HOW FEW REMAIN by Harry Turtledove


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Turtledove, having previously won the Civil War for the Confederacy in The Guns of the South (1992), does it all over again in this otherwise unconnected new alternate history yarn. This time, the South won the battle of Camp Hill (Antietam) in 1862 and thereafter, supported by both the French and British, swiftly consolidated victory. When, in 1881, the Confederate States of America moves to purchase Chihuahua and Sonora from Mexico, the USA, feeling beleaguered and insecure, declares war. There follows a prolonged and involved struggle wherein many famous individuals occupy unfamiliar roles. James Longstreet, for instance, is President of a defiantly slaveowning CSA, his opposite number being James G. Blaine of the slave-free but racist USA. Stonewall Jackson runs the CSA's military, while in the North, Ulysses Grant is a drunken, disgraced, and forgotten civilian. George Custer of the USA operates in Kansas, defending the border between the USA and the CSA. Theodore Roosevelt ranches in Montana; a chastened Abraham Lincoln tours the USA, espousing socialism. So, if the CSA is to win again, Longstreet must promise to abolish slavery in exchange for continued French and British assistance. Given the intrinsic appeal and interest of this critical historical nexus, it's a great pity that Turtledove can't improve on his usual ponderous, thudding, long-winded style. Expect sequels featuring Abraham Lincoln as America's Karl Marx.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine