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End of the Beginning Mass Market Paperback – 1 Aug 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Roc; Reprint edition (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451460782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451460783
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.6 x 16.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 853,969 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Chilling....A plethora of characters, each with his or her own point of view, provides experiences in miniature that combine to paint a broad canvas of the titanic struggle."--Publishers Weekly

"A good mix of a war story and the tales of everyday people....Turtledove paints an excellent, if bleak, portrait of a Hawaii invaded by the Japanese."--SF Site

Chilling....A plethora of characters, each with his or her own point of view, provides experiences in miniature that combine to paint a broad canvas of the titanic struggle. Publishers Weekly

A good mix of a war story and the tales of everyday people....Turtledove paints an excellent, if bleak, portrait of a Hawaii invaded by the Japanese. SF Site

"

About the Author

Harry Turtledove the New York Times bestselling author of numerous alternate history novels, including The Guns of the South, How Few Remain, and the Worldwar quartet has a Ph.D. in Byzantine history. Nominated numerous times for the Nebula Award, he has won the Hugo, Sidewise, and John Esthen Cook Awards. He lives with his wife and children in California."


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In Days of Infamy, Harry Turtledove presented an alternate World War II where the Japanese followed the Pearl Harbor attack with an invasion. While the attack was good, the rest of the book bored me to tears. Now, Turtledove completes the series with End of the Beginning, and surprisingly, does an effective job of it. There are still massive problems with it, but they aren't the same as his usual ones. In fact, the book is quite gripping, the scenes that are normally plodding actually have a point, and we almost care for the characters.
Believe it or not, I found End of the Beginning almost riveting, and I was able to overlook the usual Turtledove foibles: the endless repetition of character details, not to mention the repetition of plot points. I was going to scream if I heard one more time how new pilot Joe Crosetti is uncomfortable letting the landing guy on the carrier be in charge of landing his plane, rather than landing himself, for example. These kinds of things are forever in Turtledove's repertoire and will never leave. However, usually these points drag the book to a halt because many of the scenes don't advance the plot much. This time, they do. Not great strides, of course, but it's clear at the end of each scene why Turtledove included them. The events that Turtledove puts his characters through are actually interesting for once, rather than just having the overarching plot get your attention (the main reason I wade through his writing).
I mostly cared about the characters, watching the PoWs waste away, horrified by what Jane Armitage is put through. In fact, I cared enough that it affected me when some of them died.
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This is the second of a pair of gripping alternative history novels which explore the possibility that Japan might have backed up the air strikes on Pearl Harbour with a land invasion of Hawaii.

The first novel is called "Days of Infamy" and if you are going to read these I would strongly recommend that you start with that one.

This is the fourth alternative version of World War II which Turtledove has written. He has previously done stories with aliens from Tau Ceti invading in 1942 (the Worldwar series), a parallel history following pretty much the real track, in a world where technology uses magic rather than engineering (known variously as the Darkness, Derlavi, or 'World at War' series), and an alternative World War II in a history following a Rebel victory in the US Civil War, which has the same roles as in the historical WWII carried out by different people (Settling Accounts).

Having done so many alternative versions of World War II, you would think he would find it impossible to say anything new about them or maintain the reader's interest. Judging by other reviews on the UK and US sites, some readers do indeed have that problem, and I expected to be one of them, but from the moment I picked up "Days of Infamy" I found myself hooked. I stayed hooked when I read "End of the Beginning."

Turtledove suggests that the Imperial Japanese forces would have treated the inhabitants of Hawaii with the same ruthless cruelty they dealt out to other people who fell under their control, such as the luckless people of Nanking. This is all too plausible. He weaves a story of how this might have affected the people who lived under their regime, from American Prisoners of War, U.S. and Hawaiian civilians, to Hawaiian residents of Japanese origin.
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Having read and enjoyed "Days of Infamy" I was looking forward to the sequel. However, for some reason I was not able to enjoy it as much as the first book. It is however difficult for me to put my finger on why, but I think that the following couple of issues with the plot might have had something to do with it
I did not understand why the original (abortive) attempt by the US to retake the islands after the Japanese invasion is not covered in either book (although there are a number of references to it in "End of the Beginning"). Instead it is left dangling unsatisfactorily between the two books.
The whole action and plot in the book revolves around Oahu. The other islands are completely ignored, despite the fact that both the islands of Hawaii itself (the Big Island) and Maui are larger than Oahu (although this is admittedly the most strategically important). It is only in the latter stages of the book that we learn that the Japanese only occupied Oahu. What then happened to the populations in the other islands ? Turtledove doesn't give us a single clue. The islands are not even seen as food resources by the Japanese. Surely any US invasion force would have taken full advantage of the "independence" of the other islands to establish ground- based forces and airfields there before attacking Oahu itself.
I know that this is just a novel, but it presents an alternative history scenario, which should be believable.
The characters themselves are interesting and in general well done, although some of the Japanese ones are rather one-dimensional. Turtledove's addiction to unnecessary repetition however grates at times (as mentioned by another reviewer).
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