Book Review: The Center Cannot Hold

CenterCannotHoldby Michael D. Pederson


American Empire: The Center Cannot Hold
Harry Turtledove
Ballantine Books, 619 pp.

What can I possibly say about the latest American Empire novel? Turtledove is the undisputed master of the alternate history story. The Center Cannot Hold continues the story of the ongoing conflict between the United States and the Confederate States following the Great War. By the end of this book the series has been diverging from our timeline for seventy years and it remains fascinating to see how Turtledove maintains a congruity between the two realities. In this installment, the stock market’s rise and fall influences most of the action of the book while the CSA’s Freedom Party continues its Nazi-like rise to power. Can a new reader pick things up six books into the series? Probably, Turtledove is good with his recaps, but six hundred pages of political and economic upheaval might not be the most interesting place to start.


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