PopeWatch: Missed This One

Monday, April 3, AD 2017

Apparently a new papal exhortation was issued on April 1:

Pope Francis issued an unexpected apostolic exhortation today titled Merdae Cumulus. The exhortation may be the most momentous action coming from the Seat of Peter in recorded history.

Beginning with Church appointments and new canonizations; after the Holy See’s most recent debacle with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Pope Francis decided to remove Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager from his position as Grand Chancellor of the Order in favor of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who Francis referred to as “a true warrior, a worthy heir for a position occupied by great Christian knights of old.” In addition to this appointment, Francis revealed the future pronouncement that Joel Olsteen is to be declared a Doctor of the Church upon his death, and that the seat of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston will be relocated to Lakewood Church, known for it’s awe inspiring architectural style and it’s past function as the home of the Houston Rockets.

The bulk of the exhortation is composed of a string of admissions, concessions, apologies, and affirmations composed by the Holy Father. Perhaps the most exciting is an admission of the superiority of the Protestant movement started in the 16th century by the newly canonized Martin Luther. In the document, Francis states: “Saint Martin Luther was correct in stating that the holy fathers have erred, that the apostles have erred, that the magisterium has erred, and that the whole church has often erred. That error ends now. The saying that the Protestant churches are where heresy goes to thrive is false; it is actually the case that the opposite is true.” In the same vein was a statement regaling that Thomas More died for nothing, and that King Henry VIII was completely justified in his legal actions and formation of the Church of England. In the same spirit of humility and unity, Francis made full concessions of past Roman Catholic assertions regarding theological differences and papal authority to all Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs; this was quickly followed by Francis’ submission to all the demands of the Society of Saint Pius X, and the return of their status to full communion with the Roman See. Both the Orthodox churches and the Society of Saint Pius X have yet to respond to our requests for comment.

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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Missed This One

  • Haha…Lol.

    There’s only one thing stranger than a clown mass…a clown wedding.

    I’m so happy that he stated; “That error ends now.” It’s about time!
    Now we can invest in drive-thru communion service operations.
    In and Out…..It not just burgers anymore.
    McJesus. Serving over a billion.

  • The devil cannot stand being ridiculed. Good job.

  • “Merdae cumulus” , if my vague recolection of Latin is serving me well, means – “a pile of poo”.
    Better translated in the vernacular as – a load of b***s**t. A very accurate assessment of what is happening in our Church today. I’d better not say any more – what more can be said?

  • Ecclesia Mellow
    Guy McClung
    Catholic Lane 4/4/2017
    Go and sin, sin on more.
    Mercy, my mercy, sin galore!
    The joy of love, not the sword,
    No division, praise me lord!
    An eye offends? That’s OK,
    Look again, not away.
    Fire everlasting not forever.
    Eternal damning, never, never.
    “Yes is yes” hurts so much.
    “No is no” is out of touch.
    No dog vomits, none returns.
    No sow wallows, no one burns.
    A rigid cross so unreal,
    Good news logic, feel, feel, feel.
    I need a church so I can sin, no hell;
    A mercy church, so all is well.
    Go and sin, sin on more.
    Mercy, my mercy, sin galore!

    Guy McClung, San Antonio TX

  • Ecclesia Mellow.

    Nice work Guy McClung.

Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders Corps and the Great War

Saturday, April 1, AD 2017

I make no pretense to accuracy. I shall be quite content if the sensibilities of no one are wounded by anything I may reduce to type.

Recollections of Thomas R. Marshall:  A Hoosier Salad (1925)



Something for the weekend:  Onward Christian Soldiers by Mahalia Jackson.  This stirring hymn was the campaign song of the Bull Moose Party in 1912 and was the unofficial anthem of the Rough Riders Corps that Major General Theodore Roosevelt led in the Great War.  We are almost a century away from the day when the US intervened in that War, and it is a good time to look at the controversial role that our 26th President played in that conflict.

In March of 1917 Congress passed a bill allowing Roosevelt to raise four divisions of volunteers, similar in nature to the Rough Rider regiment he raised and led in the Spanish American War.  It is said that President Wilson opposed this move.  There was certainly no love lost between Wilson and Roosevelt, Roosevelt having been the harshest critic of Wilson.  However, the stroke that killed President Wilson on April 1, 1917 rendered any such opposition moot, except to historians or writers of alternate history.  Vice President Thomas R. Marshall who now became President had no personal animosity towards Roosevelt, rather the reverse, and after his call for a declaration of war on Germany appeared at the White House with Roosevelt and former President Taft, the three men urging that now there were no Republicans and no Democrats, but only Americans united for victory.  After this there was no way that Marshall could probably have kept Roosevelt out of the War if he had wanted to, and he did not attempt to do so.

