Harry Turtledove's second multivolume saga of 20th-century "alternative history," How Few Remain, takes place in a world in which the Confederate States win the Civil War and in 1914, allied with England and France, go to war against the United States once more. All the horrors of World War I, such as trench warfare and mustard gas, are present, only this time they're situated in a North American theater of operations where the U.S. fights enemies on both its northern and southern borders while Confederate blacks, studying up on left-wing radicals Karl Marx and Abe Lincoln, prepare for the revolution. As in Turtledove's earlier Worldwar series, the majority of attention is paid to an assortment of people at the battlefields and home fronts, their stories unfolding in gradual increments that, at least so far, only intermittently connect with each other. And there's not as much in the way of "real" historical figures popping up in this first volume of The Great War series, save for cameo appearances by U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt, Confederate president Woodrow Wilson, an aging General Custer, and a handful of others. It remains to be seen whether future entries in the series will feature such obvious candidates for inclusion as the young Ernest Hemingway, and how they'll appear in this strange new world. --Ron Hogan
From Publishers Weekly
This masterpiece of alternate history takes place in the same world as Turtledove's How Few Remain and begins a projected tetralogy of a First World War fought with Germany and the U.S. allied against Britain, France and the Confederacy. The reader is drawn in at once as a German cruiser approaches Boston and Jeb Stuart III trains his artillery on the Capitol Dome, and Turtledove sustains high interest throughout the lengthy narrative. As in How Few Remain, the author gives full recognition to social and economic factors (e.g., how conscription impacts politics; how labor shortages affect the position of barely emancipated blacks in the Confederacy). He also plausibly depicts the opening stages of race war. In addition, he unleashes the horrors of trench warfare on American soil and shows how an American army of occupation might look from the point of view of the occupied Canadians. With shocking vividness, Turtledove demonstrates the extreme fragility of our modern world, and how much of it has depended on a United States of America. This is state-of-the-art alternate history, nothing less. Author tour.
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