Settling Accounts: Return Engagement

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For other uses, see Return Engagement.
Return Engagement
Cover of 2004 paperback
Cover of Hodder & Stoughton 2004 paperback edition
Author Harry Turtledove
Country United States
Language English
Series Settling Accounts series
Genre Alternate History
Publication date
August 2004
Media type Print (Paperback & Hardback)
ISBN 0-345-45723-4
OCLC 56762349
LC Class PS3570.U76 S48 2004
Preceded by American Empire: The Victorious Opposition
Followed by Settling Accounts: Drive to the East

Return Engagement is the first book of Harry Turtledove's Settling Accounts series of alternate history novels. It is an analogy of World War II being waged on American soil between the United States and the Confederate States.

This series is part of a larger series of novels. For convenience's sake, many Turtledove fans refer to this as the Southern Victory Series. It takes the Southern Victory Series Earth from 1941 to 1942.

Plot summary[edit]

Following the return of the occupied states of Kentucky and Houston to the Confederacy in early 1941, President Jake Featherston breaks his solemn vow and re-militarizes them, essentially declaring war against the United States in act if not in word. US President Al Smith hurries to prepare for war, but his country is sent reeling by the Confederate attack into Ohio on June 22, 1941.

The Yankees under General Abner Dowling and Colonel Irving Morrell fight desperately, but the USA's 1930s-era unwillingness to adequately meet the danger posed by Featherston's remilitarization of the CSA tells, in the form of armed forces which are woefully unprepared to meet the intense Confederate combined arms attack. By 1942 the Confederate Army has reached the shores of Lake Erie and cut the country in two. Meanwhile, the Mormons in Utah have once again revolted, prompting a swift response from the U.S. Army, but compounding the USA's difficulties just as in the last war. A US counterattack in Virginia bogs down, and the Confederates are preparing a second offensive for the summer of 1942 when Al Smith is killed in a bombing raid on the capital city of Philadelphia. A shaken Charlie La Follette is sworn in as President of a nation fighting for its survival.

Meanwhile, in the Confederacy, the murderous persecution of Blacks is escalating towards a full-scale genocide, similar to our timeline's Holocaust. Another hint of things to come is provided when Featherston makes a strategic blunder in rejecting the offer of a physics professor to start research towards producing nuclear weapons, believing that the professor just wants government money to finance an abstruse scientific project - while it is hinted that the US does start a version of the Manhattan Project, located in this case in the state of Washington and overseen by Franklin Roosevelt - in this world an Assistant Secretary of War harboring no presidential ambitions.