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In at the Death: Settling Accounts, Book Four
 
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In at the Death: Settling Accounts, Book Four [Format Kindle]

Harry Turtledove

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Brigadier General Clarence Potter crouched in a muddy trench north of Atlanta. Overhead, U.S. bombers flew through what looked like flak thick enough to walk on. Potter saw smoke coming from a couple of enemy airplanes, but the airplanes went on about the business of pounding the hub of the Confederate States of America flat.

Most of the bombs fell behind Potter, in the heart of Atlanta. As usual, the United States were going after the railroad yards and the factories that made the capital of Georgia so vital to the CSA. As far as Potter could tell, the latest bombardments were overkill. By now, Atlanta’s importance was gone with the wind.

The locals, those who hadn’t refugeed out or been blown sky high, seemed stunned at what had happened to their city. Disasters, to them, were for other places. New Orleans had suffered the indignity of capture in the War of Secession. Louisville had been lost in that war, wrecked in the Second Mexican War, lost again in the Great War, and spent an embarrassing generation as a U.S. city afterwards. Richmond had been battered in the Great War, and was taking it on the chin even harder now. But Atlanta? Atlanta just kept rolling along.

Except it didn’t. Not any more.

Bombs were falling closer now, working their way north. Potter had seen that happen before. The lead airplanes in a formation would put their bombs about where they belonged–or where the bombardiers thought they belonged, anyhow. Bombardiers farther back would use those early explosions as targets. But, being human, the bomber crews didn’t want to hang around any longer than they had to, so they released their bombs a little sooner than they might have. Work that all the way back through a bomber stream, and...

“And I’m liable to get killed by mistake,” Potter muttered. He was in his early sixties, in good hard shape for his age, with iron-gray hair and cold gray eyes behind steel-rimmed spectacles. His specialty was intelligence work, but he commanded a division these days–the Confederacy was running low on capable, or even incapable, line officers. His cynical cast of mind either suited him for the spymaster’s role or came from too many years spent in it. Even he didn’t know which any more.

“General Potter!” a soldier yelled. “You anywhere around, General Potter?” No doubt for his own ears alone, he added, “Where the fuck you at, General Potter?”

“Here I am!” Potter shouted back. Not a bit abashed, the runner dove into the trench with him. “Why are you looking for me?” Potter asked crisply.

You’re General Potter? Our General Potter?” The young soldier didn’t seem convinced despite Potter’s dirty butternut uniform and the wreathed stars on either side of his collar.

“Afraid I am, son.” Potter knew why the runner was dubious, too. “Back before the Great War, I went to college up at Yale. I learned to talk like a damnyankee to fit in, and it stuck. Now quit dicking around. What’s up?”

“Sir, General Patton’s on the telephone, and he needs to talk to you bad,” the kid replied.

“Oh, joy.” Potter had no trouble containing his enthusiasm. No matter what George Patton imagined he needed, Potter knew he didn’t need to talk to Patton. But Patton commanded an army, not just a division. He headed all the forces trying to keep the USA away from Atlanta. Potter knew damn well he had to render unto Caesar–not that Patton thought Julius Caesar, or anyone else, his equal. “All right. Field telephone still at the same old stand?”

“Uh, yes, sir.”

“Then you stay here. No point getting both of us blasted just because General Patton’s got the galloping fantods.”

“Thank you, sir.” The runner gaped at him.

Potter hardly noticed. He scrambled out of the trench, getting more tomato-soup mud on his uniform. Fall 1943 had been wet. A good thing, too, he thought. Without the rain and the mud, the damnyankees’d probably be at the Atlantic, not Atlanta. He knew he exaggerated. He also knew he didn’t exaggerate by as much as he wished he did.
He scuttled over the cratered landscape like a pair of ragged claws. Who was the crazy Englishman who wrote that poem? He couldn’t come up with the name. Bombs whistled down from above. None did more than rattle his nerves.

The field telephone was only a couple of hundred yards from where he’d sheltered when bombs started falling. The soldier with the ungainly apparatus and batteries on his back huddled in a foxhole. Barring a direct hit, that was fine. Potter wished he hadn’t thought of the qualifier. The operator held out the handpiece to him.

“Thanks,” Potter said, and then yelled, “Potter here!” Field-telephone connections were generally bad, and bombs going off in the background definitely didn’t help.

