A generation after the South won the first American civil War, America writhes once more in the bloody throes of battle. Furious over the annexation of key Mexican territory, the United States declares total war against the Confederate States. And so, in 1881, the fragile peace is shattered.
But this is a new kind of war, fought on a lawless frontier where the Blue and the Grey battle not only each other but the Apache, the outlaw - and even the British Redcoat. For along with France, Britain enters the fray on the Confederate side.
'The wizard of If.' Chicago Sun-Times
'The standard-bearer for alternate history.' USA Today
It's 1881, in a world where the Confederacy won its independence at the Battle of Antietam in 1862. The United States declares war over the Confederate purchase of part of northern Mexico. The Confederate president is James Longstreet, its commanding general is Stonewall Jackson and the man assigned to direct the occupation of the territories is Jeb Stuart. The United States, on the other hand, has to cope with James G. Blaine as president, with generals whom few except Civil War buffs have ever heard of and with junior officers like George Armstrong Custer and an enthusiastic volunteer cavalry colonel named Theodore Roosevelt. With British and French support, the Confederacy wins this second war. Meanwhile, Frederick Douglass continues his fight for civil rights in the North and freedom in the South, and Abraham Lincoln slowly turns to socialism. The novel displays the compelling combination of rigorous historiography and robust storytelling that readers have come to expect from Turtledove, who once again deftly integrates surprising yet believable social, economic, military and political developments. Turtledove's America isn't the escapist fantasy of much alternate history. It's a darker, grimier world, in which much that we have taken for granted has vanished or will never arise save at a terrible price in blood. Its grim nature rings true, however, as Turtledove delivers his most gripping novel since 1992's The Guns of the South.
Our Mr T seems to churn out a book every couple of months. Pulp fiction, literally- formulaic, seemingly produced to be published, three or four chapters at a time in a pulp magazine. And that's no bad thing; it's just not literature. This though is different-well written, scholarly even. Nothing much actually happens, but so what? The best thing he's done by far.