author bio, Turtledove has a PhD. If he talks like he writes, I hope he hasn't actually taught.
That's because this is a curiously slow-moving, preachy novel. Turtledove constantly goes back over the same lite philosophical ground about slavery, race relations and the challenges of moving between parallel universes.
As a longtime sci-fi reader, I get that some authors throw too many concepts at readers for them to grasp; this is the opposite. He repeatedly has characters go over t
Oct 27, 2016 Lora rated it liked it
My teen son and I read this together and liked it. It was interesting to read one of my late husband's favorite authors, but in a young adult version.

The book tells us what the US future could look like - short on resources but with the ability to secretly travel to alternate timelines where resources are more plentiful. It also tells what the future could have looked like if the US had split into multiple nations in the 1800s.

The two timelines are deceptively similar, and cross-time traveller
Apr 30, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok
This is actually the fourth book in the CROSSTIME TRAFFIC series but I didn't know that when I took the book on for review. No worries though since it read pretty much as a standalone. I'm going to take a leaping guess here and assume that book one actually explains the whole concept of crosstime traffic and why Justin's home timeline thinks they're the only ones special enough to be able to travel across time. That whole concept just read really wrong to me. That only Justin's timeline had ...more
Magan Vernon
Jun 30, 2011 Magan Vernon rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Justin and his mother work for the Crosstime Traffic Corporation and spend their time traveling to different alternate universes from the home timeline of the late 21st century. In this fourth installment of Turtledove’s Crosstime novels, Justin and his mother travel to an alternate timeline in which the Constitution is never written and the Articles of Confederation failed to work. Each North American state has become like their own country and not all of the states are so friendly with each ...more
Précis A teenage boy and his mother travel to an alternate timeline via Crosstime Traffic, a provider of this service to anyone willing to pay for the unusual vacation of sorts. They are going to Virginia and in this alternate slavery is still the norm as the Constitution was never accepted and the sates are independent countries.

The boy, Justin Monroe, meets Beckie Royer who is visiting an aunt, who lives in Virginia, with her grandmother who is every granddaughter's worst nightmare. They are
Jun 13, 2008 Garrett rated it it was amazing
Overall, I thought that the premise of the book was interesting and the science fiction parts cool. I also got lots of ideas for stories that I want to write.

But, that is about all the good I can say about this book. I found the rest pedantic and simplistic.

Setting: The alternate reality thing was cool. I would have liked to explore it more, but the author didn't do much elaborating and the characters were stuck in a small town for most of the book.

Plot: Again, interesting idea; not executed wel
Aedan Lake
Jul 23, 2011 Aedan Lake rated it liked it
In a neat concept for a series, "Crosstime Traffic" is the story of travellers in alternate realities - a logical development for Turtledove, who has built his career around novels set in worlds removed from ours only by one small historical change (or in a couple of cases, by honking great SF twists such as invading aliens or time-travelling South African white supremacists).

Most of my knowledge of Turtledove comes from his fantastic series "Worldwar" (aliens invade in World War 2) and "Great W
Scott Marlowe
Dec 02, 2010 Scott Marlowe rated it it was ok
The Disunited States of America by Harry Turtledove is an alternate history tale in which the Constitution of the United States was never written. The resulting fallout is that the "united states" become the "disunited states", with each state going down its own road. Advances in society, technology, etc. all occur at different rates within each state. Some still have slavery. Others have achieved the relative amount of equality we enjoy ourselves. Still others have reversed the white/black ...more
Aug 21, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
I had borrowed Rebecca's E-reader to read A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons. After I was finished with those tomes I went poking around and stumbled upon The Disunited States of America. I start reading and it's semi-interesting. Then I begin to find familiar towns and places: Parkersburg, Wirt County, Elizabeth, Prunty. This is a dystopian alternative future set in West Virginia. I was hooked. The plot moves at a steady pace and it is easy to follow the concurrent story lines until the ...more
Catherine Fitzsimmons
Sep 07, 2012 Catherine Fitzsimmons rated it it was ok
In a future in which travel between alternate realities is possible – in which changes in historical events make a very different present – two travelers become stranded in an America where the Constitution was never ratified, resulting in fractured city-states and a Georgia where politically mandated racism is alive and well.

I thought this was an interesting idea, though the writing failed to impress. It tried a little too hard at times to be clever and tongue-in-cheek, and some character react
D. B.
Feb 22, 2016 D. B. rated it it was ok
The Disunited States of America feels like a first draft that didn't quite figure out its story until the final act. Turtledove creates an interesting world--in which the United States has broken up into independent nation states because the Founding Fathers couldn't agree on how to fix the Articles of Confederation, so they simply abandoned the idea of united states--where state-to-state cultural differences are more pronounced and disagreements (major and minor) turn into wars instead of prolo ...more
Mathew Whitney
Apr 24, 2015 Mathew Whitney rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
This book has all the strengths of the previous Crosstime Traffic novels, and fewer of the weaknesses. An alternate timeline closer to the "home timeline" seems to help the author move things along. More time is spent with characters from the alternate timeline, which helps to breathe life into the alternate.

While the books dealing with more modern timelines seem to spend less time dwelling on the differences, the comparisons are still made more often than necessary. The book uses into many of t
Jan 23, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who liked Sliders
The Crosstime series is intended for a young adult audience, generally featuring teens traveling between worlds. This fourth volume continues the story with yet another example of things going wrong. In this case, Justin is along for the ride when a war breaks out, in a world in which the United States...aren't united. The Constitution was never ratified, the Articles of Confederation were eventually seen as a toothless farce, and the country split apart. Historically, this is perhaps the most ...more
Deborah Ideiosepius  omnivorous reader
I did enjoy this story, but not so much that I couldn't put it down. In fact I took a bit break and read another book before finishing it.

