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West and East (The War That Came Early, Book Two) Paperback – May 24, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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"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.
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.
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.
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you have ever read a Harry Turtledove novel, and enjoyed it, then you will probably enjoy this just as much. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Lawrence Yarborough
I love fictional WW2 stories. This one does not disappoint but you do have to read the whole series of 6 books to follow along.Published 5 months ago by Ross
If you are familiar with Turtledove's work you won't be surprised. A good story in his usual style. I would not recommend it for a first time reader; Guns Of The South would be... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dan Raffensperger
Harry Turtledove once again, paints a startling picture of "What if". As always, the story is rich in detail. A fun read.Published 11 months ago by Dan Mosley
Interesting story and well rounded characters, but the sudden shifts from one person / location to the next were hard to adjust to without benefit of a heading or location reminderPublished 11 months ago by Donald A Cleary
Have always enjoyed Harry Turtledove alternate history stories. This WWII series has been an interesting read if a little slow at the beginning.Published 13 months ago by William Clarke