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West and East (The War That Came Early, Book Two) Paperback – May 24, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the War That Came Early Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having laid out the course of "the war that came early" in 2009's Hitler's War, Turtledove focuses on turning his characters from stock military figures into specialists. In this version of WWII, the Nazis fail to take Paris. The German war machine, apparently fed by infinite soldiers, turns not only to the western and eastern fronts but also north to Denmark. The novel most fully shines when the characters are allowed to strive for their full potential: Czech sniper Vaclav Jezek adopts an antitank rifle as his favorite weapon; German pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel ingeniously modifies his aircraft; Soviet soldier Chaim Weinberg becomes a Party propagandist; and the Goldman family tries to achieve a semblance of normal life in Nazi-ruled Münster. The war is always present, though, and there's plenty to satisfy fans of military strategy, tactics, and armaments.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Continuing on from Hitler’s War (2009), it is now 1939, and both Germany and Russia are faced with wars on two fronts. Sergeant Fujita fights to cut off Vladivostok, while Russian pilot Sergei Yaroslavsky fights the Germans and their Polish (!) allies outside Warsaw. British Sergeant Alistair Walsh acquires a pet cat and an unreasonable familiarity with Norwegian weather as the German invasion of Scandinavia leaves the peripatetic Peggy Druce marooned in Sweden. Meanwhile, one of the few real-historical characters, Stuka pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel, earns the Knight’s Cross for discovering how to turn the lumbering dive bomber into a lethal tank-buster. In Spain, Chaim Weinberg learns that the dialectic he knows so well can be as effective a weapon as a rifle, and in Shanghai, marine corporal Pete McGill learns that it may be a long, hard road to marrying his beloved, White Russian refugee Vera. And so it whirls on, the suspense building inexorably, thanks to two of Turtledove’s gifts, in particular. One is for portraying so much of the action from the viewpoint of the grunts, or even civilians, who know little of what the Great Ones are up to until the consequences are all over them. The other proceeds from the first and is for envisioning WWII unraveling like an endless ball of yarn in the paws of an intelligent kitten. Keep reading or miss something exceedingly fine. --Roland Green --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Series: The War That Came Early (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345491858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345491855
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #656,801 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"It's a tough life being an everyman character in a turtledove trilogy" sighed Vaclav, the Czech cliché as bombs fell all around.

"How do you think I feel" muttered Cpl Von Typicalgerman-name "I expected to be a hard bitten cynical war veteran in a King Tiger in 1945 and instead I'm a hard bitten cynical war veteran and its only 1938. Also, I wish to point out that I am in a PzII, a great let down, I may say."

"Don't get me started boyo, I mean, pal, I mean chum" groaned an allegedly Welsh soldier "look, he calls me Walsh, why not Llewelyn, or Griffiths something that actualy is Welsh as opposed to sounding like it. And another thing, I don't even sound welsh, see? I talk all posh I do. I bet I dont even know the words to Cwm Rhondda and I dont mention rugby once".

"Way to go Tommy" commented the cut out german landser "I'm supposed to be a german but why do I speak like a yankee gangster or a US marine?"

"Perhaps a lot of US Marines and gangsters were germans? or because Turtledove is trying to emphasise the common experience of the horror of war?" mused the US Marine who had done nothing so far apart from drink and sleep around and felt very nervous because obviously something bad was going to happen to his white Russian girlfriend who was very pretty even though she was made of cardboard.

Meanwhile, "Heheheh" muttered the voice of the Author "you think this is bad, I can do entire trilogies of trilogies! For you the short war book is over!"

I tried to like it but really you can switch in chapters from the WW2 era of the aliens books and I dont think you'd notice. Mr Turtldove is asleep at the wheel.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read almost everything Turtledove has written from the recasting of the Byzantine Empire to the various alternate history series. A lot of these series were very well-written and interesting. I was looking forward to this series, because it has always seemed one of the major missed chances in history that Germany wasn't confronted in 1938. Several of the panzer divisions that crushed France two years later were equipped with Czech tanks that Chamberlain made a gift of to the Nazis.

With this second book, the idea has fizzled out and been overwhelmed by Turtledove's focus on detailed examination of the smoking habits of a dozen or so minor characters who have minimal importance in the scheme of things. About half the 448 pages are devoted to descriptions of the characters smoking, which is tedious beyond belief.

A good alternate history series needs to have a balance between the plotlines of ordinary characters who show what's happening in the trenches, and some material from the POV of high-ranking or close to high-ranking characters so we can see the more interesting developments of strategy. This series has only the low level characters, with the only one drawn from history (if you can call his autobiography history, rather than fiction) being Hans Rudel, the Stuka pilot.

This will the the last book in the series I purchase, and I have to regard the money paid for this volume as not well-spent.
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Format: Hardcover
I am in total agreement with the other reviewers who found this novel lacking. Sorry, Harry, but with an alternate history I need to know more about how the grand strategy of the war changed. What is the Churchill - Chamberlain dynamic, how does the US view Japan, who went after Hitler? This novel is essentially an All Quiet on the Western Front spread over the western front, the eastern front (1)(Germany -Russia), the eastern front (2) (Japan - Russia, the southern front (Spanish civil war) and the non-front (US - Japan) in China. Since each front has two sides and two sets of grunts, everything gets simplified so that it seems the same on all fronts. Everyone freezes in the winter, every front seems to turn into something very closely resembling the trench warfare of WWI, everyone either hates or dislikes their senior officers or non-coms, etc. Oh, yeah, everyone also complains about the quality of the tobacco.

I assume at some point there will be an Italian or North African front to add to the confusion, although how he is going to have soldiers complaining about wet trenches in North Africa holds some interest. Global weather change?

In alternate history, you are very interested in changes in the over all strategy of the war and then want to see how these changes played out on the grunts. Here its all grunts, too many grunts, in too many places effectively doing the same things and complaining about the same things. By the way, Rudel survived the war flying to the end. He lost a leg and kept flying winning 11 decorations some specially designed by Hitler. The guy killed so many Russian tanks that it is incredible. See his autobiography Stuka Pilot. Its more fascinating than this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
West and East is another in the alternative history genre in which Harry Turtledove specialises. The catalyst for this different course for the Second World War is the assumption that, rather than appeasing Hitler (as, of course, he did in reality) the British Prime Minister, Chamberlain, stands up to the German dictator. This is the second in the series of novels which charts the course of the war describing what might have happened in the event that the War began almost a year earlier than it, in fact, did.

Turtledove follows his well tried format of viewing the course of events through the eyes of a number of combatants and other participants. It would be all to easy to construct a muddled mess of a novel, since none of the story lines are very directly related. This is a trap which Turtledove avoids, mainly by ensuring that our interest in each strand of the story is artfully retained. Each of the characters is sufficiently well drawn to pique our interest in them as individuals. Furthermore, his knowledge of the technology of the period lends further interest and credibilty to the possibilities he outlines. The background to the story line is presented in a way which repays the obvious amount of research he has undertaken.

All in all, this a first class example of the genre which I recommend to all alternate history fans and those who simply enjoy a thrilling novel.

Enjoy the read!
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