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Red Inferno: 1945: A Novel
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Robert Conroy does a fine job with this very plausible alt history scenario. The characters are all well drawn, and I appreciate that the major historical personalities and their reactions to the scenario receive a great deal of attention from the author. It hands down tops Harry Turtledove's "Hitler's War". The battles, weapons, tactics, and strategic goals are all described in great detail.

I have three criticisms of the book, but they don't affect my overall assessment of the story. First, I came across three references to Germany invading Russia in 1940, vice 1941. I thought that perhaps this was somehow part of the alt history scenario, but after finishing the book I believe that it is indeed an error. Second, when the FBI agent Forbes returned to interview Natalie Holt pursuant to upgrading Col. Burke's security clearance, Barnes, who had been Holt's superior at State and who committed suicide earlier in the story, is suddenly speaking as Forbes. I thought I had misread the dialogue, so I went back to the beginning of this specific encounter between Forbes and Holt, but Barnes is definitely speaking as Forbes. This is a very egregious error, and should've been caught by the proofreader/editor. I recall three instances in this case of Barnes speaking when the author meant Forbes. Lastly, I concur with another reviewer who states that Patton seems a rather minor character here, when the actual history of the immediate aftermath of WWII in the ETO had him warning about Soviet intentions and pushing an aggressive response. He also pushed strongly for rehabilitating former Nazis, which eventually cost him his position as Miltary Governor of Bavaria. I believe that in an actual Red Inferno, George S. Patton would have played a major role.

I have enjoyed reading this book, as well as the earlier "1945" about an alternate ending to the war with Japan. I highly recommend "Red Inferno", and look forward to reading Mr. Conroy's next work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
My wife bought this for me as a birthday present. I found it quite good in many ways.

The good.

The author writes very convincing battle scenes. The dialog was very good and plausible. The Russian tank crews were believable. Historically it all rang true.

The bad.

The Potsdam love story was distracting and rather wooden. The Wehrmacht Colonel was not believable. An Armor Colonel missing a leg would have stayed on active duty or been recalled in 1945. He would have been far too valuable not to have been. Especially by 1945.

The other

It is an alternative history. I was not thrilled at how easily the Germans were integrated into the US military. History shows that post 1945 the US became very selective in deciding who was really a "Nazi." That was not the authors problem, rather it is mine. I particularly dislike the idea that Speer got away in this book. He managed to avoid hanging in real life which he deserved, and should have, in real life.

I liked it. It flowed. Not a bad read
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
...you'll probably enjoy this. It's a "what if" novel where WWII heats back up with a US-USSR conflict. Though I can't vouch for the historical accuracy or plausibility of the events, I can say it's a page-turner. It's been quite a while since I've read any fiction, however wondering what would happen next and especially how it would end kept me interested in the story. Other alternate history novels I've really enjoyed were Harry Turtledove's "Guns of the South" (a mysterious group travels from the near-future to arm the South with AK-47s after the loss at Gettysburg - yes, it's all explained) as well as "How Few Remain" (Lee's lost orders get found before falling into Union hands this time). So if you have an interest in the alternate history genre, you'll probably like this.
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on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is my first book written by Robert Conroy. I had great expectations but found out that I had to drop them and concentrate on the novel itself and not the facts.

Conroy writes well. There is flow in the story and a good mix of high and low events. In a book like this it is necessary to mix scenes from the battlefield with scenes from where all important decisions are made. This Conroy does well. You find yourself drawn into the story and keep reading in order to find out how he will finish the the book and what will happen. Considering the characters and how they behave it is mostly without any problems but the central love story is more of a "young adult" variant of writing than a story for grown ups.

What initially irritated me were that Mr Conroy apparently knows not enough about how the Soviet forces operate together with how and when important weapon systems were used. Time and time again you find yourself asking why he did not check up on some facts instead of just add details that are simply wrong or unbelievable. The use of BT-5 tanks in 1945 is just one example. Another is his misuse of "second echelong". Second Echelong is something quite different in Soviet than in western operations. After some time I decided to suppress this irritating feeling and just concentrate on the story instead.

Another thing all through the book is how the US forces are painted in such a fantastic positive light. The Soviets are "impressed" by their abilities. Mr Conroy is an American but some modesty would have been appropriate. The Old US irritation with Montgomery also comes through resulting in a not very positive picture of him. All this creates more of stereotypes when it comes to the various actors than believable people.

But in the end you suppress this because you get caught up in the story and want to find out what is going to happen. I gave this book four stars but they are weak stars. A co-author (or editor) with better knowledge of the actual events and with military back-ground would have helped a lot.
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VINE VOICEon April 13, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Comrade Stalin turns on the Allies.
Very good alternate WW2 history. Robert Conroy does a good job of answering the always intriguing question: What If Stalin turned on the Allies at the end of WW2? As the war in Europe drew to a dramatic close in April 1945, two gigantic Allied armies came together at the Elbe River. In Mr. Conroy's alternate history, Joseph Stalin's paranoia concerning America's supposedly super secret weapon (The Atomic Bomb) drove him to attack the unsuspecting Allied armies in the hopes of dominating Europe before America could use this weapon. He feared if America had "The Bomb" they would control Europe as Hitler did and put Russia at risk of exploitation. Conceivable? Only in the paranoid mind of a man like Stalin. So, like the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Stalin attacked the Allies without warning and another war ensued.

