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The Guns of the South


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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, and How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Hot War books (Bombs Away, Fallout, and Armistice); the War That Came Early novels- Hitler's War, West and East, The Big Switch, Coup d'Etat, Two Fronts, and Last Orders; 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 and 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-and two granddaughters, Cordelia Turtledove Katayanagi and Phoebe Quinn Turtledove Katayanagi.


The Confederates win the Civil War with aid from South African time travelers in this unconvincing ``what-if'' tale. Using a time machine, Andrew Rhoodie and his cadre of white supremacists from A.D. 2014 join the rebels and supply them with AK-47 assault rifles. Rhoodie's ``America Will Break'' brotherhood hopes to foster a haven for slavery and extreme racism that will last into succeeding centuries. Thus armed, Gen. Robert E. Lee's troops are soon victorious, and Lincoln agrees to divide the nation. Lee wins political office in the South, and, ironically, becomes both a proponent of emancipation and a foe of the bigoted visitors from the future. Turtledove ( Krispos Rising ) might win over some Civil War buffs through his knowledge of historical figures and events. But stilted dialogue, slack pacing and thin characters diminish the book's appeal. (Oct.)

The Guns of the South begins in January 1864. Lee's army suffers from shortages of arms and supplies, and the general is privately convinced that the war is lost. Then Andries Rhoodie appears with a new type of rifle--an AK-47--and offers unlimited arms to the Confederacy. With the new weapons, the South wins the war and history is changed. The peacetime Confederacy still confronts divisional strife over slavery, however, and Rhoodie and the group he represents become angry when the Confederate government begins relaxing laws concerning slavery. Their whole reason for helping the South win had been to create a supremacist white culture for the future. The Confederate government is now faced with a new enemy--Rhoodie and his soldiers, armed from the future. Successful alternate history makes readers believe that they have stepped back in time; although his research is meticulous, Turtledove fails to convince. A marginal purchase.-- Anne Keenan, Blair P.L., Neb.

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