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If The South Had Won The Civil War
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If The South Had Won The Civil War

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3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  210 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The Past is a strange place indeed . . . everything could have been so different so easily.
Just a touch here and a tweak there . . . .

MacKinlay Kantor, Pulitzer Price-winning author and master storyteller, shows us how the South could have won the Civil War: how two small shifts in history (as we know it) in the summer of 1863 could have turned the tide for the Confederacy...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 3rd 2001 by Forge Books (first published January 1st 1965)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 591)
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TK421
One topic I really love reading about is the Civil War. Besides the obvious implications this event had on American history, the Civil War is a bastion of "what if" type of thinking.

What if England or France had entered the war?

What if the South had won at Gettysburg?

What if this or that general/officer had not been killed?

These are generalizations, mind you, but you get the point.

IF THE SOUTH HAD WON THE CIVIL WAR takes these what-ifs and goes beyond the Civil War to ask: How would America be...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I was torn betwee 3 and 4 stars for this one but went with the four for the history interest. I read this back in the mid 1960s while I was in school, a history teacher recommended it.

Basicly you get a picture that with a few odd changes in history (Grant killed in an accident etc.) things could have been different. not great literature, but interesting history manipulation in a "what if" sense.
Leah Lucci
I had envisioned this to be like an alternate-history novel in the same vein as, for example, Man in the High Castle. It wasn't like that at all, which isn't really its fault. I just went in with the wrong expectations.
Rob Roy
My first foray into Alternate History. I was fascinated.
Jonathan Palfrey
This short book is an exercise in alternate history, setting out how the South might have won the American Civil War, and what might have happened afterwards—up until 1960, when the text was written.

The book is well written in a plausible style that makes it superficially convincing and quite pleasant to read, for anyone with an interest in the subject. The author has a good knowledge of his subject and also wrote heftier books about the Civil War.

His first change in history is excellent: a very...more
Peter Castine
An alternative history should, perhaps, not be judged too critically since it is only one of many, many possible alternatives. Still, the notions that the South would have voluntarily ended slavery as soon as Kantor suggests strikes me as a little unlikely. The ability of a divided American military to work together with the cohesion needed to still help win the two World Wars seems a stretch. And given the regional divisiveness in contemporary American politics, the final pages of the book seem...more
Gordon Howard
A very short book, probably because it was originally a very long magazine article. It definitely takes a sanguine view of events after 1863 in an alternate history, with the slaves being freed by the 1880's and the south and north reuniting around 1960 (when the book was written). After an interesting start, it just sort of peters out by the early 20th century.
Rob
I think I read this in grade school...
So, Grant's horse throws him and he breaks his neck. The South takes advantage and wins the War. Now there are three other countries besides Canada in North America: The United States, The Confedaracy (I think that what they called it) and Texas. Funny how things work out once the 20th Century begins and the World Wars hit.
Scott
An interesting look at the turn of events if the Conferderates had won the Civil War. The turn of events was caused by the death of an important Union General. The book was originally published in Look Magaizine in 1961.
Jim
Read as a teenager.....like the Cold War Spin...the US, Texas and CSA reunite to stop Stalin's buildup....in Russian Alaska...back in the 80's a scary premise....in the 21st Century a hilarious premise.
Yvensong
Aug 26, 2009 Yvensong rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Alternate History Fans
Recommended to Yvensong by: Ralph McEwen
Shelves: bookcrossing
Written like a history book by an interesting history author, the novel explores the Civil War and the aftermath IF a few elements changed enough to allow the South to win the War.
Ed
I have avoided counter factual history for obvious reasons, but I saw this book at charity book sale so… It is clever. Grant dies before taking Vicksburg etc. That the author then imagines Lincoln captured and assassinated anyway seemed tasteless. But what really disturbed me was the implication that if the South had won the war the slaves would have been freed anyway and all the horrors of Jim Crow would seemingly have been avoided. The book was published in 1961 and so it gave me a feeling for...more
Dooley
I'm a born-and-bred northerner who has been south of the Mason-Dixon line several times. Each and every time I've footed around "Confederate" country, I am astonished with the level of southern sentiment that still emanates from the Civil War era. The sentiment varies from the Ford F-150 pickup truck littered with Dixie flag bumper stickers to volumes of Southern literature found in any tourist book or trinket shop. Inside my imaginative head, I've always played the "what if?" game to its conclu...more
Geoff Kabaservice
I read this when I was a child and didn't really understand it. Now I appreciate the author's what-if hypothesis -- that the South would have won if Grant had been killed before he prevailed at Vicksburg and if Lee had told Ewell to take Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg -- but the book seems dated in its ignorance of any factor beyond military tactics and terribly naive in its belief that the South would have voluntarily abolished slavery and granted equal rights to African-Americans.
Jim Vuksic
I am not a big fan of the alternative history genre; however, I was fascinated by the tremendous impact that a Confederate States of America might have had upon the entire world for decades following the South emerging victorious in the Civil War.

The author cleverly and realistically follows this what-if scenario all the way through to the end of World War II in which The United States and Confederate States of America form an alliance against a common foe.
K8
Disappointing. Utterly neglected economic issues of starting a new nation. The idea that the South would have totally peacefully ended slavery AND RACISM 20 years later if just left to themselves... sure. Sure. I bet that's how it would happen. Because clearly in the North we have no racism because we came to abolitionism ourselves.

I had high hopes but found this weak and wanting.
Jack
I first read this book about 1961-1962. The centennial of the Civil War was in full swing and here was a book that said THE SOUITH WON! And it is plausible....
I had forgot about the footnotes.Scatter among the pages are footnotes. Look closely at them. Very closely.
Iris
This is one of the least interesting works of speculative fiction I have ever read. Although the premise is interesting on its surface, I found the writing dry and no more than a cursory treatment of the subject.
Carol Evans
I was looking forward to reading this book and parts of it was interesting. However, if it weren't for the fact that it's a very short book, I would have stopped reading it. Basically boring.
Fredrick Danysh
A hypothetical view of what the United States might be like today if the Confederate States of America had successfully succeed from the Union.
Benjamin Barnes
It was far to short but an interesting piece of alternate history
Clay Davis
A pretty good book with a suprise twist at the end.
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16893
Benjamin McKinlay Kantor, was an American journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He wrote more than 30 novels, several set during the American Civil War, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1956 for his 1955 novel Andersonville

Kantor was born in Webster City, Iowa, in 1904. His mother, a journalist, encouraged Kantor to develop his writing style. Kantor started writing seriously as...more
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