The Great War

Posted on 08/13/2001 in misc

The Great War is an epic 3 volume series (actually 4 counting the prequel) depicting an alternate history of the USA if the South had won The War of Northern Aggression. The Prequel, "How Few Remain'" recounts a second civil war about 20 years later. The trilogy, comprised of the books "American Front," "Walk in Hell," and "Breakthroughs," depict World War One as it breaks out on several fronts in the USA & the CSA.

Turtledove doesn't just describe the war, the reader gets to experience the war through the eyes of a handful of intriguing characters, both soldiers and civilians, CSA. USA and Canadian. He rotates through about 6 different story lines yet keeping the stories straight is not a problem for the reader. I found that I was "into" all the characters, although there were a couple that I hated and kept hoping would die!

All four books suck the reader into the world Turtledove has created and I found myself thinking about World War One trench warfare quite a bit as I read the books. One thing for sure, I would have been a deserter in a hurry. I can't even imagine what would motivate anybody to put up with the conditions Turtledove describes in at times quite graphic fashion.

If I had to come up with a negative it would be the length of the books. I read these 4 back to back to back to back over about a 4-6 week period. By the middle of Breakthroughs I was ready for the war to end. It was obvious who was going to win the war (I'm not telling...) the only question was how many of the primary characters would survive it! And now Turtledove has decided to write a trilogy dealing with the aftermath of the war. The first book just came out - I guess I'll be putting into the reading pile real soon.

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