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The Guns of the South  By  cover art

The Guns of the South

By: Harry Turtledove
Narrated by: Paul Costanzo
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Publisher's Summary

January 1864: General Robert E. Lee faces defeat. The Army of Northern Virginia is ragged and ill-equipped. Gettysburg has broken the back of the Confederacy and decimated its manpower. Then, Andries Rhoodie, a strange man with an unplaceable accent, approaches Lee with an extraordinary offer. Rhoodie demonstrates an amazing rifle: its rate of fire is incredible, its lethal efficiency breathtaking - and Rhoodie guarantees unlimited quantities to the Confederates. The name of the weapon is the AK-47.

©1992 Harry Turtledove (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An exceptionally riveting and innovative narrative that successfully straddles the gulf between fact and fantasy." ( Booklist)

What listeners say about The Guns of the South

Average Customer Ratings
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Loved the book but...

This has been a favourite of mine since I bought my first copy in 1992. I love the storyline and how the author works out the plot lines. I also love how Lee deals with the oddity of time travel with the greatest of ease. It might've been interesting to see how he would've marveled at the modern world had he had the chance to see it.

I did NOT care much for the performance. While he did make effort to have the characters speak with the proper enthusiasm, he mispronounced simple words, all the characters sounded the same, and the reading of the story outside of the characters speaking was very dull and monotonous. Many times during long spells of just story, I found myself nodding off. I would not recommend this for listening to while driving.
I WOULD listen to it again, as it's a favourite of mine but please let me know if you ever get someone who knows how to read and make a book come alive for the listener to perform this title.

46 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narrator is just awful

I loved this book when I was a kid. I saw the other reviews about people complaining about the narration being bad. They are all correct. It was like listening to an audio book when audio books first came out. Ironically near the end of the book, like the last freakin chapter, they started doing different voices for characters. I really struggled to finish this and won't ever try to listen to it again.

16 people found this helpful

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One of Turtledove's very best...

If you like his alternate histories, this is a must buy. Give up that Audible credit!

9 people found this helpful

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inconsistent pronunciarion

the narrator mispronounced words such as "invalid." said "Curtis" instead of "Custis." a marginal performance.

8 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

Felt a strong intellectual dishonesty throughout the story! As with Off To Be A Wizard, this author also permitted a great idea to fall short of the possibilities that such abnormal power bestows on characters. This significant flaw in the basic mixture of the story makes the last 94% of the book bland and intellectually disingenuous, at a minimum.

The author, may required by the publisher, spent at least 80% of the story trying to 'balance-out' the harshness of the language and accepted values of that age with the exceeding virtues of the slaves that went unnoticed by the entire southern society (save one) before promoting a final effective narrative that in fact history cannot be changed so why try at all (from the Remingtons' perspective). History, i.e. each person's minute by minute choice of action in the here and now that is not yet tomorrow's history, as unchangeable save marginal details is silly.

It is nonsensical that the Remingtons would have given up their lives in the future and committed to such a course of ensuring history would be changed no matter what it took, based entirely on a single hope of one Confederate completely and totally joining their cause and that person being... R.E.Lee. A simpleton's knowledge of history would point directly to N.B.Forrest as the Remingtons' primary selectee as his personal views and attitude were directly in-line with theirs. I can't imagine, even spoon-feeding me away from it, a logical scenerio in which the Remingtons wouldn't have went directly to Pres. Davis with their overwhelming powers with a proprosal/ultimatum, and from there on dictated terms to the C.S.A. (effectively the Illuminati/Skull and Bones of that age) which would guarantee their success for the future path of the world.

I was hoping for changes of the past written in blood and fear, of absolute and chaotic unchecked-power, of a ruthless and unstoppable force that used their absolute power to dictate their terms to the entire world and leaving me wanting to read the next book in the series... What I got was initial excitement completely deflated by the shrinking of the size of the typist's metaphoric balls as the yarn was spun into a bland 'that was pointless waste of my time' exercise. (Sigh)

I do not recommend it, less your credits are piled-up and you own all the other books on Audible already.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing book, the narrator is not so great

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The narrator has a speech problem with words that end in S. He whistles at the end of every S word. It's extremely annoying until you just start to tone it out, or maybe he stops doing it.

6 people found this helpful

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Good

The narrator was good, his southern accents were convincing, albeit his Afrikaner accents not so much (in fairness that's a tough accent for most).

I liked the storyline but couldn't understand why the AWB didn't just travel to the Transvaal. The South African Republic existed at the time, and they would've made more logical allies. Anyway a good and enthralling story nonetheless.

4 people found this helpful

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Good

Good Story, very slow at times. Halfway decent narrator, good intonations, good and clear effort. The only problem with the narrator is that every voice sounds relatively the same. Literally every voice!! Also the book is very slow at times, throughout the middle. Otherwise I liked it.

4 people found this helpful

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Questionable

Its a little bit of slimy feeling to root for Robert E Lee. Also it seems improbable that Lee would turn out to be an abolitionist. When I read this the first time (a decade ago maybe), I really enjoyed it. Now I think it glorifies the Confederacy. I can't endorse this book anymore, even though I love many of Turtledove's other books.

3 people found this helpful

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Great story, meh narrator

Great and very interesting novel. My only complaint was that the narrator was a bit quiet but not doing characters voices and the lack of an attempt at in Afrikaaners accent nor much of a more varied southern accent for the various characters other than giving them each a voice (just nitpicking there tho, you can tell exactly who's speaking even if there was no "said Forrest/Nate/Robert/etc")

3 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Downing
  • 09-30-17

Guns of the South

The title and cover of this book tells you exactly 'what-if' scenario you're getting. Harry Turtledove clearly put a lot of research into this book. The level of detail is high and informs the greater narrative the story follows. Some of the characters we follow are historical heavy-hitters and it's fascinating to follow this speculation on how they might have reacted to the balance of the American Civil War falling in favour decisively for the Confederacy.

I've heard better narrators; I've heard worse. This one interprets - what I suspect are - commas in the text too heavily, so that some sentences are read in a peculiarly stop-start style. Also the narrator's sole voicing for the characters in the book strays dangerously close to Elmer Fudd.

Still, a competent reading of a very interesting idea. Worth a punt.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Paul Bath
  • 11-27-22

Very well read

The southern accents are perfect making it so much more better to listen to and a pleasure on the ears.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-21

narrator was brilliant

amazing genre.
been searching for a book like this for a long time. narrator switched characters with ease.

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  • Keiran U.
  • 08-02-20

Great listen

a really great look at how The South could have flourished with a Sci-Fi twist

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  • jeanluc
  • 05-13-19

American civil war but not as we know it Jim

Read this book some years ago and loved it. Have only just finished the audio, just superb. The narration was flawless, the polished Southern accents a joy to listen to. Full marks to Harry Turtledove and Paul Costanzo. I would love to listen to Lee At The Alamo, please, please!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-27-18

Harry Turtledove at his best

Time travel and the Confederate Army sounds too far-fetched to believe, but it is written in a completely believable manner, very enjoyable book with a great plot and realistic ending.

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Profile Image for Steve Hocking
  • Steve Hocking
  • 03-31-18

Interesting idea

This story has at its heart and interesting idea but ultimately is over long and over indulgent. The pace is slow but evokes the time and place well.

I enjoyed the story but ultimately it felt like a labour more that anything else.