Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Guns of the South, by Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove's The Guns of the  South was one of the fastest most entertaining books I ever read. Well . . . at least for the first part of the book. I particulary enjoyed the blend of alternate history, and science fiction with the time travel aspect. Andries Rhoodie travels in time to the Civil War to offer the AK-47 to the Confederates for only $50 in C.S.A. dollars. A deal Robert E. Lee can't refuse. The new weaponary leads to a route of the Union forces, and Abraham Lincoln suing for peace. I was interested in the view through as portrayed through  the eyes of Nate Caudell of the 47th North Carolina, as my own family served in the 22nd North Carolina infantry. I enjoyed the book, but thought it tried to compact too much into one volume. The views of Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest after the war lacked more detailed information. The 100 or so pages of the politics after the war tend to drag the book down a bit. What was the motivation of the Afrikaners? Besides just being racistist according to the book? I thought we should have had a better glimpse of their fears, and motivations. The book could have offered more detail in the post war Union and South. The political intrigues that a lost war with a border country could bring about.  A question from the Union perspective would be steal or buy weapons from southerns to see if you could make something similar.  I liked the book, and would recommend it to others, but it leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but maybe that is why I still discuss the book.