Ward Moore wrote few SF novels, but Bring the Jubilee
(1953) instantly became a classic of alternate history. It's the definitive story of a timeline where the South won the American Civil War--known in this different 20th century as the War of Southern Independence.
Crippled by war reparations that must be paid in gold, the 26 Northern states are seedy and run-down. Slavery, disguised as corporate indenture, is commonplace for whites as well as blacks. There's no worse insult than "Dirty Abolitionist". Life goes on as always, and 1938 New York has a certain provincial charm, swarming with bicycles and horse-drawn carts, while dirigibles float over skyscrapers of 14 or even 15 storeys, and telegraph wires are ...
a reminder that no urban family with pretensions to gentility would be without the clacking instrument in the parlor, that every child learned the Morse code before he could read.
Newly arrived from the sticks, Hodge Backmaker picks up an education as apprentice to a cynical printer who supports the underground "Grand Army" (the North hopes to rise again). Eventually our hero, a self-taught historian, joins an eccentric community of scholars and has a turbulent affair with a brilliant female physicist working on the mysteries of Time.
She offers Hodge his big research opportunity: to visit 1863 and study the Battle of Gettysburg from a safe vantage point. Fortunately or tragically, the place he chooses is rather crucial ...
Moore writes lovingly and movingly of America as it was and might have been. This is number 42 in Gollancz's high-quality SF Masterworks reissue series. --David Langford
The definitive Alternate History story ¿ the first to ask ¿What if the South had won the Civil War?¿