American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
First edition cover
|Genre||Alternate history novel|
|June 25, 2002|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||American Empire: Blood and Iron|
|Followed by||American Empire: The Victorious Opposition|
American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold is the second book in the American Empire alternate history series by Harry Turtledove. It takes place during the period of the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression (specifically from 1924 to March 4, 1934). During this era in Turtledove's Southern Victory Series world, the Confederate States of America, stretching from Sonora to Virginia, is led by Whigs (with fascists gaining more and more power) while the United States of America (which has been occupying Canada) is controlled by socialists.
During the period, the U.S. shares world domination with Germany (now victors of the Great War) while the C.S.A. faces poverty and national calamity. Much like Adolf Hitler and his rise to power in real-life 1930s Germany, an antagonist named Jake Featherston rides a fascist wave to power in this desperate Confederacy of the Great Depression. The Americans seem to care little about the activities of the Confederates until it is too late and it seems the road is leading the U.S.A. and C.S.A. toward a fourth war (after facing one another in the War of Secession, the Second Mexican War, and the Great War).
The cover of the book (Random House edition) shows the top of a right facing swastika, in red with white stars inside it surrounded by blue, insinuating a new CSA flag for the growing rise of Fascism.[dubious ]
Literary significance and reception
Roland Green in his review for Booklist described this novel as "another harrowing and literate installment in Turtledove's standard-setting alternate history". Jeff Guinn of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram described the plot as "reasonably intelligent, with solid premises".
- David Soyka. "The SF Site Featured Review: American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold". Sfsite.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
- Green, Roland (May 1, 2002). "The Center Cannot Hold (Book)". Booklist 98 (17): p. 1445. ISSN 0006-7385.
- Guinn, Jeff (February 19, 2003). "American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold". Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX).
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