“Hello, Potter. This is Patton!” The army commander also shouted. No one was likely to mistake his rasping voice for anybody else’s, even over a field telephone. Potter supposed the same was true of his own. That turned out not to be quite true, for Patton went on, “If the damnyankees capture a telephone, they can put on one of their men claiming to be you and talk me out of everything I know.”

“Heh,” Potter said dutifully. He was sick of being suspected and twitted because of the way he talked. “What do you need, sir? The runner said it was urgent.”

“He’s right,” Patton answered. “I’m going to send the corps that your division is half of against the U.S. forces between Marietta and Lawrenceville. You’ll go in by way of Chamblee and Doraville, and cut off the Yankees east of there. Once we drive them out of Lawrenceville or destroy them in place there, we reopen communications from Atlanta to the northeast.”

“Sir, do you really think a one-corps attack will shift the U.S. forces in that area?” Potter tried to ignore the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Patton’s answer to every military problem was to attack. He’d won great triumphs in Ohio and Pennsylvania in 1941 and 1942, but not the one in Pittsburgh that might have knocked the USA out of the war. And his counterattacks against U.S. forces in Kentucky and Tennessee and Georgia this year had cost the Confederate States far more men and matériel than they were worth.

“We need to reopen that route now, General,” Patton replied. “Even if that weren’t obvious to anyone with a map, I have orders from the President.”

What Jake Featherston wanted, Jake Featherston got. The only thing the President of the CSA wanted that he hadn’t got was the one he’d needed most: a short, victorious war. Even getting a war the country could survive didn’t look easy any more.

Speaking carefully, Potter said, “Sir, the Yankees already have more force in place than we can throw at them. If you try to knock a brick wall down with your head, you hurt your head worse than the wall.”

“It’s not so bad as that, Potter,” General Patton insisted. “They offer us their flank. We can go through them like a ripsaw through balsa wood.”

Potter admired him for not saying like a hot knife through butter. Patton had his own way of speaking, as he had his own way of doing things. For better and for worse, he was his own man. Right now, in Potter’s view, it was for worse.

“If that’s their flank, it’s not soft, sir,” Potter said. “And they have lots of artillery covering the approach. As soon as we start moving, we’ll get plastered.” Two bombs burst close enough to rattle him. “Hell, we’re getting plastered now.”

“We’ve had this argument before, farther north,” Patton said heavily.

“Yes, sir. I have to say the results up there justified me, too,” Potter said.

“I don’t agree. And I don’t have time for your nonsense, either, not now. As I say, my orders come from the President, and leave me no room for discretion,” Patton said. “You will attack, or I will relieve you and put in someone else who will.”

Do I have the courage of my convictions? Potter wondered. To his relief, he discovered he did. “You’d better relieve me, then, sir,” he said. “I’m sorry for the men you’ll throw away, but I won’t be a party to it.”

“You son of a bitch,” Patton said. “You yellow son of a bitch.”

“Fuck you...sir,” Potter said. “Sorry, but you won’t get to pin the blame for your mistakes–and the President’s mistakes–on me.”

“Brigadier General Russell will go forward to take your division,” Patton said. “Don’t wait for him. You are relieved, effective immediately. Come back here to central headquarters at once–at once, do you hear me? We’ll see which shelf the War Department decides to put you on after that.”

“On my way, sir,” Potter answered, and hung up before Patton could say anything else. He shouted for a driver.
His yells attracted a captain on his staff before they got him a motorcar. “What’s the commotion about, sir?” the officer asked.

“I’ve been relieved,” Potter said bluntly. The captain’s jaw dropped. Potter went on, “Brigadier General Russell will take over for me. He’s going to send you northe...

Revue de presse

PRAISE FOR HARRY TURTLEDOVE

“Turtledove [is] the standard-bearer for alternate history.”
–USA Today

Settling Accounts: The Grapple

“[A] magisterial saga of an alternate America . . . a profoundly thoughtful masterpiece of alternate history.”
–Booklist

Settling Accounts: Drive to the East

“First-time readers can jump in and enjoy Turtledove’s richly rearranged cultural and political landscape.”
–The Kansas City Star

Settling Accounts: Return Engagement

“Strong, complex characters against a sweeping alt-historical background.”
–Kirkus Reviews


From the Hardcover edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 699 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 641 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 034549248X
  • Editeur : Del Rey (31 juillet 2007)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B000U6F9Z0
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  85 commentaires
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Good ideas, mediocre writing 30 août 2007
Par Christopher R. Magee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book both benefits from the positive aspects of the other books in this series as well as suffers from the same drawbacks. On the positive side, it is a very interesting concept with good ideas. Instead of stopping with the Civil War as most writers do, Turtledove continues to chart a course of alternate history into the present day, culminating in the rise of an American Hitler and a country split into bitter foes. Idea-wise, the book is worthy of four or five stars.

