When the Great War engulfed Europe in 1914, the United States and the Confederate States of America, bitter enemies for five decades, entered the fray on opposite sides: the United States aligned with the newly strong Germany, while the Confederacy joined forces with their longtime allies, Britain and France. But it soon became clear to both sides that this fight would be different--that war itself would never be the same again. For this was to be a protracted, global conflict waged with new and chillingly efficient innovations--the machine gun, the airplane, poison gas, and trench warfare. Across the Americas, the fighting raged like wildfire on multiple and far-flung fronts. As President Theodore Roosevelt rallied the diverse ethnic groups of the northern states--Irish and Italians, Mormons and Jews--Confederate President Woodrow Wilson struggled to hold together a Confederacy still beset by ignorance, prejudice, and class divisions. And as the war thundered on, southern blacks, oppressed for generations, found themselves fatefully drawn into a climactic confrontation . . . From the Paperback edition.
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May 01, 1999
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Excerpt from American Front (The Great War, Book One) by Harry Turtledove
George Enos was gutting haddock on the noisome deck of the steam trawler Ripple when Fred Butcher, the first mate, sang out, "Smoke off the starboard bow!" That gave George an excuse to pull the latest fish off the deck, gut it, toss it down into the icy, brine-smelling hold, and then straighten up and see what sort of ship was approaching.
His back made little popping noises as he came out of this stoop. I'm getting too old for this line of work, he thought, though he was only twenty-eight. He rubbed at his brown mustache with a leather-gloved hand. A fish scale scratched his cheek. The sweat running down his face in the late June heat made the little cut sting.
He followed Butcher's pointing finger with his eyes. "A lot of smoke," he said, whistling low. "That's not just another Georges Bank fishing boat, or a tramp freighter, either." His Boston accent swallowed the r's in the final syllables of the last two words. "Liner, I'd guess, or maybe a warship."
"I think you're right," Butcher said. He was little and skinny and quick and clever, his face seamed by wind and sun and spray till he looked to have ten more years than the forty-five or so he really carried. His mustache was salt and pepper, about evenly mixed. Like Enos, he grew it thick and waxed the ends so they pointed toward his eyes. Half the men in the United States who wore mustaches modeled them after the one gracing Kaiser Wilhelm's