American Empire: The Victorious Opposition
Cover of Hodder & Stoughton 2003 paperback edition
|Genre||Alternate history novel|
|July 29, 2003|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
|LC Class||PS3570.U76 A84 2003|
|Preceded by||American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold|
|Followed by||Settling Accounts: Return Engagement|
The book covers the period March 5, 1934 (the day after Jake Featherston's inauguration as President of the Confederate States) to June 22, 1941 (the commencement of Operation Blackbeard).
The United States is able to end a war with Japan, but is beginning to prepare for a fourth war against its southern neighbor—but slowly and reluctantly, as the memories of Great War carnage make the population skeptical of calls for increased military spending. In the Confederacy, Featherston and his Freedom Party enact sweeping changes to all aspects of life, including purging and expanding the Army, abolishing the Supreme Court, and using camps to kill off Whig and Radical Liberal politicians before using them to eliminate the black population of the Confederate States. To solidify popular support, Featherston makes good on his campaign promises to mechanize Confederate agriculture and bring electricity to communities across the CSA. These measures also have the effect of war preparations, ensuring that the CSA will fight its next conflict as a full fledged, advanced industrial nation. The old-style, somewhat complacent Confederate elites—the planter class—are eclipsed in political life by the mass-based, militaristic Freedom Party, driven by Featherston's burning vision of national greatness and revenge.
As these changes are taking place, representatives of the former Confederate states of Kentucky and west Texas (Houston) begin calling for a return to their rightful nation, with Confederate partisans in Houston launching an armed uprising against the U.S. Army. U.S. President Al Smith allows himself to be swayed by the peace factions in the USA and gives in to the Confederate territorial demands. Featherston is still not satisfied, and wants more territory that the U.S. had taken in 1917 (Sequoyah, and parts of Sonora, Virginia, and Arkansas).
In an analogue to Britain's historical alliance with Poland in 1939 after the Nazi absorption of Czechoslovakia, Featherston's new demand is at last refused by Al Smith. With the refusal as a pretext, Featherston then issues the order for a full-scale invasion of the United States.
Literary significance and reception
Jackie Cassada in her review for Library Journal called it a "solid choice". Peter Canon of Publishers Weekly said that this volume of Turtledove's saga "may be the strongest and most compelling since the opener". Roland Green reviewing for Booklist agreed that this was the most powerful volume in the series describing the novel as "busy, to be sure, but almost impossible to praise too highly".