Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Never on These Shores

Last month, I received a book in the mail. It was a free copy sent by the publisher with the hopes I would review it. The book is Never on These Shores by Stephen R. Pastore. It is an alternate history of World War Two.

Here is a brief plot summary of the book from Wikipedia:

"1942: The Nazis have successfully landed in Mexico and have invaded the United States through Texas. The Japanese have conquered western Canada and have captured and occupied most of the West Coast from Seattle to the outskirts of Los Angeles. The Italians have launched a massive amphibious assault from Cuba and have taken control of Florida and the Southeast as far north as Atlanta. New York City and Washington D.C. are fortifying and preparing for the onslaught. American forces are stranded in Europe and Southeast Asia. "

To begin, this book is beautifully written. Once I started reading it, I had trouble putting it down. If I had not had to go to work, I would read it all in less than a day. This is a good book and worth the read. If you like war fiction, buy this book!

At the same time, this book is not convincing as to what would have happened had the Axis powers attempted an invasion of the United States of America in 1942. Even if the Germans had avoided an invasion of the Soviet Union, I find the premise unrealistic. The United States would not have been this badly hammered this quickly.

There are many points to consider here. In the real history of the war, Germany invaded the Soviet Union and stalled short of taking Moscow or Stalingrad. This happened despite the fact that the Soviet military was unprepared for the war and that the officer corp. had just been purged by Stalin. Could the Germans have pulled off a more daunting invasion halfway around the world at this time even in the absence of the Soviet front? I find this doubtful. The Italians could not defeat the Greeks in World War Two either and had to be rescued by the Germans. Could they have managed an invasion of Florida much farther away? This is even more dubious. Japanese troops were also stretched all over Asia and Oceania. They could not defend against the American counterattack that happened in the real time stream. Could they have really stretched their troops to undertake a massive invasion of the American West Coast?

Further, in 1942, American war production was just kicking into gear. Most of the new American troops had not been sent overseas yet. There were troops in North Africa and a few starting the process of island hopping in the Pacific. There would have been plenty of American soldiers to throw at overextended Axis supply lines across the USA. Very few would have been trapped overseas. I think the Axis powers would have been crushed in North America.

And Canada would have never have declared neutrality. Canadian troops, even with a British surrender, would have fought on and helped the USA. I think Pastore has seriously underestimated Canada.

Despite these quibbles, this is a good book. If you can suspend disbelief and imagine the world of 1942 as Pastore describes it, this is a strong alternate history. I look forward to reading the sequels which will be coming. Pastore left this story hanging and it appears there will be many more books in this series.

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