Top critical review
Fascinating concept, but the book could be much better
on 28 December 2010
This book contains stories by various authors about how things might have been different in the Pacific War. This is not "alternative history" fiction like Harry Turtledove's "Worldwar" series. The stories in this book are designed to look like descriptions of actual history, with real historical persons rather than made-up characters. Each writer has chosen one event to fantasise about - for example, what if the Japanese had done a proper job at Pearl Harbor; or what if an important Soviet official had defected to Japan at the initial stage of the war.
My initial fascination decreased significantly when I noticed that Mr. Tsouras had managed to misspell two place names right in the third sentence. Those were not the only amazing misspellings. Among other things, Kwantung Army is consistently spelled "Kwangtung", so Mr. Tsoras seems to actually think that that's the way it's written. Such ignorance and/or sloppiness isn't exactly a credibility bell-ringer.
As to the content, one major flaw in this book is the way how the authors grossly overestimate the governments' willingness to make peace. They seem to think that governments have the ability to see the future and realise that the present situation is the best they'll get, so they better stop fighting and make a reasonable peace treaty. That is hardly the case in real life, and it was definitely not the case in WW2.
I also found it irritating how in most stories, one or another event turning out to the benefit of the Japanese made no difference in the outcome of the war. In other words, the authors' aim seems to be to show that whatever would have happened, the USA would have still won. They're just so tough that nothing in the world can beat them, aren't they?
Also, I occasionally felt overwhelmed by myriads of details.
So, vividly written and interesting to read as this book was, it eventually turned out to be quite disappointing.