One other man could have stopped Roosevelt, however, if he had wished to, the commander appointed by President Marshall to lead the American Expeditionary Forces in France.  General John J.Pershing was a friend of Theodore Roosevelt who he had served with at the battle of San Juan Hill when Pershing was a thirty-eight year old First Lieutenant, and whose career Roosevelt had jump started when he was President by promoting him from Captain to Brigadier General, over the heads of 835 officers more senior to Pershing.  Pershing had every reason to be grateful to Roosevelt, and he was, but he was also concerned with a military amateur commanding a corps in the American Expeditionary Forces that he was to lead onto the deadly battlefields of France.  Going to visit Roosevelt at Oyster Bay, he was quickly relieved by their talk, which he discussed in his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir, My Experiences in the World War:  

“President  Roosevelt demonstrated that he had been keeping up with military developments in the Great War and was intrigued with the coordination of artillery and infantry with the newfangled air power and tanks.  He told me that he was willing to serve as a private in the force he was raising, and that as far as he was concerned no man would have a commission for any officer rank in the Rough Riders without my permission.  Touched by his self-less patriotism, I suggested that he serve as second in command of the Rough Riders with General Adelbert Cronkhite, currently in command of artillery in the Canal Zone, appointed as commander.  A worried frown passed over his face:  “The Rough Riders are not going to spend the War guarding the Canal Zone are they?”  I laughed.  “No Mr. President, I will need the best troops available with me on the Western Front, and, as was the case in Cuba, I suspect the Rough Riders in this War will be second to none.”  We shook hands and parted, still friends.”

Roosevelt made it known that he was seeking men for the Rough Riders with this advertisement he placed in all major newspapers.

Rough Riders are being recruited by Theodore Roosevelt for service in France.  Roosevelt expects that he and his Rough Riders will be constantly in the forefront of the fighting and their casualties will likely be extreme.  Only fighters with courage need apply.   Regional recruiting offices are being established at the following locations:

Roosevelt’s recruiters were quickly besieged by endless lines of volunteers.  Estimates are that some three million men filled out applications for the 100,000 slots in the four divisions of the Rough Rdiers.  Roosevelt, as with his original Rough Riders, favored men from dangerous out door occupations, men with prior military experience, athletes, and those from unusual backgrounds, like the troupe of circus clowns he allowed to enlist as a group.  Cowboys with nothing in this world except the shirts on their backs, as in the original Rough Riders, rubbed shoulders with the scions of families of great wealth.  Roosevelt made it clear that no man without prior military experience would be commissioned in the Rough Riders, and all other commissions would be earned in battle in France.  Regular Army officers looked askance at all this and referred to the Rough Riders as Teddy’s Wild West Show and by less printable terms.  Pershing assigned a number of junior officers to the Rough Riders to help bring order out of chaos, giving them the temporary rank of full Colonel.  Among them were Douglas MacArthur, George Patton, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower.

As in the original Rough Riders, Latinos and Indians from the West served.  A group of black regular officers, headed by Colonel Charles Young, wrote a letter to Roosevelt requesting to serve in the Rough Riders.  Although not wholly free from the racial prejudice of his day, Roosevelt got the approval of Pershing for these officers to serve on detached status with the Rough Riders, and enlisted two black regiments to serve in one of his divisions.  When a group of white Rough Rider officers protested this decision, Roosevelt had the complaining officers immediately cashiered from the Rough Riders.

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4 Responses to Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders Corps and the Great War

PopeWatch: Resignation

Friday, April 1, AD 2016

Pope Francis Resigns



The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis will resign on April 1, 2017.

At a hastily called news conference, Vatican press spokesman Father Federico Lombardi announced that the Pope had decided to resign a year hence.  Asked why, Father Lombardi indicated that he was uncertain, although recently the Pope had been heard to mutter darkly “Papa Guarda!  Papa Guarda!” under his breath after browsing the internet.  Asked for the reaction of the Pope Emeritus, Father Lombardi responded that he had been advised that the Pope Emeritus wished his successor well and promised to reserve a place at his future beer parties for Pope Francis in his retirement.

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8 Responses to PopeWatch: Resignation

A Roosevelt Peace?

Friday, April 1, AD 2016


“The people here hate the French more than they do the British. They much prefer the Americans as troops of occupation. Since the Americans have arrived the German people have learned to like them.”

—Karl Felder of Bieder Breisig

As we approach the one hundredth anniversary of the conclusion of the Great War and the commencement of the so-called Roosevelt Peace, an old question must be addressed:  was President Theodore Roosevelt’s role in the Great War an essential one?

Of course, how one addresses this question is largely determined by whether one views history as largely the impact of impersonal forces, economic, cultural, scientific, etc, upon humanity, or whether one holds to the Great Man school, by which the path of Man through history is largely the result of some unique individual altering the flow of events.  To a large extent this debate is unanswerable, as history is history and so-called alternate history is the domain of dreamers and writers of fiction.  However, in regard to Theodore Roosevelt, elected President in 1912 following the collapse of the Republican ticket, after the assassination of President Taft in Milwaukee by John Schrank, it is hard to see how any American President would have implemented policies much different than he did.

1. Entry into the War-From the outset of the War, President Roosevelt left little doubt that his sympathies lay with the Allies and he had only disgust for Prussian militarism.  However, he maintained a testy neutrality until the sinking of RMS Lusitania.  With the loss of 128 American lives, it is difficult to believe that any American President could have withstood the rush to War.  Roosevelt demanded that the German crew be handed over to America to answer charges of murder and that no further attacks be made on passenger liners.  The Kaiser’s statement that he was willing to agree to the latter but not the former, was angrily rejected by Roosevelt, who received a thunderous standing ovation from Congress when he called for a declaration of war.

