Top positive review
Only one problem for me, but still Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on June 22, 2020
I like alternative fiction, but I'm always amazed that the "Confederacy wins" scenarios show them trying to impose slavery on the North, and conquering Mexico and Central America. All they wanted, for better or worse, was autonomy.
But "A Nation Interrupted" was, for me, the most realistic depiction of "what might have been." From McDonald's plausible change in history that turned the course of the Civil War, through WWI and WWII, I saw a realistic depiction of a world that could have been.
This paragraph may be a small "spoiler," but the elimination of slavery in all of America, and the alliance between the two nations is exactly what I, too, think would have happened. But I don't want to give away anything else. Here I will just say that the characters are plausible and likeable, and the unfolding of events is believable and realistic. The book is well-researched, and it is always a relief to find a book that does not have glaring typos, or ignorant shifts in tense, person, and point-of-view. Kevin McDonald apparently knows how to write well, without distracting grammatical and orthographic errors. Or if he doesn't, he has a talent for picking great editors. It was a book that I read through quickly, and the only disappointment I had was that there was not more wrap-up in the last chapters.
Now, what was my problem? Only this: the Civil War killed a multitude of young Americans, who, had they not died, would have gone on to have families, to start careers; realistically, to alter history. People who married someone in "real time" would have married someone else in this one; after all, this Civil War ended two years earlier. This shift in time and history would have shifted our perceptions, our relationships -- and people who were born in our timeline would never have been born. People who don't exist in our timeline would exist and maybe be in leadership positions.
In this novel, Franklin Roosevelt is still the 32nd president, which implies that, after Lincoln, we continued with Johnson, Grant, Hayes, and onward. And in the 20th century, Roosevelt, Truman, Patton, Eisenhower, Nimitz, and many others still exist, and follow the same career patterns, in spite of some now being Confederates.
I also was perplexed to see Franklin Roosevelt arrive for a meeting in a Lincoln. Since this Abraham Lincoln lost the war, I don't think he would have been held in the same reverence as he is now, and most likely would not have a luxury automobile named after him. Would Grant, the loser of the War, have been the 18th president? There are other things in this line that I just don't think would have occurred.
But, having said that, McDonald writes a better book than I would have written. If I knew then what I knew now, I would still buy it and devote my time to read it. I highly recommend the book.