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1632 (Ring of Fire) Hardcover – 31 Jan 2000


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Hardcover, 31 Jan 2000
£38.26 £2.95
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (31 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671578499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671578497
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 16.4 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"...convincing historical detail ... entertaining ... it's hard not to cheer". -- Starlog --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 29 Dec 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Alternate history novels have been around for quite awhile, but most of them focus on the difference a single individual or a single decision will make. This book instead looks at what would happen if an entire town is transported back to the middle of 17th century Germany, during the middle of the Thirty Years War.
The town in question is a quiet West Virginia town of about 3,000 which at one point subsisted on proceeds of its coal mine, now shut down, but which has left the legacy of a great number of the town's adult men being UMWA union members. When plopped down in Germany, the union's leader, Mike Stearn, effectively takes charge and begins the process of not only turning the town into a self-sufficient entity but also melding it into a major player into the politics of day.
The good things about this work are its intense descriptions of the battle techniques and weapons of the day and what a difference a little bit of modern firepower can make, its obviously well researched look at the politics and religious battles of the Europe of that age, an interesting look at the position of the Jews within this society, and its easy reading style.
On the negative side, characterization, while adequate, is not very deep for anyone. The motif of 'love at first sight' is way overused. How the town makes the transition from 20th century technology to a stripped down mix of 18th and 19th century level is not covered in enough detail to make it convincing, which is a shame as this could have been one of the most interesting aspects of this novel. The ready acceptance by the German peasants of not only the technological marvels but also the concepts embodied by the Bill of Rights strained my suspension of disbelief mightily, even though it made an excellent theme for the novel.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 April 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Americans are a deeply religious people. And that includes all the atheists. Their common religion is America, the final revelation to mankind of The Almighty/evolutionary biology/the universe (delete whichever inapplicable). Basically, America is so right that, even though it gets things slightly wrong sometimes, everything will turn out well in the end. American-style democracy is the default condition of mankind; take away nasty, less well-intended other rulers and it will blossom automatically and successfully (throw out at once that person at the back who said "Iraq"!).

This is the basic idea that underlies this odd novel of alternative history. Take one small US early 21st century town (Grantville, West Virginia) and transport it, locality, coal mine and all, to Thuringia, Germany in 1632 in the middle of the Thirty Years' War, one of Europe's more vicious bouts of bloodletting (the only European war, until the Second World War, in which civilian casualties outnumbered military ones). Those enterprising Americans promptly decide to start the Revolution 150 years early. And would you believe it? Freed of the yoke of dukes and princes, the locals take to the idea of America like ducks to water and are soon running around in a frenzy of entrepreneurial zeal.

The improbabilities breed like rabbits. What are the chances of finding an English speaker (beautiful and beddable naturally) in the middle of 17th century Thuringia at precisely the right time? But they get one, and she not only becomes a community leader and thoroughly Americanised, but also obligingly falls in love with the handsome/strong/tough/thoughtful/perceptive/nearly-always-right leader of Grantville. And then there is a whole host of Scots cavalry who just happen along.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Nov 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The premise of "1632" has potential. In this work of alternative history by Eric Flint, a circular area of West Virginia six miles in diameter, and including the town of Grantville (pop. 3,000 or so), is suddenly transported from its place in the 20th century to a parallel universe in the year 1632 AD, and dropped intact into an identically shaped hole in the landscape of the German principality of Thuringia - right in the middle of that then-ongoing carnage called the Thirty Years War. Since the Americans are now left to their own resources without the ability to "call home" for help, this could've been an off-beat and gripping survival story had it been developed properly. Unfortunately, it wasn't, and it just came out being ridiculous.
In an Author's Afterword, Flint says that "1632" is a "sunny book". That's the problem. For our castaways, there are no clouds in the sky, no matter what the situation. First of all, the collective consternation of the citizens over losing their place in the modern present was no greater than if they'd been stranded in Newark after having missed a plane. I mean, where were the cries of outrage as the trips to see the grandkids in California, the vacations to DisneyWorld, the opportunity to see "I Love Lucy" reruns, and the 401k retirement plans, are all lost forever? Rather, our square-jawed and unrelentingly self-righteous American heroes spend their time rescuing damsels-in-distress from the marauding mercenary bands of the period, and otherwise imposing civil order and the U.S. federal political structure on a world in serious disarray. Teddy Roosevelt couldn't have done it better with his Big Stick approach.
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