Cover image for The great war : breakthroughs
The great war : breakthroughs
Turtledove, Harry.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ballantine Pub. Group, 2000.
Physical Description:
486 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Del Rey book"--T.p. verso.

Sequel to: The great war: walk in hell.
Format :


Call Number
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X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Is it the war to end all wars--or war without end? What began as a conflict in Europe, when Germany unleashed a lightning assault on its enemies, soon spreads to North America, as a long-simmering hatred between two independent nations explodes. Twice in fifty years the Confederate States of America had humiliated their northern neighbor. Now revenge may at last be at hand. Under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt, and following a general named Custer--military genius or madman?--the United States are fighting a war on two fronts in 1917. In the north, from the Pacific to Quebec, U.S. forces in the air and on land are locked in battle against Canada and Great Britain. To the south, at the heart of a line that stretches from the Gulf of California to the Atlantic, Custer intends to do what none of his predecessors had ever managed: to smash through the Confederate barbwire entrenchments in Tennessee. Into this vast, seething cauldron plunges a new generation of weaponry-- submarines, barrels, attack planes, poison gas, and flame throwers--changing the shape of war and the balance of power. While the Confederate States are distracted by an insurgency of African Americans with a dream of establishing their own socialist republic, the United States are free to bring their military and industrial might directly to bear--and to unleash the most horrific armored assault the world has ever seen. Here are leather-jacketed daredevil pilots flying unproved fighters into anti-aircraft fire. Here is a melee on the sea, as U.S. sailors duel Confederate submariners, while the English, French, and Japanese surface navies vie for control of the shipping lanes. In Harry Turtledove's incredibly imagined alternate history, the Great War is played out over a cast of vivid characters. Amidst the sound and fury of battle, as nonaligned nation-states choose sides and politicians spew bombast far from the front lines, The Great War: Breakthroughs captures a world war at an apocalyptic turning point. Victory is at hand--but at a price that may be worse than war itself . . .

Author Notes

Harry Turtledove was born in Los Angeles, California on June 14, 1949. He received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history from UCLA in 1977. From the late 1970's to the early 1980's, he worked as a technical writer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. He left in 1991 to become full-time writer.

His first two novels, Wereblood and Werenight, were published in 1979 under the pseudonym Eric G. Iverson because his editor did not think people would believe that Turtledove was his real name. He used this name until 1985 when he published Herbig-Haro and And So to Bed under his real name. He has received numerous awards including the Homer Award for Short Story for Designated Hitter in 1990, the John Esthen Cook Award for Southern Fiction for Guns of the Southand in 1993, and the Hugo Award for Novella for Down in the Bottomlands in 1994.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The third volume of Turtledove's alternate-reality World War I presses on to 1917, which proves as much an annus horribilis as its real-world counterpart. Trench warfare continues to devour the manpower of both sides and scar both landscape and minds. President Teddy Roosevelt seems ready to fight forever to achieve victory, and socialist congresswoman Flora Hamburger wonders whether forever is exactly how long victory will take. Then things turn in favor of the U.S. and its allies, imperial Germany and Austria-Hungary. The U.S. breaks through Confederate lines in Tennessee, severs East-West communications in western Canada, and declares Quebec an independent republic. As for the story's characters: Dr. O'Doul is to marry Nicole Gaultier, so Quebec anticipates at least one American immigrant. Sam Carsten's and George Enos' naval careers get easier when Brazil joins the Quadruple Alliance, and Confederate submariner Roger Kimball's life gets worse. Confederate Jake Featherston has to yield to the Yankees on the battlefield, though never in his heart, and Scipio is caught between the devil (the Reds of the Congaree Republic) and the deep blue sea (Anne Colleton, who makes Scarlett O'Hara look meek and mild). Victory comes to the U.S. and its allies, but will a Carthaginian peace, with its equivalent of the Treaty of Versailles, sow a crop of new problems? Bet on it, and on Turtledove ending the Great War tetralogy with more of the mastery of military, social, economic, and racial themes evident in this book and its predecessors. --Roland Green

Publisher's Weekly Review

The historian and the creative writer unite in Turtledove to craft another impressive novel, this one the third in his series about an alternate WWI (American Front, Walk in Hell), which has seen a weakened Confederate States of America not only combating the U.S.A. but facing a communist revolt from within staged by its black slaves. In this imaginative sequel, Turtledove displays his usual mastery at maintaining suspense across a broad canvas, with characters that fans will be glad to encounter again: feisty Southern aristocrat Anne Colleton leads a group of militiamen to try to wrest control of her shattered plantation, Marshlands, from the Reds; short-order cook Nellie Semphroch and her amorous daughter escape trial as collaborators thanks to a visit from Teddy Roosevelt; General Custer and his unprecedented command of the army's "barrels"√Ątanks√Ądivision leads to the U.S. scoring some lightning-fast victories. Peace is won, but at a high cost: working mother Sylvia Enos must face the future without a job and as a widow, while Confederate sub commander Roger Kimball may face a war crimes tribunal. Echoing the Treaty of Versailles, the victors make the grave mistake of punishing their enemies so that they dream of revenge. Although a complete and skillfully executed tale in itself, this epic story leaves enough plot threads dangling to demand a fourth novel to tie them up. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

