Mike's Reviews > 1945

1945 by Newt Gingrich
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Mar 05, 2014

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bookshelves: war, reviewed, alternative-history

I read this book at a time in my life when I was devouring everything WWII (roughly late middle-school to early high school). I similarly devoured 1945 and immensely enjoyed it. What if Germany and the U.S. never ended up going to war after Pearl Harbor? I thought the conclusions Newt and Forstchen drew were actually pretty reasonable: Germany gets its act together and pacifies most of the Western Soviet Union, America cleans Japan's clock and then pushes on to prop up the Chinese Nationalists, Great Britain is in a tense armistice with Nazi Europe, and the Manhattan Project progress is slowed down.

Given these circumstances it makes a lot of sense that a somewhat paranoid Germany would want to deliver a crushing blow to America's atomic bomb efforts before going for all the proverbial marbles.

From what I can recall (it has been more than a few years) the plot was nicely paced, there was a good bit of action, and very little overt political messages (save, perhaps, for extolling the virtues a privately held firearms and citizen militias). I thought the ending did a great job closing out the book and setting up for the inevitable clash between America and Nazi Europe...

...but that never happened. Seriously, this book came out in the mid-1990's and as far as I can tell there will never be a sequel. We will never find out who would win in a fight between Rommel and Patton in the English Countryside, if the makeshift improvements the Americans can make to their weapons can overcome or blunt Germany's technological advantage, if Stalin will end up stabbing Hitler in the back at the least convenient time. It is not like Newt is doing much these days (though how much he contributed to these endeavor is unclear).

At the end of the day the potential of this book is squashed by the lack of any follow through making it, in retrospect, a somewhat empty experience and waste of a great "what if" story.
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