2.  Building of the Army-Utilizing the Civil War method of the states initially raising the regiments to serve drew criticism, but Roosevelt responded that a huge military had to be built overnight and that the Civil War had demonstrated that this was a tried and true method.  The regiments then reported to training camps where officers and men were trained in their duties, uniformed and equipped.  Many career officers complained that the officers of the regiments were often incompetent or well-meaning amateurs.  Roosevelt quashed much of this criticism by giving the Army full power to relieve officers who proved unsuitable.  As it turned out, about twenty percent of officers were relieved and another ten percent resigned.  General Pershing in his memoirs indicated that he would have preferred to eliminate the state role, but admitted that the state regiments had a cohesion and high morale that would have been lacking if men had not been serving with other men they knew.

3.  Tanks-Although Roosevelt was traditional in how he raised the American Expeditionary Force, many regular Army officers found him frighteningly radical in his embrace of new technology.  Tanks were seized upon by Roosevelt as an essential replacement for horse cavalry and he made certain that the American force would be motorized to an extent that astonished the European armies.  Roosevelt made certain that American troops would go into battle with double the machine guns, mortars and supporting artillery allotted to units of their German foes.  Air power was to be an essential component of each American division, along with a tank regiment.  It was perhaps inevitable that the tankers became known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.  American love of new technology probably would have ensured that any American president would have followed a similar policy, albeit perhaps not with quite the “Bully, Bully!” enthusiasm of Roosevelt.

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11 Responses to A Roosevelt Peace?

  • If today Teddy Roosevelt were President instead of that traitorous spawn of satan, then to fight the Islamic hordes of Jihad (worse by several orders of magnitude that the German Huns of Roosevelt’s day) all manner of weapons would be brought to bear: tactical nuclear explosives, lasers and particle beam cannons, super drones and robotic warriors, nuclear powered aircraft (yup, Oak Ridge National Lab designed a reactor for them in the 60s – thorium fueled, molten salt), etc. Instead, what we now have is a pitiful jerk of an effeminate, androgynous donkey orifice holding a nuclear security summit in Washington, DC that Russia is boycotting. Anyone here feel secure?
    PS, the time I felt most secure was when I was sleeping on a foam mattress cot next to a subroc nuclear missile in the torpedo room of my old 688 class fast attack nuclear submarine. If anyone threatened us, then with radioactive fire and brimestone we could send him to Jesus for re-assigment to hell post haste.

  • For a minute there I was scratching my head thinking “What the heck? Teddy Roosevelt wasn’t president during the First World War!” until I realized that this is an alternate history speculating on what COULD have happened if Roosevelt had been elected president in 1912.

    Here is an interesting map of the real-life results of the 1912 POTUS election:


    Note how New York is a solidly “red” state with a strong vote for the GOP incumbent, William Howard Taft, while Roosevelt’s Progressive/Bull Moose Party appears to have been strongest in the upper Midwest, including a large swath of northern Illinois and nearly all of Michigan and Minnesota. The Solid South was still solidly Democrat and voted overwhelmingly for Wilson, the epitome of the type of liberal they would despise today. Oddly enough, Roosevelt did not do well in Wisconsin, the “cradle” of 20th century Progressivism and home of Robert La Follette (who had been a serious contender for the GOP nomination that year). Also, the only two counties carried by Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs are in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota.

  • If only . . . would President TR have allowed the income tax and federal Reserve bills to go through?
    Lucius, Look on the bright side. The US went 224 years before it was afflicted with this disastrous, moronic traitor.

  • Thank you Elaine – I was also scratching my head about the dates – “has Don’s bumble fingers hit the “6” instead of the “8” ?

  • At first, confusion. Followed by momentary fears of incipient senility. All finally relieved as memory and rationality reasserted control of my mind. Far worse than amusing historical fiction is the stark reality of our present dilemma. A President, or rather an anti-President who appears hell-bent on the destruction of our national sovereignty, including the sweeping away of our individual liberty implied by subjecting us to international law, while abrogating all vestiges of democratic process in our formerly free republic.

  • Woodrow Wilson’s actions and legacy are despised by many today, but I cut him a break because Wilson listened to Ignacy Paderewski, the renowned Polish pianist who successfully lobbied Wilson for support of the reestablishment of the Polish nation. Poland was one of Wilson’s 14 Points of Peace, while France and Great Britain were not nearly as supportive.

    World War I was neither the first nor the last German attempt at expansionism. Roosevelt might have been the man to put an end to it once and for all. Pilsudski would have if France would have helped Poland, as both France and Poland had superior armies to Germany in 1933.

  • I visited Harry Truman’s Presidential Library in Independence, MO, years ago. They had Truman military uniform on display. He was a small man. They also had one of the cannon’s used in WW 1 in a position that was front and center. On the carpet, in an air conditioned, sterile setting it was very difficult to visualize the carnage that cannon may have brought about on the battle field.



