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The Man With The Iron Heart by Harry Turtledove

01/02/2009. Contributed by Paul Hanley

Buy The Man With The Iron Heart in the USA - or Buy The Man With The Iron Heart in the UK

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pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books. 530 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $32.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50434-0.

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This is an alternative history novel by the prolific writer Harry Turtledove. Like many such books the central theme is World War II but instead of Hitler's regime winning the war the author starts with the Fuhrer's death in his bunker in Berlin and the unconditional surrender of the Third Reich. In reality, there was attempt very late in the war for the Nazis to set up a resistance movement - the Werewolves. Within a few months this petered out but in this book Harry Turtledove supposes that the SS decided in 1943 that the war was lost and started setting up an underground movement so when the final collapse came in May 1945 this formidable resistance movement swung into action. The author draws on the unfortunate events of subsequent decades to create an enemy who use suicide bombers, aircraft hi-jackers, truck bombs and assassination to try and drive out the Allies from Germany.

Anyone who has read Harry Turtledove's alternative history will know that he writes on a very broad canvas showing events through the eyes of a wide variety of people ranging from American intelligence officers, Soviet NKVD officers, soldiers, terrorists, civilians and he pulls together all these threads to show how such a campaign might force the American occupation forces to abandon their zone in Germany.

This is a great story and raises all sorts of interesting points about how you can deal effectively with a terrorist threat. It is well-written, exciting story and thoroughly recommended even if you are not usually a fan of alternative history.

Paul Hanley

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