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Publisher's 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
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tami A.
  • 28-10-2016

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.

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 11-07-2017

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Max
  • 27-06-2017

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne Hughes
  • 24-04-2017

inconsistent pronunciarion

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

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • USMC0931
  • 22-04-2017

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Elie M.
  • 09-04-2017

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill
  • 13-01-2017

The Confederacy in 2016!

I had heard this book in the 1990's as read by Dick Estel on WEAR radio in Lansing Michigan. Mr. Estelle still (I believe) reads for 30 minutes a day every weekday. My wife had a conversation about this premise and I was flabbergasted to find it had actually been made into an Audio book! Believe me, I've looked for it in the past! As for the less than stellar rating, I very much wanted to be brought up to 2016 but having heard it previously, I knew it wouldn't happen...

Author, Mr. Turtledove, I will now be buying SEVERAL of your books!!! Thank You

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 12-10-2016

One of Turtledove's very best...

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

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Nate N.
  • 06-08-2018

When two worlds collide

Very well done take on what would happen if modern technology were introduced to one side of civil war. Not just exploring how it would materially affect the outcome, but the unforeseen costs of accepting this "gift". Thoughtful look at the motives of the historical figures of the civil war. This work of fiction helped me to better understand the background of the war and the personalities involved. Well done!

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  • Parts
  • 04-08-2018

What if?<br /><br />

Every thinking person is filled with "what if" questions. Turtledove does not disappoint with this alt history asking, and answering the question of a southern victory. To me it is less about future people, with future weapons aiding the south in their quest for independence from the north, than it is about what happens after. This it s the real genius of Turtledove, to bring to life in a way that is consistent with what we know of historical figures in an immensely plausible and believable way. So much so that the reader cannot help but think this is indeed what would have happened if only.....


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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-07-2018

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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  • Steve Hocking
  • 31-03-2018

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.

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  • Steve Downing
  • 30-09-2017

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.