  • Sorry! My post was historical.

  • Harry Truman got his start to the White House when Theodore Roosevelt pinned the Medal of Honor on him for his part in giving close artillery support to the Rainbow Division as it smashed its way through the final defense line of the Germans in the Ardennes. Assistant divisional commander Douglas MacArthur also earned a Medal of Honor that day for leading the assault of the Fighting 69th, the spearhead of the divisional attack, as it battered its way through the German trenches. MacArthur fell In the attack, Father Duffy giving him the Last Rites, which the dying man requested. As Father Duffy said later, “I saw in MacArthur’s dying eyes a desire to embrace the Church, and so I gave him the Last Rites. I would have been ashamed of myself if I had denied his last request.”

  • “Harry Truman got his start to the White House when Theodore Roosevelt pinned the Medal of Honor on him for his part in giving close artillery support to the Rainbow Division as it smashed its way through the final defense line of the Germans in the Ardennes. Assistant divisional commander Douglas MacArthur also earned a Medal of Honor that day for leading the assault of the Fighting 69th, the spearhead of the divisional attack, as it battered its way through the German tremunches.”

    According to a Truman biography I have recently read, our World War 2 military apparatus benefited greatly by Truman’s on the ground experience in leading troops in such escapades during World War 1. I have read that he went to extensive lengths to make sure that the tools at the US military’s disposal were the safest & highest quality he could give them. ?

    I was wondering if the commanding Douglas MacArthur in WW 1 was related to the infamous commanding Douglas MacArthur in WW 2. I know they are not father and son.

  • Whew!! Father Duffy looks like he could be very serious in the picture at this link.


Practical Joker of the Founding Fathers

Thursday, March 31, AD 2016




Throughout his life Benjamin Franklin enjoyed practical jokes and literary hoaxes.  Here from 1730 is a report, almost certainly written by him, about a completely illusory witch trial.  Franklin was 26 when he wrote this, only 38 years after the all too real Salem Witch Trials:

Burlington, Oct. 12. Saturday last at Mount-Holly, about 8 Miles from this Place, near 300 People were gathered together to see an Experiment or two tried on some Persons accused of Witchcraft. It seems the Accused had been charged with making their Neighbours Sheep dance in an uncommon Manner, and with causing Hogs to speak, and sing Psalms, &c. to the great Terror and Amazement of the King’s good and peaceable Subjects in this Province; and the Accusers being very positive that if the Accused were weighed in Scales against a Bible, the Bible would prove too heavy for them; or that, if they were bound and put into the River, they would swim; the said Accused desirous to make their Innocence appear, voluntarily offered to undergo the said Trials, if 2 of the most violent of their Accusers would be tried with them.

Accordingly the Time and Place was agreed on, and advertised about the Country; The Accusers were 1 Man and 1 Woman; and the Accused the same. The Parties being met, and the People got together, a grand Consultation was held, before they proceeded to Trial; in which it was agreed to use the Scales first; and a Committee of Men were appointed to search the Men, and a Committee of Women to search the Women, to see if they had any Thing of Weight about them, particularly Pins. After the Scrutiny was over, a huge great Bible belonging to the Justice of the Place was provided, and a Lane through the Populace was made from the Justices House to the Scales, which were fixed on a Gallows erected for that Purpose opposite to the House, that the Justice’s Wife and the rest of the Ladies might see the Trial, without coming amongst the Mob; and after the Manner of Moorfields, a large Ring was also made. Then came out of the House a grave tall Man carrying the Holy Writ before the supposed Wizard, &c. (as solemnly as the Sword-bearer of London before the Lord Mayor) the Wizard was first put in the Scale, and over him was read a Chapter out of the Books of Moses, and then the Bible was put in the other Scale, (which being kept down before) was immediately let go; but to the great Surprize of the Spectators, Flesh and Bones came down plump, and outweighed that great good Book by abundance. After the same Manner, the others were served, and their Lumps of Mortality severally were too heavy for Moses and all the Prophets and Apostles.

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One Response to Practical Joker of the Founding Fathers

  • “…which were fixed on a Gallows erected for that Purpose…”

    The jest is complete when we find the gallows created before the trial. This is not your ordinary Darryl Issa investigation folks.

Lincoln and His Second Term

Wednesday, April 1, AD 2015


One hundred and fifty years ago Lincoln was at the high point of his Presidency.  The Civil War was coming to a victorious conclusion.  His popularity would zoom to heights not reached by any President since Washington when on April 14, 1865 he foiled the assassination plot of John Wilkes Booth by wrestling him to the floor of the theater box at Ford’s Theater.  (One wonders if Booth would have succeeded if Lincoln had not been standing and stretching, his face to the door of the theater box, when Booth burst through the door.)  Less than four years later, he left Washington, widely reviled North and South.  Although revisionist histories appear occasionally defending Lincoln, the consensus of his contemporaries still stands:  that Lincoln made an adequate wartime President, but an abysmal peacetime President.  I think this verdict is overblown, but one cannot argue that his second term after the War was anything but a disaster.  Let us look at the factors that led to this.


