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The Big Switch (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover)) [Hardcover]

Harry Turtledove
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Aug 2011 War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover)
In this extraordinary World War II alternate history, master storyteller Harry Turtledove begins with a big switch: what if Neville Chamberlain, instead of appeasing Hitler, had stood up to him in 1938? Enraged, Hitler reacts by lashing out at the West, promising his soldiers that they will reach Paris by the new year. They don’t. Three years later, his genocidal apparatus not fully in place, Hitler has barely survived a coup, while Jews cling to survival. But England and France wonder whether the war is still worthwhile.

Weaving together a cast of characters that ranges from a brawling American fighter in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain to a woman who has seen Hitler’s evil face-to-face, Harry Turtledove takes us into a world shaping up very differently in 1941. The Germans and their Polish allies have slammed into the gut of the Soviet Union in the west, while Japan pummels away in the east. In trench warfare in France, French and Czech fighters are outmanned but not outfought by their Nazi enemy. Then the stalemate is shattered. In England, Winston Churchill dies in an apparent accident, and the gray men who walk behind his funeral cortege wonder who their real enemy is. The USSR, fighting for its life, makes peace with Japan—and Japan’s war with America is about to begin.

A sweeping saga of human passions, foolishness, and courage, of families and lovers and soldiers by choice and by chance, The Big Switch is a provocative, gripping, and utterly convincing work of alternate history at its best. For history buffs and fans of big, blood-and-guts fiction, Harry Turtledove delivers a panoramic clash of ideals as powerful as armies themselves.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books (15 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345491866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345491862
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.7 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 418,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Harry Turtledove is the award-winning author of the alternate-history works The Man with the Iron Heart; The Guns of the South; How Few Remain (winner of the Sidewise Award for Best Novel); the Worldwar saga: In the Balance, Tilting the Balance, Upsetting the Balance, and Striking the Balance; the Colonization books: Second Contact, Down to Earth, and Aftershocks; the Great War epics: American Front, Walk in Hell, and Breakthroughs; the American Empire novels: Blood & Iron, The Center Cannot Hold, and Victorious Opposition; and the Settling Accounts series: Return Engagement, Drive to the East, The Grapple, and In at the Death. Turtledove is married to fellow novelist Laura Frankos. They have three daughters: Alison, Rachel, and Rebecca.

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Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
2.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a dull read 29 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
SPOILER ALERTS

This is the third book in HT's new series and a series which started well with the first book - Hitler's War but has sadly quickly bogged down with HT's usual problem of lots of pointless conversations with lots of characters not really doing very much and this is true again in this latest offering - The Big Switch. For example a football match the German solider's play lasts 3-4 pages but I dont remember one battle or action scene lasting anywhere near as long.

As most of the other reviewers have pointed out that the big switch is that Britain and France make peace with Germany and then ally with her against the USSR (which I believe was one of Stalin's nightmares). Churchill is assassinated in an "traffic accident" probably by a German agent which helps make the change over possible.

Despite this major plot twist its a very dull book and despite some references to British and French troops being on the Eastern Front with the Germans we learn very little about anything that is going on there. Now in this story the USSR is facing Nazi Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and France. I would have thought that this coalition would make a difference, be forcing back the Soviets at least a bit and create some really alternative history but all the characters are doing is complain about the cold, very stereotypical. Apparently the British dont have any cold weather gear is one remark I remember being made by a supposedly better equipped German soldier, the historical inaccuracy is horrendous sometimes. Perhaps its irony?

