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Bring the Jubilee [Unknown Binding]

Ward Moore
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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  • Unknown Binding
  • ASIN: B001766DKW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Sadly Poor Expansion of a Good Novelette 10 Jan 2010
I approached "Bring the Jubilee" as one of the classic works of sf in general and alternate history in particular. I came away with a vague sense of disappointment. Perhaps the defects register with me more because I read the book length version first, and only later found the original (and far superior) novelette. This may have brought the difference in quality into sharp relief.

The story is set in an alternate world where the South won the civil war. As a result, the defeated North suffered a hyperinflation similar to 1920s Germany, which aborted the industrial expansion and scientific progress of the later 19th Century. Three generations later, the "rump" United States is a backward, rural country very much akin to William Faulkner's South, whose people are similarly fixated on "The War" which ruined everything for them. In this world the North, not the South, is where the lynchings are (negroes have been scapegoated as the cause of the war), where the poor folks live by share cropping or indentured labour, and the Grand Army (read "KKK") engages in terror tactics. Its women still don't vote. The Confederacy, OTOH, is booming, prosperous and has expanded over the Americas into a vast Empire, whose non-whites are humanely treated but denied full citizenship.

Well, fair enough, even if debatable, as far as the United States is concerned. But Moore doesn't leave it there. The United States' backwardness has somehow "infected" the whole world. The telephone was never invented (they use morse code telegraphy instead) and heavier than air flight is still a dream. The dirigible balloon is the latest thing. Such cars as exist are steam-powered, and of limited value due to the lack of roads. Electricity has never been harnessed, though the biggest cities have gas lighting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slight but good 21 Aug 2001
this is one of the better alternate history stories that i have read but the problem with all of these stories is the seemingly unstoppable desire to show how this alternate history is created. to be sure it is an engaging book and perhaps i have just read too much but the ending was oh so obvious.
but it was a good if quick read, in my opinion not as good as dick's 'man in the high castle' but better then robert's 'pavane' cos at least i understood the ending of this one! defintely deserving of the rather backhanded compliment on the inside cover of "...minor classic". to me that's about right.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Written in 1953 about what might have happened if the South won the American Civil War, this is a thoughtful novel with a twist in the tail. It is expanded from the original short story, and while some reviewers have argued that the additional material is padding, I feel that it adds to the novel if one reads it more than once.

With hindsight one might say that the alternate time-line depicted is Steam-punk, but Ward Moore anticipated that by half a century. Others might claim the novel is dated, but I feel his style adds to the charm, and sets the environment in deeper, more subtle colours, and reading it again recently I enjoyed it far more than any of the dozen or so modern "SF" books I have read in the last year.

The pace is deliberate and the characterisation is secure, and there are no whizzy spaceships or flash-bang rabbits-out-of-a-hat special effects. But the slow build has the effect of convincing us in our belief that it really did happen as narrated by our reluctant hero.

The 'What If?' is developed as it should be, and we are left with the satisfaction of a good SF tale well told. It deserves its status as an SF Master-work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good alternative history 1 April 2008
If you like reading about late 19th century America (in the style of the age) then you will like this book. It is not really science fiction, more of an alternative history that has a story woven into it. It probably appeals to American readers more for that reason.
I enjoyed it, but if you are after SciFi this may disappoint.
However, if you liked Huckelberry Finn you may like this - the story line is kind of similar (a young man's journey).
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavy on words, low on action 23 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I always enjoy reading the 'What If?' scenarios of alternative histories, and this book eventually proved to be no exception, although it was a close call. The pace is very calm and slow, and at the end of the day, nothing much takes place, beyond the discussion of a few philosophical points about reality and destiny. This book is not for you if you want to read about events, rather than theories.
My only big complaint is that the author hasn't done much to flesh out the alternative routes his world has taken. A brief mention of a talented captain called 'Eisenhower' is about as much as we get - I would have liked to read more along these lines, if only for the novelty value of recognising familiar objects in an alien setting.
An interesting foray into the world of alternative history, but by no means the best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Germany wins 4 Oct 2010
It is possible to add a little padding. Had the Confederacy won the war, as in this novel, America wouldn't have moved far away from a plantation mentality.

The Allies only won WW1 against the newly modern scientific Germany by being able to import vast quantities of ammunition, fuel, food, arms, armour plate and eventually, fresh manpower from America.

Had America been unable to supply these goods it seems likely that Germany would have won WW1 and the dominant Eropean language would have been German rather than English.

Without the resentment over the treatment that Germany suffered as a result of losing WW1, Hitler would never have come to power and there may not even have been the vaster WW2.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book
This is one of the best alternative history books I have ever read, a great 'What if' type book which gets better and better as you read. Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2011 by Stalwart9
4.0 out of 5 stars Alternative history
A somewhat too long, otherwise good novel about an alternative history in which the CSA won the American Civil War, and the North is reduced to a shambles. Read more
Published on 13 April 2011 by Christian Wendt
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual sci-fi
its just not very sci-fi til the end, set in the american civil war.. but what an interesting twist reveals the sci-fi element, excellant concepts and well written, well worth a... Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2010 by digi-mech
5.0 out of 5 stars Steam Punk Masterwork
This is an alternative history tale in which the confederate states of America won the civil war and are now operating agents within an impoverished, racist and ruined USA, the... Read more
Published on 21 Dec 2008 by Lark
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting? Yes. Masterpiece? No.
This is an alternate history of a U.S. where the South won the Civil War and the North is its vassal/client-state-which results in the industrial revolution never occurring. Read more
Published on 22 Oct 2001 by A. Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars A true SF Masterwork
While this story takes place during the American civil war, its message is universal. And like other great SF alt-histories(Man in the High Castle, Anibus Gates) this story is... Read more
Published on 8 Aug 2001 by marxizms@hotmail.com
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