1.  Former Confederate States-Lincoln’s theory was that the former Confederates States had never been out of the Union.  So soon as ten percent of the voters based on 1860 totals had taken an oath of allegiance to the Union and organized a state government that abolished slavery, the new state government would be recognized by the federal government and members elected to Congress seated.  This was far too lenient for Radical Republicans who feared that these new state governments would simply be replicas of the state governments that existed in 1860 with a de facto abolition of slavery while de jure blacks would be fifth class citizens.  Their fears were soon realized with new state governments recognized by the Lincoln administration adopting Black Codes, laws that severely restricted the freedom the newly freed slaves.  This remained a bone of contention between Lincoln and the Congress controlled by the Radical Republicans from the beginning until the end of his second term.

2.  Rights of Blacks-That Lincoln was sincerely committed to the civil rights of former slaves cannot be doubted in good faith by anyone.  The ringing words of his 1865 Fourth of July “Life and Liberty” oration before the freedmen of Richmond should eliminate any doubt on that score.  Throughout his second term Lincoln used military force to enforce the rights of blacks that were routinely trampled upon by the new governments in the former Confederate states that he recognized.  He was instrumental in establishing the largely black states of Liberty, Emancipation and Freedom in the West that ensured black representation in Congress and a haven for blacks disenfranchised in the rest of the country.  However, the use of the military was met by a virtual guerilla warfare in the South led by the Ku Klux Klan, often receiving clandestine aid from the governments that Lincoln had helped install.  This was all very confusing for the war weary citizens of the North, and a common complaint of “What did we fight the War for?” became ever more common in the North as Lincoln’s second term went on.

3.  Mary Lincoln- The assassination attempt on Lincoln seemed to unhinge Mrs. Lincoln.  She would often shriek in public to strangers that she knew that they were out to murder her husband.  Lincoln perhaps had no choice in having her committed to an insane asylum, but that decision added to his unpopularity.

4.  Fissions in the Republican Party-With slavery ended, the Republican party fractured between radicals and conservatives, former Whigs and former Democrats, and a myriad of different state factions.  Much of Lincoln’s time was devoted to healing these fractures, with Lincoln often receiving strong criticism from all factions for his troubles as a would be peacemaker.

5.  Seward’s Folly- Throughout the second term Democrats often attacked Lincoln for having run up a huge national debt during the Civil War.  This charge received more ammunition when the US purchased Alaska for 7.2 million dollars, which Democrats painted as money wasted for a worthless icy wasteland.  When it got out that Lincoln was considering attempting to set up  more black states in Alaska, he was subject to laughter and ridicule, often accompanied by a quoted statement from a black that he did not want to go and freeze in Alaska.

6.  Man of the Past-Lincoln often seemed like a figure of the past by the end of his second term.  Secession and slavery, the two issues most associated with Lincoln, quickly became relics of the past to a nation, at least the white part of the nation, eager to turn the page.  Heroes who win often seem outdated as times rapidly change, and that fate befell Lincoln.

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8 Responses to Lincoln and His Second Term

  • You’re good at this. You should take a stab at a book.
    Or is this what we’re seeing?

  • Thank you WK. For now it is merely idle amusement. If I live to retirement I probably will produce some alternate history e-books.

  • So long as you promise not to make Lincoln a vampire-hunter.

  • #2, of course, actually happened, although it was President Grant who used the Army to crush the KKK four years after this alternate Lincoln would have. And yes, after this success the Klan grew for a second time in Grant’s second term, and people of the North did then complain.

    The really interesting thing is to juxtapose #1 and #2. Reconstituted state governments led by ex-Confederates would have done everything to oppose the Army’s anti-Klan campaign, especially in Congress. For the Members of Congress it would have looked like the 1850’s all over again, but worse. This aspect alone would make a very interesting alternate history. One does wonder, however, how the canny Lincoln would not have foreseen this, or at least not listened to the Radical Republicans who did.

  • “One does wonder, however, how the canny Lincoln would not have foreseen this, or at least not listened to the Radical Republicans who did.”

    Oh, he foresaw it in my alternate history and that is why he set up the three black states in the West. Lincoln, a fan of Euclid, had a mathematical mind. He would have realized that he wanted two irreconcilable things: rapid reintegration of the former Confederate states back into the Union and the protection of civil rights for black. Lincoln would try to do both, as impossible as that would likely be, while laying the foundation for a better future.

  • Hmmm, “Oh, he [Lincoln] foresaw it in my alternate history and that is why he set up the three black states in the West”
    OK, that is a real complication. You have to come up with a reasonable set of politics that allows the country to support such a mass migration. You also need to explore the consequences: not all freed slaves would leave the South, so the perceived need by ex-Confederates for the Klan is lessened, but the effect of their depredations against the remaining ex-slaves is increased. So in the end you might have an ethnic cleansing. Also, how do the economies of these three states work? Like many attempts at redistribution, it could just produce poverty, and then alternate Lincoln becomes the father of a ghetto that someday might start its own secessionist movement. You’ve given yourself quite a task here Don. To be believable it must mirror real life: be subject to the conflicting ideals of real people (for example, Frederick Douglass would have opposed the idea, given his opposition to segregation and African resettlement), reflect politics compromise, and show both the glory and tragedy of American life.
    I wouldn’t mind peek before you publish.