All in all a fairly well thought out scenario. I liked how he had an American army trapped in the Potsdam Pocket as the main Russian force bypassed them to strike at the main American forces under General Omar Bradley. Due to the nature of the sneak attack, and the overwhelming size of the Russian forces involved, Marshal Zhukov (the overall Russian Commander) was able to easily drive the Allied forces eastward toward the Rhine leaving an American army trapped in Potsdam. The action is intense at times and you can pretty well guess how the story ends, so I won't spoil it by saying any more.

Red Inferno 1945 was more than just a war story. Although there were some good combat narratives the story was more about the people involved. Mr. Conroy did a good job of making the characters more of the focus than the actual fighting and for that I give him kudos. Character development was surprisingly well done. He pressed all the right character buttons giving the story interesting personal depth. His use of historical characters in their right context was noteworthy and also added to the realism. No gratuitous sex, language, or violence. Simply a well crafted story of what if.

Highly recommended as an alternate history. Somehow Mr. Conroy crammed quite a lot into 353 pages and made it all seem so very plausible. Again, his excellent character development help make this a very good story. Not for serious WW2 history buffs or academicians except as an interesting reading interlude.
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on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Alternate History is one of my favorite genres of literature. In this genre, the author picks a critical moment in time to change. And then describes how history would have been different.

In Red Inferno, the critical moment is near the end of World War II. The Allied and the Russian Armies are approaching Berlin. Stalin wants to limit Allied influence in Europe. He has received covert intelligence about the atomic bomb in development in America. Stalin sees that he has a window. If he attacks immediately, and swiftly, he might conquer all of Europe before the atomic bomb is operational. Thus, his army attacks the American army outside of Berlin.

Conroy weaves a story using multiple characters. Some are real figures of history, some are fictional. The novel is a nice easy read. Each page furthers the plot. His descriptions of the horror of war are realistic without being overly graphic. While there are some adult themes, Conroy has avoided being overly graphic here as well. In the end, it all hinges on if, when, and where the atomic bomb is used.

This is Conroy's fifth Alternate History novel. Every one has been an enjoyable read.
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on March 2, 2014
Format: Paperback
Always a fan of alternative history and Robert Conroy is one of my favorites in this genre. Once again he did not disappoint.

The best alternative history is one that is based as closely as possible on true events and that is what Red Inferno does. In 1945 the Allies stopped their drive east at the Elbe River. This is a political as well as strategic bone thrown to the Soviets. As historians know, Germany was stripping the Western Front and sending everything to the Eastern Front in order to hold off Soviet Forces long enough for the Allies to take Berlin which they could have done weeks before the Russians. The strategic part is what the book is based upon, that if the Western Allies hadn't stopped would have an "accidental" clash between the two sides lead to a larger war?

Conroy does an excellent job of building the background and the characters with enough action thrown in to make it an fairly fast paced read. My only letdown with the book is the ending seemed a little rushed and could have been drawn out more.

If you like this genre then I highly recommend this book.
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on March 21, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I found this book fairly entertaining and couldn't wait to get to the end. It's fairly predictable but still a fun read.

My only nitpicks are that if you are well read in WWII history, you will find some annoying inconsistencies with history. For instance, the Soviet T-34 was made out to be this indestructible beast that the Americans had no answer for. By 1945 that simply isn't true. During the war, the Germans killed them in droves, even with small assault guns with 76mm guns similar to what a Sherman tank carries. Was the T-34 a better tank than the Sherman? Absolutely! But so much so that the Sherman was helpless against it? Hardly.

I also found a few instances where Allied leaders knew things about the Germans and possibly the Soviets that historically they did not and couldn't possibly have known until well after the war was over.

The lay person won't notice these issues and even a stickler like myself found them forgivable.
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on April 17, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I recently read 1945 where the action takes place in the Pacific offering an alternate conclusion to the war with Japan. Red Inferno: 1945's alternate course begins as Berlin is crumbling. Conroy envisions a history where Stalin's appetite for territory is insatiable (as it really was). However, in this world Uncle Joe keeps his forces moving taking on the Allies in Western Germany. Like his work in the Pacific, Conroy's trump card is the atomic bomb and so the plot is a tad unoriginal. Still many are fascinated with the idea of the Allies making peace with the German forces and fighting the Communists and I count among them. The two books are two sides of the same coin so be prepared for some repetition if you read both. One last little tidbit, I enjoyed the reference to Canadian General Crerar which now moves the debate of his abilities into the world of fiction.
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Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I have to admit that I am a Robert Conroy fan. I enjoy the fact that his works use a might have been that is historically possible, he makes great use of his characters and the end result is believable. Red Inferno 1945 is another great book. The reasoning behind why the US and the Soviets might have gone to war during WWII is believable and realistic. I would love to see a follow on to the book showing what was happening, and happened as a result of, the events in Red Inferno. If you like Alternate History, Military History or have an interest in WWII this is well worth the read.
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