The Guns of the South

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Book by Harry Turtledove published in 1992

I've started writing brief reviews or summaries of books I've read. This is one of them.

Quite an interesting alternate history novel about if time traveling white South African Afrikaners from 2014 brought AK-47s to the Confederacy during the American Civil War in order to help it win.

While pulpy, the author did a great job setting the atmosphere of the American South and its people during the time of the civil war. The way he described the elocution and demeanor of Robert E Lee and other figures seemed very believable.


However, the book lost that polish the further on it went.

The book was written in 1992, when South African Apartheid was in full upheaval, and the same year that Fukuyama wrote The End of History, when it seemed a foregone conclusion that western liberal democracy was the final answer to politics.

It’s interesting to read the book with the perspective of 2021, when South Africa is suffering wide-scale looting and political dysfuction, and

massive political turmoil

The book punts on getting into any technical details of how the time travel works, or how to resolve paradoxes with time travelers able to freely travel between 2014 and 1864.