I do wonder why Turtledove bothers with these wartime scenarios since the wars, battles, etc play such a small and insignificant (and often badly told part) of his stories.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Juvenile fiction? 5 Aug 2011
Format:Hardcover
This is the 3rd book in HT's newest series, and I really do have to wonder. The level of historical accuracy is so appallingly bad this should probably be in his juvenile series.
It suffers from 2 huge problems.
First, he continues his technique of showing little disconnected snippets from various 'characters', who resemble a mixed set of cardboard cutouts which generate little or no sympathy. It also makes it far more difficult to work out whats going on in the war, which may be deliberate given the lack of any coherence in the war effort on any country involved.
Second, presumambly in order to 'shock' the reader, he comes up with an idea so daft I dont think anyone before has been arrogant enough to include it in a book. This is that the British and French (despite doing quite well in this war), suddenly decide they hate their ally (Russia) so much that they will instantly forget all the reasons they went to war, forget the fate of Czechoslovakia, Austra, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and not only make peace with Germany (a possible outside chance if their governments both go collectively insane and the UK forgets 400 years of Continental war strategy), but ally with Germany and send their troops to fight with the German army!!
To believe this, one has to have the level of understanding of European prewar and wartime politics of..well, I cant think easily of anything so limited, to be honest.
Oh, and just to make it easier, the British government covertly assasinated Churchill to stop him complaining. With it kept a secret. Words fail me....

Turtledove used to write good books. Hes now descended into writing rubbish which gets published because of his name. Dont waste your money on this rubbish. Dont even bother when it comes out on paperback or in your local library. Sadly the system forces me to give it one star, it doesnt allow negative ratings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a dull read 22 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the third book in HT's new series and a series which started well with the first book - Hitler's War but has sadly quickly bogged down with HT's usual problem of lots of pointless conversations with lots of characters not really doing very much and this is true again in this latest offering - The Big Switch. For example a football match the German solider's play lasts 3-4 pages but I dont remember one battle or action scene lasting anywhere near as long.

As most of the other reviewers have pointed out that the big switch is that Britain and France make peace with Germany and then ally with her against the USSR (which I believe was one of Stalin's nightmares). Churchill is assassinated in an "traffic accident" probably by a German agent which helps make the change over possible.

Despite this major plot twist its a very dull book and despite some references to British and French troops being on the Eastern Front with the Germans we learn very little about anything that is going on there. Now in this story the USSR is facing Nazi Germany, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and France. I would have thought that this coalition would make a difference, be forcing back the Soviets at least a bit and create some really alternative history but all the characters are doing is complain about the cold, very stereotypical. Apparently the British dont have any cold weather gear is one remark I remember being made by a supposedly better equipped German soldier, the historical inaccuracy is horrendous sometimes. Perhaps its irony?

I do wonder why Turtledove bothers with these wartime scenarios since the wars, battles, etc play such a small and insignificant (and often badly told part) of his stories.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars bigswitch
turtledove continues to amaze in this science fiction series. as usual the characters stories are still interesting enough to keep you interested as with how the war is developing... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Aaron Wainyae
1.0 out of 5 stars Harry has lost the plot
I completely agree with all the other negative reviews, totally unbelievable, historically inaccurate, dull uninteresting characters etc. etc. Read more
Published on 30 April 2012 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a big switch, indeed!!!!
The Big Switch is the third novel in this series. I am giving the book three stars as I did enjoy the parts of the story, that covered Soviet Union vs. Japan, and Germay/Poland vs. Read more
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by J.Flood
4.0 out of 5 stars want to see more
this book has gotten some bad reviews which I dont understand, I admit turtledoves writing style can be a bit confusing, and I admit I cant see chamberlain allied to hitler, but... Read more
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by nasferi
1.0 out of 5 stars A Truly awful book
Just to start id like to say that i have read most of turltedoves books and i have gotten used to relatively lazy writing and plotting but this book is so bad its unreal.. Read more
Published on 5 Nov 2011 by Mr. Paul Pimblott
4.0 out of 5 stars Third book in a saga in which WWII started a year early
This is the third book in an alternative history series which speculates about what might have happened if World War II had started in 1938 after the failure of the Munich peace... Read more
Published on 29 July 2011 by Marshall Lord
3.0 out of 5 stars If you can't beat them . . .
Harry Turtledove's newest volume in his "War that Came Early" series picks up where his last book, West and East: The War That Came Early, left off with a war grinding on in the... Read more
Published on 22 July 2011 by MarkK
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