On the eve of America's greatest victory in the Pacific, a catastrophic event disrupts the course of World War II, forever changing the rules of combat....The impossible has spawned the unthinkable. A military experiment in the year 2021 has thrust an American-led multinational armada back to 1942, right into the middle of the U.S. naval task force speeding toward Midway Atoll& and what was to be the most spectacular U.S. triumph of the entire war.
At the start of Australian author Birmingham's stellar debut novel, a United Nations battle group, clustered around the U.S.S. Hillary Clinton (named after "the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States"), is tasked in the year 2021 with stopping ethnic cleansing by an Islamist regime in Indonesia. When an experiment goes horribly wrong on a special ship doing research on wormholes, most of the battle group is deposited in the middle of the U.S. fleet on its way to Midway in 1942. The WWII carriers and supporting vessels attack a Japanese Self-Defense Force ship, triggering devastating computer-operated defensive fire from the 21st-century fleet. While the action sequences are outstanding, this book really shines in depicting the cultural shock that both navies experience. The Clinton group reflects a multicultural society that finds the racist and sexist attitudes of 1942 America almost as repugnant as those of the Axis powers, while the mere thought of non-whites and women not just serving in uniform but holding command drives many Allied officers and civilian officials apoplectic. The author also subtly shows the ways in which 20-plus years of the War on Terrorism have changed our attitudes. Unlike many alternate histories, the novel avoids the wish-fulfillment aspect inherent in the genre. This is the first of what should be a hugely (and deservedly) successful series. Agent, Russ Galen at Scovil, Chichak, Galen Agency. (June 1) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-6 of the 6 most recent reviews
1 . A great what if
Posted August 10, 2009 by Leon O , Metro AtlantaThis book predicts how the war against Islamic radicals could effect the future and the past. While the book may start slow it quickly picks up the pace and ends at a point that leaves you wanting more. If you love both science and history this book is for you. It also addresses how the greatest generation might react to our multi-cultural soceity.
2 . Very interesting alternate history/social commentary
Posted July 14, 2009 by dcdentch , Middleboro, MAI downloaded this title because it was free; after I began reading, I couldn't put it down. The story is huge and can be somewhat confusing at first, but stick with it. The interaction between the 2021 military personnel and the world of 1942 is fascinating, as are the differences in social attitudes. To someone in tune with present-day society, it's sobering to realize just how much outlooks have changed over a comparatively brief 70-year span.
I've already placed the two subsequent books of this trilogy on my wishlist.
3 . Great story - surprised me!
Posted June 17, 2009 by Cal E , Albany NYLoved this book. Anyone who is a fan of military and/or WWII history will love the what-if's. Book has a lot of characters and depth, but to me that was part of the appeal. I did not find this detracted from the overall plot, which was surprisingly well thought out and interesting. The author explores more than just military hardware, he delves into command and control, racial, and cultural differences between 1942 and the near future also.
Looking forward to reading the balance of the series. Great book for free!
4 . Because its free
Posted June 17, 2009 by George , NJI agree with the first reviewer, way to many characters and plot lines. I read it since it was free, but not sure if I will continue the trilogy
5 . Great start to a wonderful trilogy
Posted May 30, 2009 by James Flavin , SydBirmingham is one of Australia's best authors. This book, the first in a trilogy, has the premise 'what would happen if an early 21st century fleet was time travelled back to 1941?'.
The answer - a global pageturner full of historic cameos and well developed fictional characters.
This trilogy will not suit the MTV generation - if you can only keep one thought or one plotline in your head at one time go elsewhere.
6 . Complicated waste of time
Posted May 24, 2009 by Dave , RevelstokeI am 200 pages in and waiting for it to get interesting. The concept is good but it is ruined by way too many characters and plotlines running at the same time and zero character development. Just when I think I might get to know one of the characters the story jumps to a different ship with a whole new cast, and then another ship, and then another and another.... I feel like it should come with a large chart to help keep all the stories and characters straight.. Maybe it will get better but I doubt it. This book was free and that was about the right price.
December 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Weapons of Choice by John Birmingham
EAST TIMOR, ZONE TIME: 0942 HOURS, 15 JANUARY 2021
The Caliphate spy, a Javanese carpenter known simply as Adil, resettled himself against a comfortable groove in the sandalwood tree. The small, shaded clearing in the hills overlooking Dili had been his home for three days. He shared it with an aged feral cat, which remained hidden throughout the day, and an irritable monkey, which occasionally tried to shit on his head. He had considered shooting the filthy animal, but his orders were explicit. He was to remain unnoticed as long as the crusaders were anchored off East Timor, observing their fleet and sending reports via microburst laser link, but only in the event of a "significant development."
He had seen nothing "significant" in seventy-two hours. The infidel ships were lying so far offshore they were often lost in haze and distance. Only when night fell did he have any real chance of seeing them, and even then they remained little more than a blurred constellation of twinkling, faraway lights. Such was their arrogance they didn't bother to cloak themselves in darkness.
Jets roared to and from the flight deck of their carrier twenty-four hours a day. In deepest night the fire of the launches appeared to Adil as though God Himself had lit a torch on the rim of the world.
Occasionally a helicopter would appear from the direction of the flotilla, beginning as a small, indistinct dot in the hot gray sky, taking on recognizable form only as the muffled drone of its engines clarified into a thudding, growling roar. From his hiding spot Adil could almost make out the faces of the infidels in the cabins of the fat metal birds. American, British, French, they all looked alike, cruel and overfed, a thought that reminded him of his own hunger.
He unwrapped the banana leaves from around a small rice cake, thanking Allah for the generosity of his masters. They had included a little dried fish in his rations for today, a rare treat.
Sometimes, when the sun climbed directly overhead and beat down with a slow fury, Adil's thoughts wandered. He cursed his weakness and begged God for the strength to carry out his duty, but it was hard. He had fallen asleep more than once. Nothing ever seemed to happen. There was plenty of movement down in Dili, which was infested with crusader forces from all over the Christian world, but Dili wasn't his concern. His sole responsibility was to watch those ships that were hiding in the shimmering haze on the far horizon.
Still, Adil mused, it would be nice to know he had some real purpose here; that he had not been staked out like a goat on the side of a hill. Perhaps he was to be part of some elaborate strike on the Christians in town. Perhaps tonight the darkness would be torn asunder by holy fire as some martyr blew up one of their filthy taverns. But then, why leave him here on the side of this stupid hill, covered in monkey shit and tormented by ants?
This wasn't how he had imagined jihad would be when he had graduated from the Madrasa in Bandung.