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Breakthroughs (The Great War, Book 3) Hardcover – August 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The historian and the creative writer unite in Turtledove to craft another impressive novel, this one the third in his series about an alternate WWI (American Front, Walk in Hell), which has seen a weakened Confederate States of America not only combating the U.S.A. but facing a communist revolt from within staged by its black slaves. In this imaginative sequel, Turtledove displays his usual mastery at maintaining suspense across a broad canvas, with characters that fans will be glad to encounter again: feisty Southern aristocrat Anne Colleton leads a group of militiamen to try to wrest control of her shattered plantation, Marshlands, from the Reds; short-order cook Nellie Semphroch and her amorous daughter escape trial as collaborators thanks to a visit from Teddy Roosevelt; General Custer and his unprecedented command of the army's "barrels"AtanksAdivision leads to the U.S. scoring some lightning-fast victories. Peace is won, but at a high cost: working mother Sylvia Enos must face the future without a job and as a widow, while Confederate sub commander Roger Kimball may face a war crimes tribunal. Echoing the Treaty of Versailles, the victors make the grave mistake of punishing their enemies so that they dream of revenge. Although a complete and skillfully executed tale in itself, this epic story leaves enough plot threads dangling to demand a fourth novel to tie them up. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As World War I rages across a divided American continent, the beleaguered United States seeks the opportune moment to gain revenge against its Confederate enemies regardless of the cost. Building on the momentum of the previous two series novels, The Great War: American Front and The Great War: Walk in Hell, Turtledove follows his large cast of historical and fictional characters through the turning point of the war to end all wars. Alternate history's grand master displays his acute knowledge of American history as well as his keen imagination as he paints a vivid portrait of a past that could have been. A good choice for most libraries.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Great War, Book 3 (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345405633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345405630
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

Customer Reviews

The US is allied with Kaiser Wilhem andthe Confederates with France and Great Britain.
richard emerine
This is the third volume of Turtledove's THE GREAT WAR trilogy, and the fourth book in the eleven-book series that began with How Few Remain.
I particularly like to keep up with various characters that he has developed rather nicely,such as Jake Featherston and Cinncinnatus.
Rodger Raubach

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeph Gord on August 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The Great War series has been excellent, and this is undoubtedly the best so far! The pace of the action picks _way_ up, and doesn't slow down till the end.
I haven't reviewed the previous two books, so I'll start with a few words about the series in general, for the benefit of those who haven't read them. It is set in the same world as Turtledove's earlier (and highly recommended) "How Few Remain". In this world, the Confederates won the battle of Antietam, and went on to secede from the Union with help from Britain and France. The first book ("The Great War: American Front") opens up in 1914 with the beginning of World War I. The war in Europe goes much as it did in real life, with Britain, France, and Russia squaring off against Germany and Austro-Hungary. At this point, however, things get more complicated. The CSA is quick to join the war on the side of its old friends, Britain and France. The US is equally quick to join the war on the side of its one European ally, Germany. The result is a bloody, grinding trench war along the US-Confederate and US-Canadian borders, accompanied by battles between the US and British Pacific fleets. Like the real WWI, the result is slow, gory, and not terribly decisive. It is tense and well told, but not much land changes hands.
In "The Great War: Breakthroughs", this changes very quickly. What has long been a war of positions makes the slow but inexorable transformation into a war of mobility.
Throughout the series, many new tactics and technologies have been introduced. In this volume, they really begin to pay off. The result is some of the fastest, most exciting military-SF action to be found this year.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The final book of the Great War trilogy, I was a bit disappointed to see Turtledove stick to his rather annoying habit of mirroring the actual events. In this book, he has basically turned the CSA into the Germany of 1917-1919 that we know. A breakthrough that cannot be plugged up allows an enemy to penetrate deep into the countryside, forcing an armistice. The currency is devaluated, and the disgruntled army is still semi-mobilized waiting to avenge themselves. (If you replace Featherston with Hitler, "Over Open Sights" with "Mein Kampf", and the Richmond War Department with Munich Beer Hall and jump ahead approximately 5-10 years, then the last few chapters make more sense.) It is rather evident what the sequel will bring: Jake Featherston as a Hitler-type leader of the CSA, bringing a holocaust on the blacks as "backstabbers" of the Confederacy, with another minor character (probably someone from this series-Major Potter or Jeff Pinkard?)as his Himmler. In the USA, Irving Morrell will have evolved into an advocate of armored warfare, maybe one of the British desert war generals?? However, I must say that Dr. Turtledove's style is intriguing and I can't wait to read his conclusion, especially what he will do with the European situation and where he will place the Battle of Britain.
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36 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Robert Daguillard on August 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Book III of Turtledove's "Great War" tetralogy answers most of the questions asked in "American Front" and "Walk in Hell," while hinting at those to be confronted in Volume IV, settling account.
This volume, while very well written, is also the hardest and least optimistic, thus far, of the series: An invitation, perhaps, to carry the "Great War" timeline on to World War II?
More than anything, "Breakthroughs" rests on a shaky intellectual basis, as does the rest of the "Great War" series.
There are few surprises from Volume II: Tanks, airplanes, poison gas and sheer manpower propel the US-German alliance on to victory while, one after the other, the CSA and its allies must sue for peace. The Americans logically resolve to annex whatever territories they've conquered.
Turtledove's character development remains strong even as events become more dramatic. Bigotry and bitterness co-exist in many a heart. Confederate Soldier Jake Featherston, who blames the defeat on blacks and C.S. brass, is a sure candidate to lead a postwar, Nazi-like Ku Klux Klan.
Turtledove gives too much treatment to superficial, unpleasant Anne Colleton and her cowardly servant Scipio. But he is at his best when dealing with the defeated: Canadian Farmer Arthur McGregor, who becomes an embittered monster, recoiling at nothing to gain revenge; and one-time C.S. bigot Reggie Bartlett, who actually becomes a better man -no small feat in wartime- as he learns to give blacks a measure of respect. The author's minor literary offenses are not enough to detract from the general quality of the series.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Cody Carlson VINE VOICE on September 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I was a little skepitcal when I read the first book in this series, 'American Front.' I felt it conatined far too many characters and situations that the overall story would get lost in the shuffle. This fear followed me into the next book, 'Walk in Hell.' Although 'Walk' was a lot better I was worried that Turtledove was missing out on some great ideas with regaurds to the way the European war progressed and also the political aspects of the war in the two Americas. But I am happy to say that the new book in the series, 'Breakthroughs,' addresses these aspects of the war in a wonderful and satisfying way. As the war continues, new tactics are employed that allow the U.S. to force her enemies to seek peace- but that's just the beginning of the troubles that lie ahead, troubles that both Yankees and Rebs simply aren't prepared for. In the north the U.S. must learn to integrate it's hard-won conquests into the union, in the south confederates stuggle to adjust to humiliation and defeat and turtledove even gives a character with disturbing parrellels to Adolf Hitler during his time in the trenches. Far and away the best of the series so far (excluding 'How Few Remain') this is a fun romp through what might have been. Turtldove is once again on top of his game!
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