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'If the South Had Won the Civil War' review

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
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In the same way that I once read a book (I think it's in the University of Durham library) discussing alternate histories involving WWII and Hitler more broadly which went into a lot of very interesting detail about the changing shifts in how things were done over time; I feel like there could be an equally fascinating take on it for the Confederacy.
 

Time Enough

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He has these three American nations fight in both world wars together and oppose the Soviet Union together before reunifying in the 1960s.
See a Three Way American Split feels fun, that’s not particularly common in ACW alternative history’s, but the Soviet Union?

What the hell is happening there?
 

Thande

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See a Three Way American Split feels fun, that’s not particularly common in ACW alternative history’s, but the Soviet Union?

What the hell is happening there?
This is part of the tendency in historical US alternate history (probably found in other countries too but it's most noticeable in the US) to act as though everything outside the country is unconnected and will follow a neat historical trajectory regardless of what happens.

Turtledove obviously knows better than this but uses the trope as tool, e.g. in his short story "Must And Shall" which is about the Confederate states being treated as occupied provinces forever, and is set in the 1930s or 40s with the Nazis sending aid to Confederate revanchist terrorists. TL-191 is a balance, with European history copy-pasted so the start of WW1 can be familiar, but the Pacific showcasing how an inward-looking, reduced US changed things (like British Hawaii and the Hispano-Japanese War).
 

Hendryk

Nothing ever ends
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He has the Confederacy abolish slavery due to international pressure. He has Texas split from the Confederacy. He has the Confederacy engage in a war with Spain and annex Cuba.
These three developments, right there, are indeed ubiquitous in CSA Victory TLs. There is some justification for the second one, as a victorious Confederacy would rapidly become a mess of which Texas would feel little need to remain a member (and probably several other states as well); but the other two are completely gratuitous. If anything, international pressure would result in the CSA taking a perverse pride in the practice of slavery, and its military would be too busy dealing with domestic unrest to go conquering other territories.
 

Gary Oswald

It was Vampire Unions that got us Vampire Weekend
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This is part of the tendency in historical US alternate history (probably found in other countries too but it's most noticeable in the US) to act as though everything outside the country is unconnected and will follow a neat historical trajectory regardless of what happens.
I kind of prefer that approach, tbh. It's more interesting as a thought exercise to go 'so how will this changed usa deal with this otl crisis' then go 'oh, butterflies means that otl crisis doesn't happen so we don't see how this new usa deals with the cold war etc.'.
 

Thande

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I kind of prefer that approach, tbh. It's more interesting as a thought exercise to go 'so how will this changed usa deal with this otl crisis' then go 'oh, butterflies means that otl crisis doesn't happen so we don't see how this new usa deals with the cold war etc.'.
I think a balance is good. I think it's reasonable to wave away the strict butterfly effect for, at most, twenty years, but beyond that it starts falling apart in terms of believability and starts turning into 'why should I care because nothing these different leaders are doing seems to have any longterm impact'.
 

Charles EP M.

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He has the Confederacy abolish slavery due to international pressure. He has Texas split from the Confederacy. He has the Confederacy engage in a war with Spain and annex Cuba
Ah, so Kantor's the one.

The 'slavery ends anyway' thing makes a lot more sense now I know one of the trope codifiers wrote it during the early years of the American civil rights movement, and during the march of decolonisation due (in part) to pressure. He may have considered this an inevitable march of history.
 

Ciclavex

Baron Ciclavex of Grittsysborough in New Sweden
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I think a balance is good. I think it's reasonable to wave away the strict butterfly effect for, at most, twenty years, but beyond that it starts falling apart in terms of believability and starts turning into 'why should I care because nothing these different leaders are doing seems to have any longterm impact'.
I went a bit longer than this for the timeline in Fashions Made Sacred by ensuring that the South Sea Bubble happened essentially as IOTL up to the point where the scam was discovered, when it probably would have been more reasonable to have a different but similar in outline scandal happen around the same time instead, essentially because it's so far before the story nobody really notices and, as I've said elsewhere, I didn't go and get a history degree with a specialty in 18th century Great Britain to NOT use the South Sea Bubble in my alternate history work.

And the other aspect is that given the individuals involved in the South Sea Company and their connections across both the Tory and Whig Parties, while the precise scam and resulting scandal would probably be butterflied, the people in power and the individuals around them aren't going to change and some kind of financial scandal of that scale is so likely that, with the details so irrelevant to a story taking place in the 21st century, I may as well use the same details for familiarity's sake -- for both the prospective reader and for myself.

EDIT: I do think that this is the broad balance to figure out, though; where is the butterfly effect reasonable, and where it is reasonable to bend around -- after all, with my point of departure, technically James II could have no sons at all by strict butterfly rules and therefore never have the 1688 Crisis and subsequent Glorious Revolution result, but that would be boring. What I wanted was a Glorious Revolution with a House of Orange with heirs and thus averting the Hanoverians, not "and James II ruled for a few decades pretty uselessly and then William & Mary's grandchild or something takes the throne".

By the same token, I tend to agree with the point that eventually why do you even care about this timeline if none of these changes seem to actually change anything?

So it is a balance and one that I've been bending around for a long while.
 
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