Kenny's Reviews > The Guns of the South

The Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove
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Nov 25, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-historical
Recommended for: civil war buffs
Read in November, 2007

The difficult thing about alternate history is that one must know the original history to recognize the departures therefrom. The wonderful thing about alternate history is it challenges you to become more informed about the original history, which I have done as I read this slow-moving but ultimately satisfying Civil War tale of the 19th century Confederacy gaining access to 20th century weapons: AK-47 machine guns. The only drawback is the author's clear 20th century POV: slavery is so wrong, and the proponents thereof (time-traveling Nazis!) are so distasteful, that the anti-slavery argument is too heavy-handed, though the historical aspects, especially the battles, are handled with aplomb and subtlety. Ahh: the problem with time-traveling authors is they take their modern sensibilities with them, just as the Nazis did. It would have been more interesting to have the divide between the bigoted Nazis and the honorable R.E. Lee be a bit narrower. Overall, a worthy effort. I intend to check out more of Turtledove's alternate history efforts.
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