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1862: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Robert Conroy
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

The Civil War comes alive in all its passion and fury–only now the Brits are fighting . . . alongside the Confederacy

Outraged when the U.S. Navy seizes three Confederates aboard an English sailing ship, Britain retaliates by entering the fray in support of the Rebels–and suddenly it’s a whole new war.

Once again, cotton is king as the North’s blockade crumbles before the might of the Royal Navy. While Lincoln confronts the monumental challenge of vanquishing mighty Britannia, the Redcoats revive their 1812 penchant for burning down American cities, and Union troops see Canada as ripe for the picking. From the Mississippi bayou to the Pennsylvania farmlands to the woods of Maine, the great armies of Generals Grant and Lee face off in the nation’s deadliest conflict. And to the victor goes history.

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Conroy is a semi-retired business and economic history teacher living in suburban Detroit.

Product Details

  • File Size: 645 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0345482379
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (December 18, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000XUBD3K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,556 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A great disappointment September 9, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1862, the Union was not winning the Civil War. In 1862, the incompetent John Pope lost the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, which forced Lincoln to reappoint the timid George McClellan to command of the Army of the Potomac. Later the same year, the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg was fought. So why does Conroy think that the Union could defeat both the Confederacy and the world's largest industrial and naval power?

As a previous reviewer has pointed out, in 1862 Britain was the preeminent industrial power. Just as the Union was industrially dominant over the Confederacy, Britain was industrially dominant over the Union. True, the British Army was small and not well led. That's because the Royal Navy was the major British military force. Just as the Union blockade of the South was effective, a British blockade of the North would have brought the Union to a standstill. And if anyone claims that the Union's ironclads would have defeated the Royal Navy, the first British ironclad ship was HMS Warrior, built in 1860. The British were quite aware of the value of ironclads, which is why they stopped building wooden battleships and frigates in 1860. Also, with the exception of USS New Ironsides, American ironclads were not ocean going ships. The British ironclads could safely cross the Atlantic.

I have other complaints about this book. I found the love/sex story to be quite unnecessary (although I did get a chuckle from the mental picture of Allan Pinkerton being found naked, painted red, and chained to a post in a Washington street). To say that the characters are wooden is to give them more subtlety than Conroy portrays. At one point early in the book, HMS Gorgon defeats USS St. Lawrence in a battle. Gorgon is described as a "steam frigate" mounting 74 guns.
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars VASTLY disappointing. July 22, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
(1) Winfield Scott was in eclipse not merely because of McClellan or Cameron. He was extremely old and infirm; he was a stuffy, formal, and arrogant person; and he was a former Presidential candidate.

(2) There is no evidence that Patrick Cleburne was a Fenian; considering he came from middle-class stock (his father was a physician), it's highly unlikely. It's DOUBLY unlikely that anyone in the North would have paid him any attention, since he had fought in not a single battle as of the first mention of him in the book.

(3) Lesbianism was just -not- spoken about- and any American woman of the period would have been scandalized at the very mention of it.

(4) As mentioned, British land forces were nothing like as weak as depicted. The vast inferiority of British leadership is believable; its numerical and material inferiority is NOT.

Finally, the factor that more than anything else spoils the book for me:

(5) Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, is depicted in this book as eager for a war and blithely ignorant or dismissive of American power. This is absolutely the opposite of the historical Lord Pam, who was determined to avoid war with the United States if at all possible. In this book, Palmerston calls for war despite Lincoln backing down, apologizing, even groveling and releasing the Confederate diplomats Mason and Slidell. It just stretches belief too far, for a student of the Civil War, to accept this uncharacteristic action.

I questioned 1901's quick war; I utterly reject virtually every aspect of 1862's war, and the characters and historical figures portrayed in it. I strongly regret buying this book, and I hope other people will read this review and AVOID, AVOID, AVOID.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 1860--blaah humbug August 23, 2006
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1862: A Novel author Robert Conroy demonstrates two things and two things very clearly. The first is that he's no Harry Turtledove and the second, that he isn't the first. That's too bad because had he used even a little more imagination and didn't stretch credulity as much as he did (in an effort to finish this book it seems), he might have given the grand master of alternative history a run for his money.