  • “You have to come up with a reasonable set of politics that allows the country to support such a mass migration.”

    There was plenty of empty territory out West in the 1860’s. The colored regiments could have served as a nucleus for the new states. Both North and South would have had plenty of support for seeing newly freed blacks heading West, at least initially.

    “Confederates for the Klan is lessened, but the effect of their depredations against the remaining ex-slaves is increased.”

    Not necessarily. With blacks having an alternative where to live, it might have caused an improvement in conditions to keep black labor in place in the South. Blacks were an important part of the economy in the South, especially before agricultural mechanization, and if any black could head west with a train ticket paid for by either the federal government or private groups, there would be an economic incentive to treat them better, at least when labor scarcity was a factor.

    As for the black states becoming ghettoes, I don’t think so due to capitalism and our federal system.

    I doubt if Douglass would have opposed the idea, especially since Lincoln likely would have made him the governor of one of the black states during its territorial phase. The black states are less outlandish that the Mormon state of Utah, which established that American history is often much wilder than any novel.

  • “As for the black states becoming ghettoes, I don’t think so due to capitalism and our federal system.”
    Agreed, and I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. My point is that the western states developed economically due to the inward migration of people who were largely looking to better themselves economically. In your alt history we have people migrating to better themselves for largely non-economic reasons, and that makes a difference: freed slaves would have been tempted to overlook some initial deficiencies to avoid persecution. Yes, the Mormon experience points to a positive outcome, but there we are talking about a smaller number of people with a smaller footprint. I would think that the difference between success and failure in your alt history might hinge on the rate of migration. Also you need to look at the possibility of economic subversion of black states: a good place to look for inspiration might be the history of the Freedman’s Bank and the post-Reconstruction isolation of the anti-Confederates in Appalachia. Well, good luck, it sounds like fun.
    BTW, I disagree with you on Douglass: he would have insisted on a racially integrated migration in exchange for a governorship, if he supported the idea at all. Lincoln’s friends have to give him some heat in your history, don’t they? 😉

Pope Francis Resigning! Pope Benedict Pope Again!

Monday, April 1, AD 2013

Pope Benedict and Former Pope Francis



In a shock April 1, 2013 announcement the Vatican has stated that Pope Francis is resigning today and Pope Benedict will resume his duties as Pope.

Pope Francis is quoted as naming two factors in his decision for resigning:  1.  The rich Italian  cooking that could get him up to 400 pounds if he stayed in Rome;   and 2.  Criticisms from Catholic blogs, especially in America.  Noting that his predecessor had warned him about reading the blogs, Pope Francis was disturbed by the divisions his election had caused.  “I do not want to be the cause of acrimony among Catholic bloggers.  If I stay as Pope it could be another “torture debate”, and I doubt if Western civilization could survive that.”

As for Pope Benedict, he is described as rested, fit and rearing to resume his duties as Pope.  Father Lombardi, Vatican press spokesman, said that Pope Benedict feels 75 after weeks of sleeping all night and eating hearty monastery food.  As for blogs, Pope Benedict stopped reading them after the condom flap, according to Father Lombardi, although he conceded that the Pope did sneak a peak at Acts of the Apostacy for a laugh now and then.

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11 Responses to Pope Francis Resigning! Pope Benedict Pope Again!

  • Donald,

    I re-tweeted this 15 times before I realized it was a joke….:-)


  • As for blogs, Pope Benedict stopped reading them after the condom flap, according to Father Lombardi, although he conceded that the Pope did sneak a peak at Acts of the Apostacy for a laugh now and then.

    I knew it!!

  • Bad joke, taking you off my my Bookmark list.

  • Heh. Love it.

  • Actually, this sort of thing is doubly appropriate, as Easter Monday, also known as Bright Monday among Eastern Orthodox Christians, or as Dyngus Day among Poles, is traditionally a day for jokes and horseplay… in fact it might have been where the basic idea of April Fool’s Day came from.

  • Fr. Lombardi just announced that newly reinstalled Pope Benedict will issue a Bull to erect the Index of Forbidden Blogs. It’s a out damned time if you ask me!

  • some may have read that title and felt a lift of hope in their hearts….

    but oh what a relief it is– it’s a joke! Yay! A little levity on a subject grown way too heavy way too fast- hey we hardly know the man yet. So many people throwing so much dust in the air they almost seem like a “hired” crowd of mourners and agitators.

  • when I read the headline I said ‘what’ and hoping it was in relation to today, which it was. I will be sharing this.
    Last night I put some humor on my FB page that the Pres through executive order had declared today a National Holiday in honor of himself and would be a revolving holiday so it fell on the same day every year. two comments were, something like this would be expected and you have to be kidding, and then had to remind them what today was.

  • I wish the closing of the Pope Francis & Holy Thursday thread was an April’s Fool joke. I didn’t get to mention how my parish washes the feet of children. Being we have a Pope Francis and our God given dominion over animals, I am not surprised if parishes start washing the paws of animals. Service to others includes our “furry friends.” Ugh. I guess I’ll be called many things for my position. Oh well.

