Well written, fairly dark and troubling in light of recent political events south of the border. A good one-off from Turtledove.
If you're a fan of alt-history, you're probably familiar with Harry Turtledove and you probably won't need me to tell you that you'll enjoy this book. The synopsis says it all. It's an alternate world where Joseph Stalin's parents immigrated to America and changed their name to 'Steele' before he was born. Steele grows up and rises through the American political sphere. As a result we get to see a pre-WWII and early cold war world with many of the same players, but slight changes. Steele becomes something analogous to the real life Roosevelt and Stalin. He gains power through blackmail, assassinations, and propaganda, while at the same time serves as an advocate for the depression era working and poorer classes. America experiences its first authoritarian dictatorship, rife with forced labor camps for political dissidents, mass executions, and secret police. We get to see an alternate version of WWII with Trotsky leading the USSR, and a cold war conflict in Japan that blends the real life conflicts in Vietnam and Korea. If you like "What If" stories and are a WWII history buff, you'll enjoy this story.
I am recommending this book as an example of how the executive office of the USA could circumvent and subvert civil protections. An easier read than Upton Sinclair's "It Can't Happen Here".
This book is a realistic and troubling depiction of how the history of the United States and the world could have unfolded if Joseph Stalin had been born in America and, through the use of media manipulation, blackmail, mass imprisonment and violence, created a totalitarian state in Washington DC to rival those in Berlin and Moscow.
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