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Alternate Presidents (Alternate Anthologies) Mass Market Paperback – February 15, 1992

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Alternate Anthologies
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (February 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812511921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812511925
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Alternate Presidents" is part of Mike Resnick's series of alternate history anthologies, which also includes "Alternate Warriors" and "Alternate Kennedies." On the whole, this anthology has less of a tendency to lapse from "true" alternate history into sheer fantasy than some of the other volumes. It does do this on occasion -- e.g., Robert Sheckley's hilarious vignette about President Dukakis being taken by a mysterious secret service agent to meet our true, behind-the-scenes alien overlords in a bunker in New Mexico, or Laura Resnick's story in which a woman was elected president in 1872 (a comparably unlikely scenario, in my humble opinion). However, by and large, these stories are genuine alternate history, which make you think about the forces at work in peoples' minds and hearts at various eras in our past, and how these forces could have played out if certain changes had occurred.
A couple of my favorite tales include Lawrence Watt-Evans' "Truth, Justice, and the American Way," about a horrifyingly right-wing world in which FDR never took the helm of America; "Fellow Americans" by Eileen Gunn, in which Goldwater won in 1964, and ended up using "small-scale" tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam, and in which, for comic relief, Nixon mellowed out in the 60s to the point where he morphed into a hot-tubbing, LSD-experimenting, wildly successful comedic game show host in the 90s.
I think this volume is a really great idea. Most of the stories in it do have the effect of compelling the reader to hit the books, and learn more about the background of each tale. You just want to feel like you really "get" the context of each story.
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By A Customer on August 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I discovered this book by accident just after the 1992 election, and I have been hooked on the alternate history genre ever since. It is obviously a book for those who know American history and politics, but any political junkie will love it. The breadth of the book is astounding, even replacing such forgettable figures as Millard Fillmore and James Garfield to great effect. Some of the stories are fantastical -- protest candidates like Belva Ann Lockwood and Victoria Woodhull winning the White House pre-suffrage, and the bizarre world post-President Goldwater -- but most stay true to possibilities, like an unslain Huey Long winning the presidency in Depression-scarred 1936, or Mayor Daley casting his lot with Nixon over JFK in 1960. If you can find it, buy it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my favorite alternate history book ever, at least in this timeline.

Good alternate history is rooted in plausibility in most cases, but even utterly implausible concepts can be entertaining if done well. There are strong stories in this book about very plausible alternate presidents (Thomas Dewey over FDR in 1944; Ford over Carter in 1976), but also fun ones about less likely presidents. For instance, there is no way Victoria Woodhull could have been elected in 1872, even if women suffrage had been enacted that early -- she was simply too radical. But the tale of President Woodhull in this volume is really entertaining.

Among the 28 alternate presidencies collected here are those of Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, David Atchison, Samuel Tilden, William Jennings Bryan, Robert LaFollette, Huey Long, Adlai Stevenson, Barry Goldwater, and George McGovern. There are a few clunkers, but all in all, this is a book any AH fan -- or American political buff -- will love.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting book, Started with the 18th century and goes through the 20th century. Could tell most of the writers alternated toward the left and of course Monday morning quarterbacking. Still all in all pretty good. I bought it mainly because there is a Huey Long meets Adolf Hitler story. Still a good book. Make sure if you order a hardback that you check to see if it is a book club edition, because that's what I got. Paid a little too much for it in my mind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I learned so much of history from this book. I enjoy American history, and this anthology embraces history with an engaging twist. So many of the stories are excellent in all ways: character development, plot twists, plot development, and historical reality. Just as the best of science fiction changes only one segment of reality and then sees what will happen, the best of alternative history changes only one event in history, and sees what would have happened. This is what these stories do.

Sadly, something begins to happen around 1960. A great positive to this book is that all of the chapters are in historical order, looking at the changes a different president might have made in the march through history. Around 1960 however, the writing starts to seriously decline. It becomes slipshod, boring, and difficult to follow. The final story of Dukakis meeting aliens is simply inane, and has no place in an authentic alternative history anthology. And the chapter dealing with Ford's treatment of the Iranian Hostage Crisis is extremely racist with sterotypical portraits of Muslims and Iranians.

And yet, in the balance, with 28 different possible presidents, the anthology merits a 4.25, as most of the early stories are so excellently done, and worth the reading. Great men and women *can* make a difference in history. Sometimes it's a great shift in events, and sometimes simply a new colouring on events that were predestined in a thousand multiverses. This book can help us explore the varied meanings of our choices.
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