  • Way to go Kyle….now this thread is going to closed!

    Very funny premise Donald. Thanks for the smile.

Lincoln Defeated

Monday, April 1, AD 2013

Lincoln Weeping

If the end brings me out wrong, ten thousand angels swearing I was right wouldn’t make any difference.

Abraham Lincoln



During the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the War Between the States, it is time to take stock of the War that severed forever the United States of America and led to creation of two American republics, soon to be joined by a third, the Pacific Republic, and, eventually, by a fourth, after Texas seceded from the Confederacy  during the Great Depression of 1893.  All of our American history, for good and ill, was irrevocably altered by the events that transpired a century and a half ago.  Could events have come out differently?  I think many historians would say yes, if Lincoln had not lost the election of 1864.

By the Spring of 1864 the Union war effort had clearly made progress but at a terrible cost in human lives and treasure.  The Union had succeeded in conquering almost all of Tennessee and Arkansas.  The Confederacy’s largest city, New Orleans, was under Union control and, in Lincoln’s phrase, “the Father of the Waters” went unvexed to the Sea, and the Confederacy in Texas and the unconquered portions of Arkansas and Louisiana were now cut off from the rest of the Confederacy by a newly hostile Mississippi.  The Union had established control of much of the coast line of the Confederacy and the Union blockade, a joke in 1861, had become a very grim reality for the Confederacy in 1864.  Today, most people do not appreciate how close the Confederacy came to defeat in 1864, although it was a common theme in speeches given at Confederate Victory Day celebrations throughout the South for decades after the War.  How did this all turn to ashes for the Union by November 1864 with Lincoln rejected at the polls?  Here are, I think, some of  the major factors:

1.  War Weariness-By 1864 most Americans, North and South, were heartily sick of the War, the huge casualty lists filling the newspapers giving a nightmarish quality to life.  However, there was a difference.  If the North lost the War, there would be little change in the life of most Northerners.  If the South lost the War, they would be under what most white Southerners now perceived as hated foreign domination.  Northern morale was as a result more fragile than Southern morale.  The South would resist until they could resist no longer, while the North would continue the War only if it could be brought to a victorious conclusion relatively quickly.

2.  Lee-Ulysses S. Grant was a fine General even if ultimately he failed in his goal of defeating Lee.  In his Overland Campaign he succeeded in driving Lee back to Richmond, and ultimately brought Petersburg under siege.  No mean feat up against a man now universally regarded by nearly all Americans as the finest American General.  Lee realized the caliber of General that he was up against in regard to Grant, and that Grant could not be defeated easily as he had defeated other Union drives against Richmond.  It took all of Lee’s immense skill to prevent Grant from taking Richmond, but this he succeeded in doing while inflicting casualties of 2-1 against Grant, and causing much of the North, including, privately, Mary Todd Lincoln, to denounce Grant as a butcher.  Grant had brought the Union close to victory, but only by an immense effusion of Northern blood, and the population of the North simply had no stomach for many more casualties in what appeared to be an endless War.

3.  Sherman’s Death-Sherman’s drive on Atlanta, which had been making progress, came to a sudden end on June 27, 1864 with the battle of Kennesaw Mountain.  Of all the Civil War might have beens, perhaps none are more poignant than what would have happened if Sherman had stopped the battle after the failure of the initial assaults as he was advised to do by General Thomas.  Instead, Sherman ordered two more attacks each bloodily repulsed.  As he went out to meet the retreating survivors of his last attack, Sherman was felled by a long-range shot from a Confederate sharpshooter equipped with a rifle and a telescopic sight.  Lincoln wished to place Thomas in command, but Grant, who bore animosity for Thomas, why still being something of a mystery, insisted on General James McPherson being placed in overall command.  McPherson wished to continue the offensive against Atlanta, but that simply was not possible after the fifteen thousand casualties sustained by the Union.  Resisting calls in Northern papers to fall back on Chattanooga, McPherson remained in place and awaited reinforcements.  In early September the offensive was renewed, with McPherson making slow but steady progress against a skillful and dogged defense by General Johnston.  McPherson placed Atlanta under siege, two days before the November election, too late to alter the outcome.

4.  Blind Memorandum- With the War stalled both East and West Union morale was faltering.  Lincoln’s morale was also faltering as graphically demonstrated by what has become known as The Blind Memorandum.  Lincoln sealed this document and asked his cabinet officers to sign it unread.  They complied.  In the chaos that followed Lincoln’s defeat the document lay forgotten for some twenty years until Lincoln mentioned it in his autobiography, Of the People, (1884).  Here is the text:

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.

A. Lincoln

5.  Cedar Creek- Lincoln’s prospects appeared brighter in September and October of 1864 with Union victories in the Shenandoah.  This came to a halt with the Confederate victory at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. In the aftermath Union commander General Phil Sheridan was sacked by Secretary of War Stanton, over the strenuous objections of General Grant, who had always considered him to be too young at 33 for such an important command.  Grant placed Meade in overall command of the Shenandoah theater.  The cautious Meade avoided any further Union defeats prior to election day, but did not succeed in winning any Union victories.  Democrats made considerable hay at rallies in late October with the fact that Sheridan had been fifty miles from Cedar Creek at the time of the battle and mocked his strenuous, albeit futile, ride to get to the battlefield in time to rescue the situation.

