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Summary

January 1864: General Robert E. Lee faces defeat. The Army of Northern Virginia is ragged and ill-equipped. Gettysburg has broken the back of the Confederacy and decimated its manpower. Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal efficiency breathtaking - and Rhoodie guarantees unlimited quantities to the Confederates. The name of the weapon is the AK-47.

©1992 Harry Turtledove (P)2016 Tantor

Critic reviews

"An exceptionally riveting and innovative narrative that successfully straddles the gulf between fact and fantasy." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Harry Turtledove at his best

Time travel and the Confederate Army sounds too far-fetched to believe, but it is written in a completely believable manner, very enjoyable book with a great plot and realistic ending.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting idea

This story has at its heart and interesting idea but ultimately is over long and over indulgent. The pace is slow but evokes the time and place well.

I enjoyed the story but ultimately it felt like a labour more that anything else.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Guns of the South

The title and cover of this book tells you exactly 'what-if' scenario you're getting. Harry Turtledove clearly put a lot of research into this book. The level of detail is high and informs the greater narrative the story follows. Some of the characters we follow are historical heavy-hitters and it's fascinating to follow this speculation on how they might have reacted to the balance of the American Civil War falling in favour decisively for the Confederacy.

I've heard better narrators; I've heard worse. This one interprets - what I suspect are - commas in the text too heavily, so that some sentences are read in a peculiarly stop-start style. Also the narrator's sole voicing for the characters in the book strays dangerously close to Elmer Fudd.

Still, a competent reading of a very interesting idea. Worth a punt.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tami A.
  • 28-10-16

Loved the book but...

This has been a favourite of mine since I bought my first copy in 1992. I love the storyline and how the author works out the plot lines. I also love how Lee deals with the oddity of time travel with the greatest of ease. It might've been interesting to see how he would've marveled at the modern world had he had the chance to see it.

I did NOT care much for the performance. While he did make effort to have the characters speak with the proper enthusiasm, he mispronounced simple words, all the characters sounded the same, and the reading of the story outside of the characters speaking was very dull and monotonous. Many times during long spells of just story, I found myself nodding off. I would not recommend this for listening to while driving.
I WOULD listen to it again, as it's a favourite of mine but please let me know if you ever get someone who knows how to read and make a book come alive for the listener to perform this title.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • 11-07-17

Good

The narrator was good, his southern accents were convincing, albeit his Afrikaner accents not so much (in fairness that's a tough accent for most).

I liked the storyline but couldn't understand why the AWB didn't just travel to the Transvaal. The South African Republic existed at the time, and they would've made more logical allies. Anyway a good and enthralling story nonetheless.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Max
  • 27-06-17

Narrator is just awful

I loved this book when I was a kid. I saw the other reviews about people complaining about the narration being bad. They are all correct. It was like listening to an audio book when audio books first came out. Ironically near the end of the book, like the last freakin chapter, they started doing different voices for characters. I really struggled to finish this and won't ever try to listen to it again.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elie M.
  • 09-04-17

Good

Good Story, very slow at times. Halfway decent narrator, good intonations, good and clear effort. The only problem with the narrator is that every voice sounds relatively the same. Literally every voice!! Also the book is very slow at times, throughout the middle. Otherwise I liked it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • USMC0931
  • 22-04-17

Amazing book, the narrator is not so great

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator has a speech problem with words that end in S. He whistles at the end of every S word. It's extremely annoying until you just start to tone it out, or maybe he stops doing it.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne Hughes
  • 24-04-17

inconsistent pronunciarion

the narrator mispronounced words such as "invalid." said "Curtis" instead of "Custis." a marginal performance.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ted Uptmore
  • 20-08-18

Great story, meh narrator

Great and very interesting novel. My only complaint was that the narrator was a bit quiet but not doing characters voices and the lack of an attempt at in Afrikaaners accent nor much of a more varied southern accent for the various characters other than giving them each a voice (just nitpicking there tho, you can tell exactly who's speaking even if there was no "said Forrest/Nate/Robert/etc")

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michael
  • 12-10-16

One of Turtledove's very best...

If you like his alternate histories, this is a must buy. Give up that Audible credit!

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chris O'
  • 12-10-18

Decent Story, Slow Narration

This book held promise. But from the first few sentences I was going to be hard to listen. The narrator spoke in such a monotone, slow voice. I actually listened to the entire book at an increased speed and most of the time it sounded normal. As for the story, it fell short. I expected more at the end. I was curious to see what changes or advancements would be made as a result of the South’s victory and their knowledge of the future. Curious to hear more of the future USA and CSA. But unfortunately, that did not happen.

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  • Craig Faris
  • 05-10-18

I have been waiting on this audible version

I loved this book from the moment I first heard it on Radio Reader way back in 1999. That edition was surely abridged, which just as good as this one. it is a long book and there are parts that got a little testy but I am still glad I took the time to listen to it on audible.
Now if someone would just record an audio version of The Spectrum Conspiracy by Craig Faris, I'll be a happy man.