Sadly, like all of his books, this one suffers from his writing style. In a nutshell, he's incredibly repetitive. His dialogue, both internal and external, is always the same, and doesn't add anything to the book. Among the "insights" Turtledove constantly beats us over the head with are the following: Enlisted men think their officers are stupid. Soldiers hope they don't get killed. Every character is surrounded by idiots who can't understand what he's saying. No one likes black people. Everyone swears a lot. Soldiers who have sex with women in the occupied areas will get venereal disease. There's nothing wrong with these ideas in and of themselves, but every character has to think them or say them in every scene. Harry - we get it! You don't need to keep saying the same things over and over. Any time a black person says something that makes sense, the person being talked to is shocked that such a thing could happen. Countless characters blush, turn red or blink when someone says something. A typical scene goes something like this: Soldier A: "You horrible people killed all those Negroes." Soldier B: "It's not like you wanted them in the U.S.A." Then Soldier A blushes. There are about 400 scenes of someone complaining and then the person they are complaining to swearing at them and telling them they can get away with that because their side won. It's just a very unsophisticated level of discourse.

The book also seems a little unbalanced. The war ends about 2/3 of the way through and the last 200 pages are the aftermath. It seems like he's ending it too far from the climax. Yes, we want to know what happened to the characters afterwards, but this is a little much.

Overall, if you've read the other books in this series you'll have to read this one. If you haven't read any of them, and you think you can put up with the writing style, start at the beginning or this one won't make any sense.
12 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A Fitting End 10 septembre 2007
Par D. Mataconis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Through eleven volumes and nearly 100 years of alternate history, Harry Turtledove has been writing the story of a North America quite different from the one that we've lived in.

It's a world in which the Confederacy won the Civil War in 1862 thanks to a twist in history. In our world, just prior to the Battle of Antietam, a Union solider found a copy of General Robert E. Lee's General Order 191, which revealed the deployment plans of the Army of Northern Virginia as it moved into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Though some historians would argue the point, the discovery of those plans allowed the Union, then commanded by (the generally incompetent) George McClellan to force the Confederates into a battle at Antietam Creek that they weren't ready for. A battle which the Union won, and which became the military victory upon which Lincoln based the Emancipation Proclamation, which changed the entire character of the Civil War, especially in Europe, from an internal American dispute, to a war against slavery.

In Turtledove's universe, that never happened. Instead, the Confederates scored decisive victories in Pennsylvania and, with the help of British diplomatic intervention, gained their independence.

Through ten novels, Turtledove has weaved the story of what a North America dominated by two powerful and antagonistic countries might be like. And it hasn't been a pretty story. A Second Civil War in 1880, which led both countries to seek alliances in Europe. And, when those allies went to war in the early 20th Century, the USA and CSA fought each other in a brutal war that resulted in the CSA being ground down much in the way Germany was after World War I.

In what is apparently the final volume of the series, Turtledove lays bare the consequences of the choices that his characters have made. The destruction of the Confederacy that was anticipated in the last volume becomes inevitable long before the book is over. But that's only part of the story.

The far more interesting question, which many of the characters that we've come to know only start to deal with as the book ends, is what happens next. Will the United States be forced to occupy the former CSA for decades until it finally submits ? Will the people of the CSA ever really accept responsibility for the fact that they supported a man who murdered at least eight million people ? What ever happened to the Canadian rebels ? Or the Mormons for that matter ?

Even though the book stretches more than 600 pages,many of these questions are left unanswered, leading, of course, to the obvious conclusion that there might be at least one more book in the works.

