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The Center Cannot Hold (American Empire, #2)
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The Center Cannot Hold (American Empire #2)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,951 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews

In this spectacular, thought-provoking epic of alternate history, Harry Turtledove has created an unparalleled vision of social upheaval, war, and cutthroat politics in a world very much like our own—but with dramatic differences.

It is 1924—a time of rebuilding, from the slow reconstruction of Washington’s most honored monuments to the reclamation
Paperback, 640 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2002)
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Jul 13, 2010 Kb rated it it was amazing
More familiar historical figures showing up in different contexts and more of the world going to Hell in a hand basket as reactionaries take control of the Confederate government. Characters introduced as young children in novels from the previous series are now getting married and having children of their own. The breadth of these narratives is amazing.
Jun 20, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it
I somehow missed Turtledove's birthday last week. A few signs you've read too much Turtledove: You're automatically suspicious of any political movement that crows too loudly about "freedom", you can envision Mormon suicide bombers, and you wonder how World War II would have turned out if alien lizards invaded Earth in the middle of it.
Tim Basuino
May 31, 2014 Tim Basuino rated it liked it
Occasionally while perusing a book store, I'll see that a particular novel has multiple authors, which always had me wondering as to why. After reading a succession of Harry Turtledove novels, I am starting to understand the impetus.

Turtledove is outstanding when it comes to contemplating 'what-if' scenarios - hence his presence as one of the most popular alternate history writers. But he's downright inadequate in terms of writing dialogue, which prevents him from reaching the category of 'great
Aug 28, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it
This is the sixth installment in Turtledove’s sweeping epic retelling of American history based on the Confederate States of America winning the Civil War and establishing their independence. Having posited a redux of that war a generation later, and re-imagined World War I with the USA and the CSA on opposite sides, he has now moved on to the decades between the two World Wars.

The USA, as one of the victors in the Great War, has become an empire, having annexed significant portions of the CSA a
The continuation of the long and intricate alternate history track Harry Turtledove began with a "what if" change of events during the Civil War. For me, this series is addictive. The characters and events are intriguing and I want to know what happens next.
Mike Hedley
I've read several HT books, including several in this series. While the narrative is good and overall enjoyable reading, I found several aspects to be unrealistic, no matter that it's "alternate history". The first is the tiny part Britain plays, even being defeated in Northern Ireland by the Irish (with help from the Yanks of course). No mention of the naval battles against Germany which, but for some bad luck (and some glitches in British ship design) could have led to the routing of the Germa ...more
Jul 23, 2009 Ryan rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The other John
Apr 25, 2015 The other John rated it liked it
This is the middle volume of the American Empire trilogy, volume six of the story arc in which the South's victory in the Civil War makes the North American continent a place of hatred and bloodshed. At this point, the whole story has run out of steam, somewhat. This part of the tale runs from the early 1920s until 1932. Things happen, but life during the boom of the Roaring 20's and the depressed 30s isn't quite as dramatic as it was during wartime. The characterization is still good, and I'll ...more
Michael Thompson
Jun 11, 2015 Michael Thompson rated it liked it
You gotta read this series if you want to understand Turtledove's subsequent series taking place during WWII. Mostly politics, it shows the rise of a fascist state in the South which will lead to WWII.
Oct 30, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well thought out alternative history, though it does feel like more effort was put into developing the characters rather than the plot.

That being said, I've read this before any other books in Turtledove's alternative American history.
Holden Attradies
Like most of the books in this series the ones in the middle of story arcs tend to be slow. But unlike the other middle books the last half of this book really picks up steam. Now I'm not complaining about the slow pace. That slow, detailed pace is why I adore these books. But when things keep you on the edge of your seat like the rise to power of Jake Featherston in the end of this book it's really hard to stop reading (or listening in this case). This book has such a good ending in fact that i ...more
Feb 28, 2010 Bob rated it really liked it
This was an alternative history book set mostly in the early 1900s in what we know as the US and Canada but in this book things are quite different. It was a fairly good read even though I didn't read its predecessors. I am going to defer to the description found a the web site listed here for a much better description.
ISBN - 0-345-44421-3, Alternative History, Pages - 547, Print Size - R, Rating - 4
All books reviewed are from the library or purchased by
Feb 02, 2016 Brad rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I usually enjoy Turtledove novels.
Maybe as I am reading the American Empire Series as a block, and after 1200+ pages, am I suffering from fatigue. I am still keen to continue on, so the story is still engaging. However instead of being a ripping yarn, it seems to have bogged down in too much character developing/living their normal (boring) lives as the world turns on Turtledove's alternate axis.

Onwards and upwards!
Dec 03, 2013 Brentman99 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who read the Great War series.
Another good book in a fun series. Turtledove works the period between the wars quite well. I love how the characters interact and the plots are quite interesting. This series was so enjoyable that it was worth the time spent reading as the payoff is great. I really enjoyed this series.
Peter Federman
Nov 10, 2012 Peter Federman rated it really liked it
Finished! Next one downloaded and ready to go. I am loving the storyline but to be honest, there are some things that get too repetitive. Turtledove treats each book as if you have not read the predecessor, which seems highly unlike. Nonetheless, I am pushing on!!!
Oleksiy Kononov
Jun 18, 2014 Oleksiy Kononov rated it it was amazing
Despite the plot was getting more and more predictable (parallels between CSA and post-WWI Germany), the reading was captivating. Looking forward to finishing the trilogy
May 15, 2013 Robert rated it liked it
An interesting take on the years 1921-1933 in a world where the Confederate States won the American Civil War (or in this world the War of Secession).
Mar 30, 2013 Kelli marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Sean Fornelli
May 13, 2014 Sean Fornelli rated it really liked it
Second time read. I decided to go back and reread this series to get me properly into the followup books.
Mar 16, 2008 Rick rated it liked it
This is where the series really started to drop off, by paralleling events of our time line too closely.
Jenny Richard
Dec 10, 2010 Jenny Richard rated it really liked it
Really interesting to look at history from a new angle. I love the "what ifs"
Richard Symonds
Ace. Dragged a bit near the end...
Nov 29, 2012 None added it
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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

American Empire (3 books)
  • Blood & Iron (American Empire, #1)
  • The Victorious Opposition (American Empire, #3)

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