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American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
by Harry Turtledove

Category: Fiction / Historical
512 pages; ISBN: 034544213

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


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


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