It would be nice to see those loose ends wrapped up, but, in the end, this was a satisfying end to a series resulted from, and has created, more than a few interesting alternative history scenarios.
9 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not bad. Not at all bad. But Yankee tobacco is still awful. 3 août 2007
Par Virginia Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Warning: contains spoilers

Harry Turtledove seems to have stepped back from his standard writing style, full of ticks and repetitions and written "In at the Death" as he wrote 20 years ago when he wasn't managing a handful of serial novels on several timelines -- competently, cleanly, and in good English, if not with the style of a Robert Crais or a Robert Harris, and a lot more enjoyable to read than the previous books in the series. The plotting is very good, and the fates of the central characters about what you would hope for and expect.

Jeff Pinkard gets hanged by the neck until... Good. But even better Turtledove lets Jonathan Moss make a decent defense, one that was legally stronger than "just following orders" allowed at Nuremberg. Whether he meant to or not (and I think it was fully deliberate), HT effectively raises a question still relevant (Darfur, Rwanda, Kosovo) as to just how far national sovereignty governs, and where the international community gets to make laws to fit genocide and other especially abhorrent crimes.

The ex-Navy Chief raised a bunch of questions about HT's total ignorance of the Navy and its methods of operating -- I'm a retired reserve officer from the engineering duty line -- that are the same ones that have bugged me since Carsten started learning to be a "ship handler" officer. I wish somebody had taken HT down to whatever naval base is close to his house and given him a bit of instruction.

I'm also a nuclear physics type, and the description of the CSA weapons project rings very hollow. With just a few lines here and there it could have been made much better. But to the skeptics who say the CSA couldn't have enriched uranium in Lexington, let me say that they didn't. Read it closely; the CSA uses a "jovium bomb" (ie Plutonium), probably a lot like the physics package used over Nagasaki. Still and all, I'm surprised that the reactor survived the bombing. And the notion that both England and Germany got the bomb, and all the countries got their first bombs within weeks of one another, is simply incredible and a very poor plot device. I think I would cut half a star just for that if Amazon would let me.

But there are strange and uncomfortable gaps. What did happen to the Mormons? Did they find Deseret in Hawaii? What about Yossel Reisen, Flora's nephew, or did I miss something? He's just gone. What happened along the railroad in Canada with Mary shot (and a good thing that!)? Did things settle down? I think not.

The CSA surrenders at Appomattox, with General Ironhewer (Who's he? He was parachuted in because HT could translate Ike's last name, and not because he was a pre-existing character -- a poor device) in the role of US Grant and Patton as Lee. But the ceremony is far more Yorktown than either Appomattox or Reims, and probably that's just right. But it wasn't "the world turned upside down."

Still, this is the best book in the Settling Accounts series. The best written, the most satisfactory plotting (gimmicks aside), but with an end that leaves room for a reunited USA to face the Empire of Japan, both armed with nukes, sometime around 1955 or 1965. With the Mormons being the meat in the Sandwich. (Sorry; couldn't resist.)
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable ending to Turtledove's longtime series 1 août 2007
Par Mark Klobas - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Harry Turtledove's alternate history series has a lot in common with a summer cinematic blockbuster. They come out like clockwork, offer a good deal of action, but not too much below the surface. The last volume, The Grapple (Settling Accounts, Book 3), was a particularly disappointing entry, as Turtledove seemed to have lost any interest in what was becoming a monotonous series. This, the concluding volume of his "Settling Accounts" quartet, however, is a much more enjoyable addition. Rather than stretching things out further, he wraps up his alternate Second World War between the United States and the Confederacy with a bang -- in fact, with several of them.

At the end of the last volume, the Confederacy was sliding towards what seemed an inevitable defeat, with U.S. forces striking towards Atlanta, General Sherman-style. While Turtledove picks up where he leaves off, he throws in enough twists to keep the story interesting. And though the war ends well before the last page, there is more than enough in the later chapters to satisfy readers who have followed the series from its initial volume, How Few Remain, as the postwar fates of many lasting characters are sketched out for the reader. As a result, while this volume may lack some of the imagination of his "Crosstime Traffic" series, longtime fans of the series will find little to disappoint them here.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 This one actually didn't suck 27 janvier 2008
Par JLT - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I wasn't optimistic after the trilogy-padding "The Grapple", but it was a good read. If you haven't read the other books, you won't read this one, and if you have, you've probably resigned yourself to finishing the series, but you won't suffer for it. I started the series w/ "How Few Remain" ten years and one city ago. Weird to have it finished.
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