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Britannia's Fist: From Civil War to World War: An Alternate History Hardcover – September 25, 2008


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Britannia's Fist: From Civil War to World War: An Alternate History + A Rainbow of Blood: The Union in Peril An Alternate History + Hitler Triumphant: Alternate Histories of World War II
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.; 1St Edition edition (September 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574888234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574888232
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Great storytelling, real life characters and plausibility makes this a great read. Can't wait for the next installment."

“Tsouras reaffirms his status as a leading author of alternate military history in this story of a path untaken: the outbreak in 1863 of a war between Great Britain and the Union. The cause of the conflict is plausible, the details of combat are credible, and the narrative is a page-turner. He is a master of synergizing reality and fiction. Readers will look forward eagerly to the next volume in the series.”





“Only a superb historian and a fine storyteller could have written this entrancing book. In the field of alternative history, no other author approaches Peter Tsouras’s command of the actual historical facts—the essential foundation—and classic narrative skill. A grand read from first page to last!”

From the Publisher

"Tsouras reaffirms his status as a leading author of alternate military history in this story of a path untaken: the outbreak in 1863 of a war between Great Britain and the Union. The cause of the conflict is plausible, the details of combat are credible, and the narrative is a page-turner. He is a master of synergizing reality and fiction. Readers will look forward eagerly to the next volume in the series." --Dennis Showalter, professor of history at Colorado College

"Only a superb historian and a fine storyteller could have written this entrancing book. In the field of alternative history, no other author approaches Peter Tsouras's command of the actual historical facts--the essential foundation--and classic narrative skill. A grand read from first page to last!" --Ralph Peters, author of Looking For Trouble, Adventures in a Broken World


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Customer Reviews

As a responsible historian, Tsouras provides the reader with the actual historic accounting of events.
J. Rudy
It focuses a little too much on technology, which is important but less could have been said about the cannons and more about the story.
A. M Robertson
I recommend that this book be picked up by anyone with an interest in the American Civil War or alternate history tastes.
Thomas Potter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Rudy VINE VOICE on September 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Peter Tsouras provides the reader with a fascinating look at "what could have been" during the American Civil War in his latest book "Britannia's Fist". His true mastery is the identification of events and characters from today's footnotes to history that could have had profound influences on history if only the winds of fate had blown differently. Most importantly, Tsouras' gift as a storyteller makes this book a fantastic read.

As a responsible historian, Tsouras provides the reader with the actual historic accounting of events. He identifies the two points where America and Britain came dangerously close to armed conflict - the Trent Affair and the open construction of the Laird Rams, two ironclad commerce raiders destined for the Confederacy. Cooler heads prevailed in both instances ensuring the two nations would not begin open hostilities. Tsouras' story pivots on the question of what would have happened if the English government did not stop the trial runs of the two Laird Rams?

Tsouras cleverly intertwines historically accurate technology development, international relations policy, and actual events with the story of what could have happened. The story is told so well only historians will be able to discern where history and fiction diverge.

The main plot begins by centering on the events leading up to the release of the Laird Rams. President Lincoln, anticipating their escape during their sea trials, sends an adventurous young officer to intercept them before the ships can be married with their Confederate crews and weaponry. The intercept takes place in British international waters, instigating the implementation of the British warplans for a ground invasion from Canada and blue water naval operations.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By JAG 2.0 VINE VOICE on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read some of Mr. Tsouras's other works, and enjoyed them, I bought "Britannia's Fist". I expected the same excellent narratives I had been used to analyzing what could have *realistically* happened if just one or a few different decisions were made.

This is certainly *not* one of his better efforts, IMHO. Union characters act with crystal-ball like precognition. They make decisions and units arrive *exactly* at opportune times, with units *perfectly* matched to the needs of the battle, and with weapons that work *perfectly*.

On the other side, the British arrive at the wrong time, in the wrong place, with the wrong forces, and with weapons that don't work. I was appalled by the sheer *monotony* of it! The Union makes all the RIGHT decisions while the British make all the WRONG ones...every time! Come on!

Another thing I found annoying was the depth of character development. Lincoln is portrayed as a god-like figure and all Union participants are loving, kind, strong, wise, tough - in *perfect* measure! The British figures are two-dimenshional cardboard cutouts!

At many points in the narratives, the author has British historical figures debating on two courses of action and they ALWAYS MAKE THE WRONG DECISION! EVERY TIME! Come on! It's almost like the character is saying: "Well, let's see...if I chose course A, I'll win easily. If I chose course B, it's a huge risk. I'll chose course B because Peter Tsouras wants me to get my butt kicked."

For the record, I've read Mr. Tsouras's other works and found them enlightening as to the potentially pivotal nature of even the smallest decision. His research is usually excellent. I think he's an excellent author, but this isn't one of his best works.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amerigo Vespucci on October 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Britannia's Fist: From Civil War to World War is not a book about the Trent Affair. And given the number of alternate history books released in recent years (1862: A Novel, Stars & Stripes Forever: A Novel of Alternate History (Stars & Stripes Trilogy), etc.) that have revolved around that subject, I immediately gave Tsouras extra points upon cracking this book open. Instead of just another Ameriwank fantasy that has Gatling guns, repeating rifles, and ironclad warships magically produced and used by the most effective commanders in the Union by the end of 1861, what I found was a well-researched, interesting story with at least a semi-plausible backstory. Any potential reader should be warned that this is just the first book in a planned trilogy, however.

Rather than the Trent Affair, Tsouras chooses the diplomatic conflict surrounding the construction of the Laird Rams, a series of ironclad commerce raiders constructed in British shipyards for the Confederate States of America. In our history, American diplomacy and the desire of the British government to avoid war caused the seizure of the rams before they could be turned over to the British government. Here, that government is slightly slower to act, and an American ship attacks the first of the ironclads in British waters before it can be outfitted with guns and a full crew. A British ship attempts to intervene, and is sunk in the process. The public on both sides of the Atlantic is inflamed, and the war is on.
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