Read a Book!: Guns of the South

March 16, 2009

Guns of the South

by Harry Turtledove

Borrowing books is fun.

I had some major issues with this book; so much so, it is the first book I am not going to recommend in and of itself. Nota Bene, there be spoilers ahead. If you do not wish be have things spoiled, Read a Book!

My first problem was with the ultimate enemies of the book. “America Will Break” are racist Boers from the future. I mean, come on. I could understand actual Southerners came from the future; I could understand them turning on the newly independent CSA after they start changing in ways they do not approve. But Boers would not care enough, no matter how racist they are.

The constraint on the time machine seemed a little artificial. Only 150 years, back and forth? From what the AWBs implied, there were better time machines out there. Why did they not steal a better one?

Thirdly, Mr. Turtledove leans a little too much on the root cause of the War Between the States being slavery. Number of references to Northern supported tariffs hurting Southern industries: 2. Number of references to Southern self determination: a couple of dozen, give or take. Number of references to slavery: too many for me to want to count. I share Turtledove’s Robert E. Lee’s annoyance about the implication that slavery is the issue here.

Still, Mr. Turtledove seems like a decent writer. It was a dense read; it took me 5 whole days to read though it (and that is a long time for me). It might be worth your time, especially if you are a Yankee and think Southerners are racist by definition. So, Read a Book!


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