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Tilting the Balance (Worldwar Series, Volume 2) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Worldwar (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 478 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (February 21, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345389972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345389978
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

World War II screeched to a halt as great military powers scrambled to meet an even deadlier foe, armed with formidable technology that made victory seem inevitable. The menace worsens in this, the second novel in the four-book alternate-history saga that Booklist called "possibly the most ambitious in the subgenre's history and definitely the work of one of alternate history's authentic modern masters."

From Publishers Weekly

The second volume of Turtledove's Worldwar series (after Worldwar: In the Balance), an alternate-history saga in which lizard-like aliens invade Earth during WWII, quickly bogs down. As the plot moves among the huge cast of characters, including many historical figures (Ribbentrop, Roosevelt, Zhukov), and as Turtledove meticulously describes various tanks, planes and guns, readers will realize that they, too, must suffer for the author's research. And none of that homework has bred any subtlety: good people have good sex, while corrupt people suffer appropriate retribution. National and ethnic stereotypes abound, too: the British are more capable than they seem; the Germans are keen mechanics; most Americans, of course, are paragons. There are exceptions, of course-a few interesting lizards and a peace-talking Chinese woman-but it isn't hard to figure out which world leader will "tilt the balance" by using the first human-made atomic bomb. With so much attention paid to the machinery of war and the machinery of history, Turtledove rarely engages the subtleties of character, resulting in a novel that, despite offering its share of mind candy, never makes its many intrigues sufficiently gripping.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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

I am certainly excited to read the next installments of the series!
Richard C. Mingorance
I hate his character so much it alone would have been enough to make me desert almost anybook, no matter how good.
Omer Belsky
He also drags out each plot line, going into far too much detail which makes the overall storyline drag.
Jeanne Tassotto

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stewart Teaze on May 12, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Basically taking up where the first book of the series left off, TILTING THE BALANCE continues in the same vein of interesting characters, plus exciting war-time situations & sex/romance, aliens, and technology development.

The subplot I found most interesting in this book is the ginger drug habit developed by a significant number of the lizard-like aliens. Mr. Turtledove does an excellent job of describing the mindset of the addicts - for some reason I especially enjoy following the progress of the Veteran Alien Tank Driver Ussmak (who has to face both Nazi Panzer tactics as well as his ginger addiction), and the Alien pilot/prisoner Teerts (whom the Japanese purposefully addict).

This 2nd book from the series literally "ends with a bang", and I'm looking forward to continuing with this series - which is turning out to be almost as addicting to me as ginger is to the Lizards.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Simpkins on July 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I liked the first book so much that I hurried out to by the second installment in the series. Now that I am two books into the series, I am somewhat disappointed in emphasis Turtledove puts on average human characters that do not have a birds-eye view of the political situation. He attempts to show us progress by repeatedly using Atvar (the alien fleet commander) as a sounding board by which to reveal the political situation to the reader. It doesn't seem as though we get enough of this from the human point of view, however. I'd like to see what is going on in the White House and in British Parliament. I'd like to know what the great historical figures think about the situation. The closest we get to such points of view are narratives about Molotov or occasional glimpses of FDR or Hitler that are far too short.
One subplot that had me on the edge of my seat was the Jens storyline. I felt a great deal of sympathy for Jens and was earily suspicious about the fate he would receive. Without revealing the plot, I would just like to say that I wish I could have seen more reaction from Barbara, who seems rather callous in regard to Jen's situation. Why has she reacted (or rather not reacted) this way? I would like to see some more depth of character from all involved in this plotline.
All in all, this book is still worth reading, despite a few disappointments. The knowledge that Turtledove brings to his writings is certainly rare and I still like the attention he pays to various historical details, many of which were likely to be lost on me. That I recognized many such details only indicates that there must have been many more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. L. MILLER on February 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It wasn't until I got into this book that I began to realize that the first volume ("In The Balance") was a package of preludes rather than a story in itself. This one has some delicious concepts. Such as a woman who remarries when her husband is missing and presumed dead. Only to have her ex show up alive and well. The lizard invaders have a weakness--ginger is a drug which gets them high and is addictive ("don't bogart those ginger snaps, my friend...pass 'em over to me"). Winston Churchill makes a tour of inspection of military readiness on a bicycle. A minor-league baseball manager utilizes his civilian skills when he becomes a sergeant. One of his ballplayers, along with a Chinese woman, becomes an experimental animal so that the invaders can study human mating. The couple end up proving that not speaking each other's language and not having chosen each other in the first place are not necessarily obstacles to love. FDR has to deliver his "fireside chats" from "somewhere in America", because the country is as much a battleground as anywhere overseas. I still think "Guns Of the South" is Turtledove's masterpiece, but this 4 volume set is still worth the read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was mostly enjoyable, though did seem to sometimes skip about and dwell on unimportant characters. My main problem with this book was the subplot dealing with Jens/Barbara/Sam. This seems forced and unrealistic. My impression is that Sam would have been in serious trouble for shacking up with someone elses wife. Instead the author wants us to feel that the husband is the bad guy. It just doesn't play out. Sam, you cheating scoundral, I hope you get nuked in the third book. (and don't beg off that you thought the husband was dead. Missing for a couple of months does not a death make.)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Tassotto VINE VOICE on June 1, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the first volume of this series, Turtledove has set up the intriguing premise of 'What if alien invaders had arrived in the middle of WWII?'. In order to tell his story from a variety of view points he has introduced several 'main' characters including Americans, Chinese, Russians, Polish Jews, Germans and alien invaders.

TILTING THE BALANCE picks up pretty much from the end of IN THE BALANCE with the same characters and various subplots. The aliens had expected an easy victory but where surprised to find how much the humans had progressed in short few hundred years since their survey ship had left. They were also appalled to discover how wet and cold the earth was, they had never before encountered a planet with such a wide variety of conditions and were totally unprepared for the conditions. The humans were proving to be distressingly adaptable, former enemies were forming alliances to fight back, they were even managing to reverse engineer captured alien technology which was causing the invaders no end of problems. But with the colonizing ships already enroute, just twenty years behind the aliens had no option but to press on.

This is a very interesting concept but it would probably be much better as a single volume, two at the most instead of the planned trilogy that grew into four volumes. As is usual with stories told from many viewpoints, and with multivolume stories, the author reintroduces each character when their storylines return. Turtledove carries this a bit too far, repeating the same information over and over. He also drags out each plot line, going into far too much detail which makes the overall storyline drag. I found myself skimming over much of the last half of the book, looking for something new and more interesting to happed.
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