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The Guns of the South by [Turtledove, Harry]
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The Guns of the South Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Length: 577 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"It is absolutely unique--without question the most fascinating Civil War novel I have ever read."
Professor James M. McPherson
Pultizer Prize-winning BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM
January 1864--General Robert E. Lee faces defeat. The Army of Northern Virginia is ragged and ill-equpped. Gettysburg has broken the back of the Confederacy and decimated its manpower.
Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: Its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal efficiency breathtaking--and Rhoodie guarantees unlimited quantitites to the Confederates.
The name of the weapon is the AK-47....
Selected by the Science Fiction Book Club
A Main Selection of the Military Book Club

From the Back Cover

With the power and assurance of a master storyteller and the scrupulous accuracy of a trained historian, Harry Turtledove has created an immense, meticulously detailed, and utterly plausible world in which history takes a most unexpected turn. In The Guns of the South, Turtledove takes one of the most dramatic, bloody, and tumultuous episodes in our life as a nation, the Civil War, and vividly imagines what might have been had the rebels prevailed. In the unusually cold winter of 1864, General Robert E. Lee finds himself and his Army of Northern Virginia huddled on the banks of the Rapidan, trying to fight a war despite meager rations and a terrible lack of equipment - indeed, some of his men do not even have shoes. But when Lee finds a way to arm his forces, the tide suddenly turns; the rebels win a decisive victory at the Battle of Wilderness. Lee presses his advantage, marching on Washington. But if Lincoln surrenders, and the Confederacy can negotiate independence from the Union, there remain many obstacles to peace. The disputed states of Kentucky and Missouri must be accommodated. And the matter of slavery itself will threaten the newly independent Confederate States with fresh factional strife. Indeed, with victory come difficult choices for Robert E. Lee. War has worn down his health. His invalid wife lives for the day the two of them can finally build a peaceful life together. His days of service should be drawing to a close. Yet set against Lee's personal desires is the prospect of watching his beloved land squander the freedom that he and his men fought so desperately to win. Not for his own ambition but because duty calls, Lee will find himself faced with the price oftriumph. Mixing masterfully drawn historical and fictional characters, Turtledove brings to life the turmoil of a people in crisis. Here are the details of what it was like to fight in a Confederate army transformed from ragged to victorious: letters written home on scraps of wallpaper, "coffee" brewed from chicory and burnt grain, the fiery Battle of Wilderness, the march into Washington City and the confrontation with Lincoln, the negotiations between the United States and the Confederate States of America. Turtledove also takes us into conversations between General Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis and fascinating exchanges between Lee and Grant in their roles as keepers of the peace in a land divided. A highly original and extraordinary vision of history as it both was and could have been, The Guns of the South will take its place alongside the most exciting historical fiction ever written about the War Between the States.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5046 KB
  • Print Length: 577 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (20 April 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004JHYS12
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
On one level Harry Turtledove's "The Guns of the South" reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit which asked the question, "What if Napoleon had a B-52 at the Battle of Waterloo?" This alternative history novel about the Civil War asks "What if the South had AK-47s during the Civil War?" The answer is, of course, that Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia would have destroyed the Army of the Potomac and anything else Abraham Lincoln threw at the them and the Southern Confederacy would have won their independence. However, "The Guns of the South" disposes of both the Union army and the Civil War rather quickly, because this alternative history is ultimately about what type of nation the Confederacy would have become. Specifically, what would have happened to the institution of slavery in the wake of a Confederate victory in which conquering hero Robert E. Lee succeeds Jefferson Davis to the presidency?
Turtledove certainly makes an interesting case for the angels of the better nature of the Southern Confederacy, however, for me the most ironic aspect of this novel is that this fictional work provides what I have come to consider the most realistic portrayal of Robert E. Lee; yes, more than "The Killer Angels," which is the obvious choice. As a historical figure, Lee has always been distanced by the reverence with which he is held and his own reticence, which made him rather unique as just about the only Civil War general who survived and did not write his memoirs. Turtledove's Lee has clearly come down off the pedestal and there is something so compelling about the way Lee anguishes over political decisions. Of course, this is all imaginative speculation, but I happen to like imaginative speculation.
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Format: Paperback
Harry Turtledove has the ability to write a novel of such stunning fiction that it takes your breath away. Unfortunately, he also has the ability to write a novel of such numbing inanity that it, again, takes your breath away. This, however, is one of the former types. The book starts innocently enough, but quickly twists and turns, in characteristic Turtledove style, into a maelstrom of different stories, all weaving together into a cohesive whole.
Very few authors have the capacity to pull so many threads together, but Turtledove is one of them, and he produces his magic with a flourish, as suddenly everything you thought you understood about the plot is turned on it's head and yet another new development is unleashed.
Have you figured out I liked it yet? It was excellent - I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading science fiction. I won't use the cliche "impossible to put down", because if you read it without putting it down and thinking about what is happening, you will miss some of the finer nuances in the plot. Well, to be honest, you'll lose some of the major "nuances" in the plot as well :)
In short...
A Very good book. Recommended to all who like Sci-Fi, and Fantasy novels, for that matter. Enjoy.
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By A Customer on 17 Sept. 1998
Format: Paperback
While only a sophomore at the time I read the book last year, and not really being much of a history buff, I couldn't put this book down at night. I don't know a whole lot about the Civil War, I admit, but nearly every minute I was reading this book I was simply amazed and intrigued at the concept let alone the outcome. Reading it, I didn't know what to expect, and what happened in the end was certainly not what I expected. Something that interested me very much was the storyline after the war had ended. The ideas that Mr. Turtledove thought of were not only incredibly in-depth and imaginative, but amazingly accurate to what I, a sophomore in high school, might think would really have happened if the outcome of the Civil War was something like this. This book is not only for history lovers, but for people who love to think of what the past would be like if it had occurred differently. Being this type of person, as well as someone interested in science fiction, I couldn't have found a better book. It made me wonder even more about a little fantasy I have about showing someone like Ben Franklin the technology of today. My thanks to Mr. Turtledove for such a perfectly excellent novel that someone like myself could enjoy. Marc D. Biedermann
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Format: Paperback
This is a pretty good book, but sadly the idea has been done before. About 40 years ago Harry Harrison wrote a book called "rebel in time" in which a redneck US army colonel went back in time with the plans for the Sten submachine gun in order that the South could win the civil war. Harrison's plot was all the stronger because (time travel apart) it was plausible. The Sten was hand made in school metal work workshops during WW2 ans could have been produced with 1850's technology. The AK-47 can't.

Turtledove is a good writer, but sadly this book isn't as good as the original he "borrowed" from.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Harry Turtledove writes long books in long series ..... they're lots of fun but demand a lot of staying power. This stand alone book is therefore a great place to start with this great author!

What starts as a simple premise (and to other reviews - of course it's not original, this sort of thing has been done LOTS of times) - going back in time with modern technology to change the course of history - opens up to an epic tale of the American Civil War. The sci-fi bits (time travel, etc.) are not gone into at all, which means the plot stays very much at the pace of the eigthteenth century soldiers - and I think it works all the better for it.

The majority of characters are real people of the period (including some of the minor bit-players according to Turtledove's notes at the end), but it must be said that a little knowledge of the Civil War will probably help - if you don't know what REALLY happened, can you really appreciate the changes?

The books sags for a bit during the battle scenes, but this is more than made up for in the latter half with the politicians of the days crossing swords with their benefactors of the future.

Excellent stuff - highly recommended!!
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