That said "1862: A Novel" isn't a bad book per se, it's just not a very credible book, even for a "what if" novel. By the end of 1861 the Union was only just beginning to realize the scope of the task before it as it attempted to subdue the Southern states in the US Civil War. It had (barely) survived the debacle of Bull Run while trying to keep Missouri, Maryland and Kentucky from joining the fledgling Confederacy.

The blockade of Southern ports was slowly taking effect while the Army of the Potomac was gathering itself for General McClellan's springtime campaign in Virginia. Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Phil Sheridan, Joshua L. Chamberlain and a host of other later-famous leaders were still largely undiscovered and in the backwaters of the Union's war effort.

Into this mess the real-life Trent Affair took place when Union Captain Charles Wilkes, commanding the United States ship, San Jacinto, forced the British ship, the RMS Trent, carrying two Confederate officials enroute to Europe, to stop at the point of his cannons. He then boarded the ship and kidnapped James M. Mason and John Slidell and sailed back to the US where Wilkes was feted as a hero for capturing the Rebel representatives.

Britain, however, was enraged and demanded an apology, as well as the release of the Confederate envoys.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very exciting novel, very livable
Published 1 month ago by Al oward
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun read, even if you are a Southerner
I found this book in my library, after several years. I enjoyed re-reading it, again. Yes, I know that Mr. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Texican
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read...
I found this to be an interesting concept. It was well written and plausible. I am a Civil War buff so it was nice to compare with how it really went.
Published 4 months ago by J. Herring
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Enjoyed the concept. It could have happened. I am reading another Robert Conroy at this time and plan to read others.
Published 4 months ago by John G. Phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars What if
The author caught the flavor of the Civil war. He even knew that the North's capacity to make things was the reason the South could never have won the war. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Fan
3.0 out of 5 stars Two plots...could've dropped one
This is the second Conroy alternate history I've read and I remain quite impressed with his style and focus on the characters. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Daniel Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Good alternate history - Very Believable and Thought Provoking
This is the second of Conroy' s books that I've read, and as a Civil War history buff, I found it compelling, historically accurate, and completely plausible. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mike P
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story
I am a fan of the alternate time line type stories. This is one of the better. Well researched and uses actual people alonge with his own made up heros. What Might have been.
Published 7 months ago by Jamey!!
1.0 out of 5 stars Logistics, the True Story of War
One of the major failings of so many alterante history novels is the failure to understand not just history, but the geography, technology, economics and logistics of an era. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michael Snyder
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Read
Glad to see a What If story that takes place locally. The story was well-developed with good character development. A-
Published 7 months ago by John P. Braungart
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More About the Author

My next novel, "1882-Custer in Chains," will be published in May, 2015. I had hoped for sooner, but it's the publisher's decision. In my tale, Custer not only survives the fight at the Little Big Horn in 1876, but becomes a war hero and then President of the United States. Urged on by his ambitious wife Libbie, he gets us into a war with Spain with the conquest or liberation of Cuba as its goal. The result is a bloody invasion and a series of battles on both land and sea in which the outcome is never a sure thing. As always, there are a number of historical characters as well as fictional ones. Since 1882 was only seventeen years after the end of the Civil War, memories of that bloody conflict are always present.

As I've written before, I want my alternate histories to be plausible; ergo, no time travel or magic. Now, could Custer have survived? Absolutely yes. He had two Gatling guns that he felt would have slowed him down; therefore, he left them behind. What if some energetic young officer had defied him and brought them just in time to save Custer and what remained of his force from annihilation? Victory for Custer, of course and that is the take off point for 1882-Custer in Chains.

Following on the heels of "Liberty-1784" and "1820-America's Great War," Custer will be my twelfth published novel and it's still a thrill. I wonder what the nuns at now closed St. Ambrose High School would have thought.

Why not check out my website at or email me at

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