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Bring the Jubilee (Millennium SF Masterworks S.)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Bring the Jubilee (Millennium SF Masterworks S.).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Ward Moore(Author)

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Trapped in 1877, a historian writes an account of an alternate history of America in which the South won the Civil War.

Living in this alternate timeline, he was determined to change events at Gettysburg. When he's offered the chance to return to that fateful turning point his actions change history as he knows it, leaving him in an all too familiar past.

Ward Moore wrote few SF novels, but Bring the Jubilee (1953) instantly became a classic of alternate history. It's the definitive story of a timeline where the South won the American Civil War--known in this different 20th century as the War of Southern Independence.

2.3 (11958)
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Book details

  • PDF | 208 pages
  • Ward Moore(Author)
  • Gollancz; New Ed edition (14 Jun. 2001)
  • English
  • 4
  • Fiction

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Review Text

  • By M. W. Stone on 10 January 2010

    I approached "Bring the Jubilee" as one of the classic works of sf in general and alternate history in particular. I came away with a vague sense of disappointment. Perhaps the defects register with me more because I read the book length version first, and only later found the original (and far superior) novelette. This may have brought the difference in quality into sharp relief.The story is set in an alternate world where the South won the civil war. As a result, the defeated North suffered a hyperinflation similar to 1920s Germany, which aborted the industrial expansion and scientific progress of the later 19th Century. Three generations later, the "rump" United States is a backward, rural country very much akin to William Faulkner's South, whose people are similarly fixated on "The War" which ruined everything for them. In this world the North, not the South, is where the lynchings are (negroes have been scapegoated as the cause of the war), where the poor folks live by share cropping or indentured labour, and the Grand Army (read "KKK") engages in terror tactics. Its women still don't vote. The Confederacy, OTOH, is booming, prosperous and has expanded over the Americas into a vast Empire, whose non-whites are humanely treated but denied full citizenship.Well, fair enough, even if debatable, as far as the United States is concerned. But Moore doesn't leave it there. The United States' backwardness has somehow "infected" the whole world. The telephone was never invented (they use morse code telegraphy instead) and heavier than air flight is still a dream. The dirigible balloon is the latest thing. Such cars as exist are steam-powered, and of limited value due to the lack of roads. Electricity has never been harnessed, though the biggest cities have gas lighting. This could do with explanation. Men like Bell and Edison were already well into their teens in 1863, and even if they couldn't pursue their careers in the ruined US, could they not have done so in Canada or elsewhere? And even if they did not, could the same or similar inventions not have been made in Britain, or Germany or even France, all of which made important contributions to science and technology in this period? Germany, in particular, turned out scientists and technologists by the busload, despite having a social system in which Jefferson Davis would have looked like a dangerous radical. 19C America was no doubt a land of opportunity, but the only one? If this Limey may be so bold, that is surely carrying American exceptionalism a bit too far.Thus the novelette. Despite the grumbles above, it made an interesting yarn and would probably merit four stars if not five. But the book is another matter. It has been "padded" out to novel length and the padding shows. It is clumsily done in a manner sometimes inconsistent with the original material. Perhaps the most glaring example is the Holocaust. In this world, Germany is booming and powerful, with none of the traumas of our 20C which brought Hitler to power, yet the Holocaust still happens (and still in Germany, not the more probable Tsarist Russia), and indeed contrives to happen a generation earlier, when Hitler, if born at all, would be still an adolescent. This might be ok if some rationale for it were offered, but we get none - just the bald statement, totally without explanation. The problem is compounded by our being told, some chapters earlier, that the Confederacy welcomes immigrants. Why did the Jews not flee there? Perhaps the welcome did not extend to Jewish immigrants, but again we aren't told so, and it is not obvious that the country which had Judah P Benjamin in its Cabinet would take such an attitude.To crown it all, mention is made of a parallel genocide of Chinese and Japanese Americans, of whom apparently only a handful survive. Yet California, where the vast majority of them lived, is in the Confederacy, where such things allegedly didn't happen.Moore's problem, I suspect, lay in trying a bit too hard to make the alternate world unmistakably worse than ours, as indeed, in many ways it is. But if its defects were offset by not having the Holocaust, then our world's superiority would be far less clear cut. Moore, I think, avoided this at the expense of consistency and credibility.One final complaint. Apart from its own defects, this new material is added at the expense of useful parts of the novelette, which included helpful information about the growth both of the CSA and its rival, the German Union, and about the recent Emperors' War. In the book, these omissions make the history harder to follow.Sorry to be so negative about what is, overall, a fair novel, but that's the problem. It is only good when with a bit more work it could have been great. My advice would be to get the novelette (in "The Fantastic Civil War" and maybe elsewhere) and go on to the novel if you're a completist.

  • By M. J. Wakeman on 21 August 2001

    this is one of the better alternate history stories that i have read but the problem with all of these stories is the seemingly unstoppable desire to show how this alternate history is created. to be sure it is an engaging book and perhaps i have just read too much but the ending was oh so obvious.but it was a good if quick read, in my opinion not as good as dick's 'man in the high castle' but better then robert's 'pavane' cos at least i understood the ending of this one! defintely deserving of the rather backhanded compliment on the inside cover of "...minor classic". to me that's about right.

  • By Lark on 21 December 2008

    This is an alternative history tale in which the confederate states of America won the civil war and are now operating agents within an impoverished, racist and ruined USA, the shoguns remain in control of much of the orient and the great imperial powers, ie Britain, remain in control of world affairs. There are also some cool asides on technological "roads not taken", such as the popularity of airships, clockwork, steam driven cars and mechanisms, piped gas in every home rather than electricity.However for all that great content the narration never loses site of its main character who's an enthusiast for learning and thinking, ill suited to the world of indentured labour and lawless social relations. The story charts his journey and the persons he meets, schemers, plotters, revolutionaries, philosophers and thinkers, up until and including his encounter with an academic commune whose acquaintence he's glad to make and membership of which he is all to eager for.There's not too protracted meditations on life, love, place, belonging and some bizarre twists on the conventional time travel storylog. Inparticular, the motive for time travelling and whether that motive would remain if its innovator was absolutely certain it would have catastrophic consequences for the time line in which they exist, such as being completely wiped out.It was a very enjoyable read, I found much of it heart warming and the book itself has the rare quality of being something missed, like an acquaintence or friend, once its finished because the first person narrative is done so well. The end came as a complete surprise to me which was both amusing and saddening at once. Very clever indeed.

  • By Johnny London on 1 April 2008

    If you like reading about late 19th century America (in the style of the age) then you will like this book. It is not really science fiction, more of an alternative history that has a story woven into it. It probably appeals to American readers more for that reason.I enjoyed it, but if you are after SciFi this may disappoint.However, if you liked Huckelberry Finn you may like this - the story line is kind of similar (a young man's journey).


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