Synopses & Reviews
"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
Alternate History is historical fiction that examines the ramifications of a change or changes in known history. Alternate History can use science-fiction devices -- such as time-travel -- to change history, or it can simply pick a point where, had things merely happened differently (for example: Abraham Lincoln decided not to go to the theater that night, or Henry VIII stayed married to his first wife), history might have taken another path altogether.
This novel of the Civil War examines the outcome of the battle had the Confederate Army had access to a more powerful weapon: the AK-47.
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.