Harry Turtledove, the master of alternate history, crafts arresting novels based on hypothetical scenarios and featuring iconic figures from the past. How Few Remain, a novel of the second war between the states, is hailed as "compelling" by Publishers Weekly in a starred review.
A generation after the South wins the Civil War, it annexes critical territory in Mexico. Outraged, the United States declares total war. This time the American army faces danger on all sides--Confederates, outlaws, Apaches, French, and even the British. George Custer and Teddy Roosevelt fight hard and give the Americans hope. But to win, they need a commander as brilliant as Stonewall Jackson, and they must stop Jeb Stuart’s glorious cavalry.
Riveting what-if situations make this a unique, intriguing book. Expert narrator George Guidall creates distinct personalities for the numerous characters, including socialist lecturer Abraham Lincoln, Confederate President James Longstreet, and antiwar journalist Samuel Clemens.
©1997 Harry Turtledove (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC
You probably haven't heard of Harry Turtledove. However, if you're into alternate history on a grand scale, or are passionate about the history, politics and leaders during the Civil War, you know EXACTLY who this author is, and his wonderful body of work.
If you look up his work, you may step back and say, "Where do I begin?"
You begin HERE. This audiobook is the doorway to all of the author's other tremendous and well-written works for this period, and beyond.
Once the story shifts to the changes that take place, the journey is both encompassing and engaging, which are true prerequisites for good alternate history novels.
You'll meet well-known characters such as Lincoln and Custer in this audiobook, but you'll also meet unsung heroes who complete a tremendously woven tapestry for the entire series.
Turtledove has done his research, and it shows. From speech patterns, descriptions, reactions and more, the author will take you there, and give you a thirst for more in this series.
Thanks, Harry, for such well-written and entertaining writing.
I've read (in print) all the Turtledove USA v CSA novels and this is the base for all of them. It was wonderful to hear the work performed so perfectly. There are many characters in a Turtledove novel and Guidall presents them all uniquely, yet without the overly done accents that plague other audiobooks.
If you're new to Turtledove, start here. You will either love the historical details and the rambling "period accurate" speech patterns, or you will hate it. Turtledove has a distinctive writing style wherein many phrases are used to excess. It can be charming and annoying at the same time, like hearing a favorite uncle tell a long story.
How Few Remain focuses on detailed character explorations of famous historical figures, like Lincoln, Custer, Teddy Roosevelt and Frederick Douglass, and how they react to their times. It's not a book full of thrilling battle scenes.
Try it. You'll either keep going and devour the rest of the long saga, or you'll get exasperated with the pace and lack of action and stop here. Either way, it's worth a listen.
This story wasn't bad; if I hadn't already been very familiar with this sub-genre, alternate history, I might have rated How Few Remain more favorably. As it is, I have read the best, so this was just good, not great. There are many, "what ifs" the author considered well and I was very pleased to get some up close time with my favorite man from this time, Frederick Douglass. As always George Guidall did a masterful job of narrating this novel.
If you were looking for something like Inglourious Basterds (not my misspelling) or Burning Paradise, this might not be for you. If, however, you're new to the genre, have at it.
How Few Remain is a fascinating story. It gives a fascinating "what if" glance at the United States history and makes humans out of larger-than-life figures from history.
If I had to select a favorite character, it would have to be Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). Turtledove does a masterful job of mimicking the writing style of most of the characters, but he nails it with Clemens. Every time one of his portions popped up, I found myself listening more intently.
The story's action and politics are well paced, and no part of the book seems to drag on. Guidall's read of it helps, keeping the character's varied dialects convincing and interesting. He really helps you hate the unlikable characters (like Pope) and empathize with the sympathetic characters (like Douglass).
The main problem with the book stems from the actual narrative crafting. There are several detailed romantic encounters in the book, all of which are remarkably awkward to listen to and add no relevant detail or character development. Further, all of the story's main plot arcs end in anti-climatic fizzles, rather than a thunderous boom. Also, the tone is very depressing and pessimistic. I was curious if this was a product of Turtledove's time, but was surprised to find out the publication date was 1997.
If you're looking for a convincing alternate history reconstruction or a critical look at how politics shape the world we live in, this book is a good fit for you. If you have thin skin about national pessimism, racial relations or adhering to traditional storytelling, you might want to let this one pass you by.
This is my first Turtledove experience but it shall not be my last. I downloaded other books in this series and I'm looking forward to listening to them next. Major props to the reader! He brings the material to life.
The plotline and narration. Guidall's great with accents, without overdoing them.
Afraid I can't pick one. All were excellent.
I have. All of his narrations are quite good. This is his best so far I believe.
Afraid I can't think of one.
A must-have I feel for any alternate history fans.
Alternate history--what if the South had won the Civil War/War of Secession? Another war...20 years later...and the continent continually separated. The characters are those we might remember: Longstreet as President of CSA, J.E.B. Stuart & George Custer as cavalry commanders, Teddy Roosevelt as a shiny new leader. It all comes together and the reader wonders if it could have happened?
As the title for my review states, this was my first foray into "alternative history", and I couldn't have picked a better novel to start with.
Having just finished North and South last year, this was great way of thinking about the "what if" of the civil war. Turtledove does a great job of putting together a plausible story to support his cast of historical characters. At first it seemed a bit odd, as the story goes against everything I know about the characters and history of this period, but after a few chapters giving the background of how the alternative events came to be, the story started to flow and I accepted the story as it unfolded.
From what I understand, there are some follow on books to this one, but this novel stands on it's own without a "cliff-hanger" style ending. I'll likely give them a read, although I believe the story picks up a decade or so later, so the period will change somewhat.
Give this book a read if you're interested in the Civil War period, interesting historical figures, and if you have an accepting and good sense of imagination.
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