As World War I rages across a divided American continent, the beleaguered United States seeks the opportune moment to gain revenge against its Confederate enemies regardless of the cost. Building on the momentum of the previous two series novels, The Great War: American Front and The Great War: Walk in Hell, Turtledove follows his large cast of historical and fictional characters through the turning point of the war to end all wars. Alternate history's grand master displays his acute knowledge of American history as well as his keen imagination as he paints a vivid portrait of a past that could have been. A good choice for most libraries. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Klaxons hooted the call to battle stations. George Enos sprinted along the deck of the USS Ericsson toward the one-pounder gun near the stern. The destroyer was rolling and pitching in the heavy swells of an Atlantic winter storm. Freezing rain made the metal deck slick as a Boston Common ice skating rink. Enos ran as confidently as a mountain goat bounding from crag to crag. Ice and heavy seas were second nature to him. Before the war sucked him into the Navy, he'd put to sea in fishing boats from Boston's T Wharf at every season of the year, and gone through worse weather in craft a lot smaller than this one. The thick peacoat was warmer than a civilian slicker, too. Petty Officer Carl Sturtevant and most of his crew were already at the depth-charge launcher near the one-pounder. The other sailors came rushing up only moments after Enos took his place at the antiaircraft gun. He stared every which way, though with the weather so bad he would have been hard pressed to spot an aeroplane before it crashed on the Ericsson's deck. A frigid gust of wind tried to yank off his cap. He grabbed it and jammed it back in place. Navy barbers kept his brown hair trimmed too close for it to hold in any heat on its own. "What's up?" he shouted to Sturtevant through the wind. "Somebody spot a periscope, or think he did?" British, French, and Confederate submersibles all prowled the Atlantic. For that matter, so did U.S. and German boats. If a friendly skipper made a mistake and launched a spread of fish at the Ericsson, her crew would be in just as much trouble as if the Rebs or limeys had attacked. "Don't know." The petty officer scratched at his dark Kaiser Bill mustache. "Shit, you expect 'em to go and tell us stuff? All I know is, I heard the hooter and I ran like hell." He scratched his mustache again. "Long as we're standing next to each other, George, happy New Year." "Same to you," Enos answered in surprised tones. "It is today, isn't it? I hadn't even thought about it, but you're right. Back when this damn war started, who would have thought it'd last into 1917?" "Not me, I'll tell you that," Sturtevant said. "Me, neither," George Enos said. "I sailed into Boston harbor with a hold full of haddock the day the Austrian grand duke got himself blown up in Sarajevo. I figured the fight would be short and sweet, same as everybody else." "Yeah, so did I," Sturtevant said. "Didn't quite work out that way, though. The Kaiser's boys didn't make it into Paris, we didn't make it into Toronto, and the goddamn Rebs did make it into Washington, and almost into Philadelphia. Nothin' comes easy, not in this fight." "Ain't it the truth?" Enos agreed fervently. "I was in river monitors on the Mississippi and the Cumberland. I know how tough it's been." "The snapping-turtle fleet," Sturtevant said with the good-natured scorn sailors of the oceanic Navy reserved for their inland counterparts. Having served in both branches, George knew the scorn was unjustified. He also knew he had no chance of convincing anyone who hadn't served in a river monitor that that was so. Lieutenant Armstrong Crowder came toward the stern, a pocket watch in one hand, a clipboard with some increasingly soggy papers in the other. Seeing him thus made Enos relax inside, though he did not ease his vigilant posture. Lieutenant Crowder took notes or checked boxes or did whatever he was supposed to do with those papers. After he was done writing, he said, "Men, you may stand easy. This was only an exercise. Had the forces of the Entente been foolish enough to try our mettle, I have no doubt we would have sunk them or driven them off." He set an affectionate hand on the depth-charge launcher. It was a new gadget; until a few months before, ashcans had been "launched" by rolling them off the stern. Crowder loved new gadgets, and depth charges from this one actually had crippled a Confederate submarine. With a fisherman's ingrained pessimism, George Enos thought that going from one crippled boat to a sure sinking was a long leap of faith. Eventually, Lieutenant Crowder shut up and went away. Carl Sturtevant rolled his eyes. He had even less faith in gadgets than Enos did. "If that first torpedo nails us," he said, "odds are we're nothing but a whole raft of 'The Navy Department regrets' telegrams waiting to happen." "Oh, yeah." George nodded. The all-clear sounded. He didn't leave the one-pounder right away even so. As long as he had reason to be here by the rail, he aimed to take a good long look at as much of the Atlantic as he could. Just because the call to battle stations had been a drill did not mean no enemy submarines lurked out there looking for a target. Quite a few sailors lingered by the rail, despite the rain and sleet riding the wind. "Don't know why I'm bothering," Carl Sturtevant said. "Half the Royal Navy could sail by within a quarter-mile of us and we'd never be the wiser." Excerpted from Breakthroughs by Harry Turtledove All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.