Homeward Bound

At last I read the eighth and last book in Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar/Colonization series. 034545846X_01__SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_It took Turtledove 10 years to finish to write the eight book series. Since I finished the first book on Feb. 13, 1994, it took me almost twice as long to read them.

Review: Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, 2004.

If you haven’t read the proceeding seven books in the Worldwar/Colonization series, there’s no point in reading this one.

 And, even if you have read them, Turtledove’s usual worm’s eye view of things, the puns, the constant repetition about the alien Lizards’ conservatism and human’s reckless innovation, may try your patience. Continue reading

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Two Early American Cranks

This is my third and last post inspired by reading Gordon S. Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution.

No political commentary this time or chiding people for their misperceptions of history.

This one is about two early American writers who, judging by the quotes Wood presents, are worth adding to the monumental to-be-read pile. Continue reading

The Worst of Both Worlds — America the Monarchical Democracy

This is my second piece following up on some thoughts I had after reading Grant S. Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution. His thesis is, essentially, that the leaders of the American Revolution were rebelling against an aristocratic world where birth and personal connections counted more than personal merit, a world of patronage and complex hierarchies which frustrated men of the wrong birth or occupation.

The world they hoped to build was a republic ruled by any men of the right qualities regardless of birth. (It was not, incidentally, thought to be inherently incompatible with a monarchy.) Their dream, after the battlefield and political successes of the Revolution, proved unattainable. America moved to a mass democracy which remade society in all kinds of ways. Wood doesn’t necessarily think that was a bad thing, but he certainly convinces that it was not what the Revolutionaries intended. Continue reading

A Few Misconceptions about the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers

This is not a political blog. But Gordon S. Wood’s The Radicalism of the American Revolution is a political book in its resonances. Both Right and Left in American politics make gestures back to the American Revolution, use it and the Founding Fathers in debates about what America was, is, and should be.

As to the Left side of the debate and their use of this history, I have no intent to point out their factual and interpretive errors. Plenty of people have done that and do it better than I could.

But I would like to keep my fellow conservatives honest. (And I realize that there are many types of conservatives unified only by …. well, what exactly does unify all American conservatives?) Continue reading

Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth

My review of Weirder Shadows Over Innsmouth, the final volume in Stephen Jones trilogy of anthologies that follow up on H. P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, is up at, where else, Innsmouth Free Press.

You should already be reading everything from Innsmouth Free Press.  And, no, they don’t pay me.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War 1

Review: Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! A World Without World War 1, Richard Ned Lebow, 2014.1137278536_01__SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_

Professor Lebow’s book contains something to interest everybody and, as a total package, will probably satisfy few.

The veteran reader of alternate histories will get impatient with the length of the first chapter explaining the idea of counterfactuals and the place of contingency in history.

The reader interested in World War I will find too little following the “sharp agate point” (to borrow a phrase from Winston’s Churchill’s foray into alternate history) on which Lebow’s worlds deviate from ours. Continue reading