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The Center Cannot Hold - American Empire 2 Book Review Summary

Detailed Plot Synopsis of The Center Cannot Hold - American Empire 2

As the world licks its wounds from a War and a economic crash, people look for answers and persons to blame. There's not as much 'out for blood' as in the first novel but a considerable amount.
This report prepared by Vitterand1944



American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold is about the aftermath of the Great War in Harry Turtledove's alternate history series from 1924-1933. It is an epic story of the USA and CSA leading up to World War Two. Having won the Great War along with the German Empire, the USA is on top of the world. Canada is a USA colony, and parts of the CSA have been annexed to the USA. The Democrats are booted out of the Powel House in Philadelphia, and Upton Sinclair and the Soclialists take over after over three decades of Democratic rule. In the CSA, a dangerous fanatic, Jake Featherston, and the Freedom Party look to take over the CSA goverment and get revenge on the USA. Blacks are not safe against the Freedom Party. The Mormons and Candians rebel against USA authority, and civil war rages in Mexico, as well as war in South America. As the story comes to an end, both countries are hit by the Great Depression, and the Democrats look to lead the USA back to prosperity, and in the CSA Featherston awaits his revenge on the USA. Many are willing to return the world to war. It's only a matter of time.
This report prepared by Matt Johnson





Del Rey, Jul 2002, 27.95, 512 pp.
ISBN: 034544213

The Great War is over with the United States of America and its ally Germany victorious. For the Confederate States of America it means their first defeat with all the acrimonious accusations following the loss. The noble victories in the War of Secession and the Second Mexican War seem like distant history lessons though not much more than a half of a century has passed.

By 1924, a new generation replaces the glorious war leaders with the incumbents fighting to hold on to their power while insurgents want to grasp authority. In the United States of America, post war prosperity is the greatest the nation has ever known so the in party has the edge. In the Confederate States of America, the defeat is psychologically damaging and the economy is as depressed as ever. Civil war explodes in Mexico and the USA control of Canada is tenuous due to terrorist activities of separatist freedom fighters. Violence fueled by poverty even among the winners threaten control. However, the American Empire learns that the CENTER CANNOT HOLD when the aerial attack from Asia occurs.

Insightful, the latest entry in the AMERICAN EMPIRE: THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD demonstrates why Harry Turtledove is so highly regarded. The detailed plot adheres to the time line and anecdotal information from the previous novels, but moves the clock forward at a very slow pace. Fans of the series will want to see what happens to their heroes during the 1920s, but casual readers need to realize that era is a relatively quiet decade even in the Turtledove alternate world when compared to the previous generation's Great War.

Harriet Klausner
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner








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Chapter Analysis of The Center Cannot Hold - American Empire 2

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 50% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   alternate history Political power play    -   Yes Political plotlets    -   saving govt/kingdom from external overthrow    -   preventing/managing clash/war between govts/kingdoms War or Invasion    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   politician/elected ruler Age:    -   40's-50's

Setting

Terrain    -   Water    -   Mountains    -   Forests Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Sex in book?    -   Yes

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Harry Turtledove Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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