The Guns of the South
Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: Its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal...more
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Otherwise, most of book's content is appropriate to all ages.(less)
Hell, I don’t know, I haven’t read that many, but this one was pretty damn good.
SPOILER ALERT! In this book, the South wins the Civil War! OK, so not that much of a spoiler, I think that’s on the cover. But HOW that happens is how Turtledove makes this interesting.
A group of racist South Africans goes back in time and equips General Lee’s army with AK-47s. The added firepower was all the crafty old tactician needed to turn the tide on Grant and Lincoln.
So what ha ...more
The time travelers from a decade ahead of our own ...more
That's it, really. Guns of the South is simply that premise followed to one possible conclusion. Though the premise is fantastical, it is slyly subversive: in following the most popular general "what if" of alternate history (South Wins the Civil War), Turtledove is able to prey on t ...more
I shouldn't have bothered with this. It was really poorly written in parts, especially any time dialogue had to provide some kind of exposition, and plus it made me feel a little dirty to have to root for the Confederates, as they are the heroes of the book. I knew the basic plot: a group of 21st Century racist South Africans travel back in time and give AK-47s to the Confederates so they will win the Civil War. What I didn't realize w ...more
Time to make shish kebab out of another sacred cow. Guns of the South is considered THE alternate history novel by many, the one alternate history novel that should be required reading in history classes and on just about every historian's list of must-read Civil War books. And to be fair, it's almost that good. Really.
As with most fiction of the speculative type, especially alternate-history speculative fiction, the plot can be summed up by ask ...more
Honestly, the concept is brilliant--white supremacists go back in time, help the South win the Civil War with AKs, and it just goes on from there. But man, I lost count of the number of times someone said the war was about keeping slaves, only to be shouted down by people saying that no, really it was about freedom and states' rights. For crying out loud.
Aside from that (which isn't all that bad, it just stands out once you no ...more
It's truly one of those "can't put it down" novels. The way he recreates past events and images with his "twists", shows a mind that thinks outside the box.
"Enfield, Springfield, throw them in the cornfield". ...more
Again, unlike many of his other books, characters are a strength here, bolstered, I think, by the fact that he choses just a few people to focus on, rather than the dozens of on-going characters he usually fills his works with. Robert E. Lee is an interesti ...more
With this story I have to wonder who the intended audience is. I doubt the Confederate pride people will be happy at the reminder of just how horrible slavery truly was (even if Southerners are the protagonists), whereas it was phys ...more
Earns his alternate history reputation
I've been interested in the alternate history genre, and finally picked up some Turtledove. (The local library had a copy, and this is a standalone book, as opposed to starting one of his big series in the middle)
The story offers an interesting point of divergence and series of events following from it. The analogues to and aspects from real history are meticulously well-detailed. I sensed that throughout the book, and ...more
"What if the Confederacy won?" is an interesting thought experiment, or possibly a term paper for History class, but the act of basing a novel on it is a whole different can of worms. It involves vivid scenes of wholesale slaughter of troops being mowed down by automatic weapons. Horrific details on the fates of slaves freed by the Union and recaptured by a victorious South. A darker world ...more
Turtledove's Guns of the South, provides a rollicking good read as well as a great deal of insight into some of the common causes cited for the Civil War and why so many factors contributed to the Confederacy's defeat.
A fair criticism can be made that this book is not alternative history in the purest sense of the word. A more common scenario in such tales might more practically be derived from something like having the South win at Gettysburg. However, the addi ...more
For me, there were a couple of key issues. The first was how long it took to describe how the time-traveling racists taught the Confederates how to use their new guns. There were several other sections that had a lot of excess detail. I'm more interested in the plot and character development than explanations about how stupid people from the past are and how cult-like ...more
This book doesn't shy away from addressing the issue of slavery, and in f ...more
Surprisingly, this is a LOT more than that. Turtledove looks, really LOOKS, at what would happen if the Confederacy gained ...more
I guess, fortunately, I've been sick, so I've had the ability to read more or less to my heart's content.
You will learn from this book, but not in the "learning is fun" kind of way--in the way that you'll know the history like you know a good friend. You don't remember just how you learned it, you just did.
And yet you'll also be transported by a skillful piece of science fiction ...more
Look Away: An Alternate History of the Civil War
I have read quite a bit of actual Civil War history and Turtledove has doe his research well. If there are any glaring historical erros, I missed them.
The characterizations of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee are very, very well handled, plus a large cast of secondary characters.
Some of the political problems faced by the new Southern nation are touched on; which I found especially int ...more
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