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Red Inferno: 1945: A Novel Paperback – February 23, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not to say that this is not an enjoyable book, as fans of Conroy's alternate novels will find the author firing on every cylinder that he has within these pages (yet not without historical errors; for example, the G.I. Bill was already in place by the end of 1944 to provide returning vets with loans and college educations). But it seems that with the fifth novel - and his third consecutive one set in World War II - Conroy's creative well is apparently running dry, forcing him to recycle earlier ideas in a slightly refreshed setting. In his "Acknowledgments" section at the end of the book he expresses the hope that this will not be the last alternate history novel he writes; if he does publish another, it will hopefully be after he puts more time into giving readers something new and different, rather than just warming over his earlier work.
It is an intriguing question that one would assume would get more coverage: what if the Soviet's pushed too hard after the defeat of Germany and went to war with the rest of the Allies? Conroy sets up the conflict fairly well and creates a few interesting characters but also some dull place fillers. The Russians get aggressive and trap an allied force in Germany as their main force pushes the Allies back further and further out of Germany. Much space is devoted to espionage in the West and the resistance the trapped U.S. force puts up behind enemy lines, including their respective love interests. Consideration is given to the Soviet advantage in men and tanks, with the Allies' reliance on air power and giving up space for time to bleed the Soviet advance. All ends in massive fireballs as the first atom bombs are used on the Soviet Army rather than the Japanese.
What I was hoping for more of, however, was how the Soviet and U.S. (and British) armies would face off with each other. Conroy gives little space for a closer look at how the Allies would handle the T-34s. Their advantage over the Sherman is noted, but there is no discussion over how they would match up against British Fireflies or the newer, heavier tanks that the U.S. was already shipping to the European Theater. It also would have been interesting to see how Soviet and U.S. artillery would have matched up against each other. The Soviet's prized their artillery, but the U.S. had boiled it down to a masterful science. And would the Soviet's have truly had such a massive manpower advantage? Conroy depicts the U.S. as having no real reserves to send to fight the Soviets.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very engrossing alternate history of the end of WWII. The facts of history are very well embedded into a believable story and the characters are a truly interesting mix. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Terry Webb
A delightful way to spend a few hours going back to an alternate ending to World War II that could well have happened. Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Matlock
All of Conroy's books are decent alternate history -- well-researched and he was one of those who looked to write about something other than just WWII and the Civil War as turning... Read morePublished 8 months ago by O Bloody Hell
A good read. Mr Conroy tends to denigrate the British again, but his later novel "1920 America's Great War" redresses this, so is not a consistent bias. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Mr. Stephen Parkin
Fantastic book. I only wish it had been 3-5x as long, to really flesh out the war, the battles, and some of the characters in much greater depth.Published 9 months ago by Eric S.