Hitler's War Paperback – 21 Jan 2010
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Turtledove plays heady games with actual history, scattering object lessons and bitter ironies along the way. Strong, complex characters against a sweeping alt-historical background. (Kirkus Reviews on RETURN ENGAGEMENTS)
With shocking vividness, Turtledove demonstrates the extreme fragility of our modern world . . . This is state-of-the-art alternate history, nothing less (Publishers Weekly on HOW FEW REMAIN))
The master of alternative history asks the question, 'What would have happened if World War II had started in 1938?'. The results are thrilling.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
However, it is let down by Turtledove overdosing on his standard style of concentrating on the experiences of a host of characters from across the globe. This approach worked in the "Colonization" and the "American Empire/Settling Accounts" series because it was tempered with the view of real figures and some of the policy makers. In this volume the balance is very much on the fictitious participants and, goodness me, there are a lot. The consequence is you end up not caring because we get so little background. The other issue is one of language; he repeats the weaknesses of the "Colonisation" series of making non-Americans seem stereotyped and, well, silly in their speech. Brits say bloody a lot, French say "mon dieu!" etc, etc. Lazy writing.
This book kicks off yet another alternative version of World War II from Harry Turtledove, and I was quite astonished that he can still find new things to write about it, but he does and I found it an excellent read.
In the opening paragraphs of the book Turtledove makes two changes in real history, and works from there. First, in 1936 General Jose Sanjuro listens to the pilot who warns him not to overload their light plane with heavy trunks full of his uniforms. Consequently the plane does not crash, (as in real history it did) and Sanjuro rather than Franco becomes leader of the Nationalist side in the Spanish civil war.
Then during the Munich negotiations, news comes that the leader of the Sudeten Germans, Konrad Henlein, has been assassinated by a Czech. Hitler, wanting war, uses this as an excuse to press for even more punitive terms against Czechoslovakia in the hope that they will be rejected. Chamberlain and Daladier, finally recognising that Hitler is determined on war and suspecting that he had actually ordered Henlein's murder himself, tell the Germans that if they attack Czechoslovakia Britain and France will honour their obligations to the Czechs. Hitler orders the invasion of Czechoslovakia on the spot and the war starts a year early.
As usual for a Harry Turtledove book, the war is seen through the eyes of a large number of fictional viewpoint characters, one or more from each of the countries involved: these include an American woman caught in Prague by the outbreak of war, a Jewish family in Munich, a German panzer commander, stuka pilot, and U-Boat skipper, British and Japanese sergeants, a Czech corporal, etc.Read more ›
In it, Turtledove tries something new; instead of positing a single point of divergence, he imagines two: the avoidance of the plane crash in 1936 that killed the Spanish general Jose Sanjurjo and allowed Francisco Franco to take over Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War, and the assassination of Sudeten German leader Konrad Heinlein in the midst of the Munich Conference. Turtledove uses these to create a different Second World War, one in which Germany begins the conflict without some of the advantages they would enjoy a year later, and with the Soviets fighting against the Nazis from the outset.
In narrating this conflict the author uses his usual technique of using the experiences of a series of fictional soldiers and civilians to depict events. While some fans will find this familiarity comforting, it gives the distinct sense of the novel as nothing more than another by-the-numbers alternate history work in the Turtledove mold, with little outside of the premise that is original. This would matter less if the book were up to his earlier standards, yet it is not. Character development is particularly lacking.Read more ›
I finally shut up shop just a few pages further on as an American character was given respite from walking on her bleeding feet when.... "Somebody gave her a pair of flats".
Sorry Harry, this is written in far too modern a style for my personal tastes, and reminds me of someone that has never ventured beyond the continental United States in his life. One whose diction and written style plus understanding of his own native tongue is far too localised for me to portray a convincing set of characters involved in war torn 1930's Europe.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Turtledove uses a tried formula to present a what if scenario. Using specific individuals set throughout the operational area, from a wide spectrum of society, he develops the... Read morePublished 8 months ago by 24229540
Very disappointing and tediously repetitive (as described by others). A series of 'personal perspective' stories from the various fictional characters embroiled in the (premature)... Read morePublished 8 months ago by David Pioli
I've read a lot of Harry Turtledove and having read this novel I see my faith in his skill as an alternate history author is justified.Published 13 months ago by Paul
Author was recommended to me. This is the first I've read by Turtledove and so far I've found it hard to put down even though it's a 'what if' theme.Published 18 months ago by Gerry Swift
An enjoyable read, very much in the author's usual, easy to read style. The only disappointment is that it does not seriously depart from what actually happened a year later than... Read morePublished 22 months ago by M. H. Newton
Really struggled with this one. It failed to excite and I've abandoned it after two events. Sorry but there are better books by Mr Turtledove. Read them first, any of them really. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kilo Cameron
As with HT's other alternative history books, a knowledge of what in reality happened is what makes HT's alternative history track enjoyable. Read morePublished on 31 Aug. 2013 by Mr. Geoffrey Calvert
Things i liked- Wide ranging, the battles and locations seem well researched, it doesnt do what a lot of American war novels do and pretend it was USA!! Read morePublished on 27 July 2013 by M. Notman