Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review: "Hitler's War"

Hitler's War is the latest Harry Turtledove book. The change in history this time is that the war starts in 1938 when Chamberlain DOESN'T appease the Nazis and Czechslovokia is attacked. That and General Franco doesn't become the head of the Nationalist Forces in Spain (the original leader doesn't die in a plane crash).

First off, I have to say that I loved the concept. I have often wondered how something like this would have played out. Turtledove had some interesting twists such as Poland allying with Germany because they were more afraid of Stalin than Hitler in 1938 (and really who can blame them). He also added the twist where the Germans don't have the plane crash with the invasion plans in Belgium so the attack through the Ardennes Forest doesn't happen and we have a conventional attack through the Low Countries and Belgium instead. End result is another almost successful drive to Paris, but the Germans again can't quite pull it out against an intact BEF/French Army that has comparible numbers and tanks. The fun twist is that in 1938 the Germans were tooling around in Panzer 2 tanks armed with 20mm cannons so not only do the Germans have worse tanks but they have a lot less than in 1940 and are still not quite up to Blitzkreig level stuff. They never are able to break through and can only drive the Allies back.

But the counter is that this book wasn't all that well written. I read the Amazon Reviews and they were mostly negative and I can see why. Very disjointed writing and its execution isn't quite up to his better stuff. I am hoping the sequel is better as I love the idea. Stalin is still blundering around shooting everyone, Poland jumped on the Nazis side, and the Germans start the war on much more equal footing and are not the world-beaters they were in 1940. But I think I am going to wait for the paperback on the sequel though.


  1. Last Turtledove book I read was The Man With the Iron Heart - about what a real post-war WWII resistance in Germany may have looked like if the Germans had their act together.

    You comments about the writing though I've noticed from time to time. Sometimes his novels are tight and well written...and other times they really wander.

  2. Yeah, Andy would say "a paycheck book" and he would be right in this case. I think Turtledove sometimes gets into some of his ideas and not so much for others.