There are times when the reading experience becomes ‘work’ because of a certain unwieldy feeling to the writing style. Most of the characters also have a superficiality to them that leaves one uninvolved with their experiences.

Perhaps this reflects how the author felt while writing it; I did not realise until I logged on to goodreads that it was one in a ser
Laina SpareTime
Dec 27, 2014 Laina SpareTime rated it liked it
I have to say, I'm not the biggest science fiction reader. It's just not usually my thing. I don't really have a mind for science and I struggled a bit with it as a kid. And I can tell a lot of that kind of affected my experience reading thing. The kind of writing it was, and sometimes the world-building, was sometimes hard for me to get into and follow. A lot of it just wasn't my cup of tea, but sometimes it was kind of slow, too.

I do think it could be a good book for those kids who tend to ski
Joel Flank
Sep 02, 2013 Joel Flank rated it really liked it
Another solid entry in the parallel world young adult series by Turtledove. In this one, we're taken to a world where the United States successfully rebelled from Britain, but then fell apart, having never adopted a constitution, and instead became a continent made up of individual nation-states that fought and bickered more similar to Europe. The story focuses on a Crosstime agent, Justin, in the State of Virginia who has to deal with war breaking out with Ohio, a bio-engineered plague, being ...more
May 01, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
I don't usually enjoy books of this style. This one is just so well-written I couldn't help it. Mr. Turtledove makes his point without becoming trite or or tedious. The characters are charming (well, some of them are obnoxious, but they are supposed to be, so they're charming too). I found the plot rather predictable, but without being tiresome.

I think the main message of the book is HOPE. There are a million and one reasons to despair, but just a little glimmer of hope, and it's by clinging to
Billy Roper
Jul 03, 2016 Billy Roper rated it did not like it
At the end of the book there are "study guide" questions for youth, indicating that it was written to indoctrinate school-aged children that, as Dr. Pangloss said, we live in the best of all possible worlds, after all. You know how you feel when you're cornered by someone obnoxiously spewing politically correct bullshit at you, and your face gets tight from fake smiling and holding still, hoping they'll let loose and go away for easier prey? No, me either, I always bite back, but reading this ...more
Aug 18, 2008 Eric rated it did not like it
This book was just too slow to start. The main characters have potential. However, they are both children in the company of adult guardians, and by halfway through the book, neither has really done anything. What action there is takes place "off-stage," and is just reported as news. The main characters just sit around and think about how different things are where they come from. I understand that the author wanted to get that point across, but he spent far too long (with too many repetitions) ...more
Geoff Spakes
Nov 24, 2007 Geoff Spakes rated it it was ok
This was a typical Turtledove read, light, quick and reasonably (is that a word?) enjoyable. The one big pet peeve I have about his writing is he'll tell you an in-story fact literally a dozen or more time. One or two times is fine to help the point sink in, but after the 5th or 6th it gets really old and just seems like filler. Like many of his books I've read I found myself skimming alot towards then end just to get finished and to the resolution.
Aug 07, 2008 John rated it liked it
While I found the premise interesting, the characters and situation didn't quite grab me. I hesitate to us the word "formulaic" but the characters certainly felt cookie-cutter to me and I can't really think of a chapter or event that jumped out as memorable to me.

I've heard very good things about Turtledove's historical fiction so I'm willing to give it another try but based solely on this one, I'd probably pass on other works.

May 22, 2014 Zeles rated it it was ok
The book had an outlandish plot and giant gaps, but was well written, humorous, and had an interesting theme. The "love story" was an influence in the story, but did not overtake it in the sense where it was the most important aspect and abandoned all other storylines. Overall it was an okay read and although I will reference it's ideas and plot to my friends, but I will most likely not read it anytime soon.
Aug 21, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
The series is a YA (young adult) mish-mash of time-travel & alternate history... and yet, it works really well. Disnuited States isn't as "deep" as In High Places but it still packs a whallop, imaging a North American continent where the Articles of Confederation stayed in place & the states devolved into hi-tech balzanized countries.

So far, this is the best character writing on the series, as well as one of the more tightly plotted entries from Turtledove. Two big thumbs up!
May 20, 2008 T.J. rated it really liked it
Of the six books for Harry Turtledove's Crosstime series for teenagers, Disunited States is the strongest, and one I'd consider actually teaching in my high school U.S. History class. The major conceit in this novel is the idea that the Articles of Confederation were left to stand and the states became their own feuding republics, a la Latin America. It's a strong and engaging stand-alone novel, although the grandmother in the book gets mighty irritating by page four.
Aug 28, 2007 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf
Good world-premise, stilted dialogue, preachy race-issues subplot, one-dimensional female characters. Strangely dated feeling for a recent book. I can only surmise that the author is a nice enough guy who knows feminism is a good thing, but has never quite been able to imagine women as complex people with, ya know, motivations and agency.
Dec 03, 2013 Patrickburke rated it liked it
When I first began reading The Disunited States of America,I had so many expectations that this book was going to be good. Since reading it, the majority of the book was enjoyable, but the ending was bland and predictable. I would rate this book a 6/10 because it had a great plot just a really boring and predictable ending.
Jun 10, 2008 Darcy rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce
More about Harry Turtledove...

Other Books in the Series

Crosstime Traffic (6 books)
  • Gunpowder Empire (Crosstime Traffic, #1)
  • Curious Notions (Crosstime Traffic, #2)
  • In High Places (Crosstime Traffic, #3)
  • The Gladiator (Crosstime Traffic, #5)
  • The Valley-Westside War (Crosstime Traffic, #6)

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