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23 Responses to Lincoln Defeated

  • Don, I know you’re the expert on history around here, but do you really think that the US / CS could have worked as a country over the long haul? I think we were doomed from the start. They’re, essentially, the northernmost South American oligarchy, split by racial lines. We’re the shining city on the hill, the last sign of progressivism with the freedom of pre-Hitler Europe. Sure, it’d be cool if we owned Texas instead of them pretty much owning us, but history has shown us that the South was never, ever going to give up on slavery, and as Lincoln said, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

  • True Pinky, a dissolution of the United States into separate Republics was probably inevitable, but Mr. Lincoln did come close to refuting that statement.

  • And to think the Original Gorilla opposed a government founded on principles like these. Why, the temerity.

    We, the people of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God — do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

  • All of this will mean nothing when hordes of Californios overwhelm your petty little fiefdoms and drive up your housing prices. Why destroy your homes when we can buy five of them and drive you out? Union? No! Confederacy? You make us laugh. We shall turn your states into Ranchos named after the saints and build new churches out of adobe, the only truly becoming building material within which to worship.

  • Wow, I didn’t knwo there was anotehr Jon here. What amazes me is how much debate remains regarding the reason(s) behind the war. It seems to have been fought over more than one issue if you ask me. I would say states’ rights as well as slavery, and perhaps other reasons too.

  • It was all to defend slavery Jon, as the secession statements of most of the seceding states made clear. Here is a section of Jefferson Davis’ first message to the Confederate Congress:

    “The climate and soil of the Northern States soon proved unpropitious to the continuance of slave labor, whilst the converse was the case at the South. Under the unrestricted free intercourse between the two sections, the Northern States consulted their own interests by selling their slaves to the South and prohibiting slavery within their limits. The South were willing purchasers of a property suitable to their wants, and paid the price of acquisition without harboring a suspicion that their quiet possession was to be disturbed by those who were inhibited not only by want of constitutional authority, but by good faith as vendors, from disquieting a title emanating from themselves. As soon, however, as the Northern States that prohibited African slavery within their limits had reached a number sufficient to give their representation a controlling voice in Congress, a persistent and organized system of hostile measures against the rights of the owners of slaves in the Southern States was inaugurated and gradually extended. A continuous series of measures was devised and prosecuted for the purpose of rendering insecure the tenure of property in slaves. Fanatical organizations, supplied with money by voluntary subscriptions, were assiduously engaged in exciting amongst the slaves a spirit of discontent and revolt; means were furnished for their escape from their owners, and agents secretly employed to entice them to abscond; the constitutional provisions for their rendition to their owners was first evaded, then openly denounced as a violation of conscientious obligation and religious duty; men were taught that it was a merit to elude, disobey, and violently oppose the execution of the laws enacted to secure the performance of the promise contained in the constitutional compact; owners of slaves were mobbed and even murdered in open day solely for applying to a magistrate for the arrest of a fugitive slave; the dogmas of these voluntary organizations soon obtained control of the Legislatures of many of the Northern States, and laws were passed providing for the punishment, by ruinous fines and long-continued imprisonment in jails and penitentiaries, of citizens of the Southern States who should dare to ask aid of the officers of the law for the recovery of their property. Emboldened by success, the theater of agitation and aggression against the clearly expressed constitutional rights of the Southern States was transferred to the Congress; Senators and Representatives were sent to the common councils of the nation, whose chief title to this distinction consisted in the display of a spirit of ultra fanaticism, and whose business was not “to promote the general welfare or insure domestic tranquillity,” but to awaken the bitterest hatred against the citizens of sister States by violent denunciation of their institutions; the transaction of public affairs was impeded by repeated efforts to usurp powers not delegated by the Constitution, for the purpose of impairing the security of property in slaves, and reducing those States which held slaves to a condition of inferiority. Finally a great party was organized for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the Government, with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain acquired by all the States in common, whether by conquest or purchase; of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; of thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party, thus organized, succeeded in the month of November last in the election of its candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

    In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the well-being and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented form about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced. With this view the Legislatures of the several States invited the people to select delegates to conventions to be held for the purpose of determining for themselves what measures were best adapted to meet so alarming a crisis in their history. Here it may be proper to observe that from a period as early as 1798 there had existed in all of the States of the Union a party almost uniterruptedly in the majority based upon the creed that each State was, in the last resort, the sole judge as well of its wrongs as of the mode and measure of redress. Indeed, it is obvious that under the law of nations this principle is an axiom as applied to the relations of independent sovereign States, such as those which had united themselves under the constitutional compact. The Democratic party of the United States repeated, in its successful canvass in 1856, the declaration made in numerous previous political contests, that it would “faithfully abide by and uphold the principles laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798, and in the report of Mr. Madison to the Virginia Legislature in 1799; and that it adopts those principles as constituting one of the main foundations of its political creed.” The principles thus emphatically announced embrace that to which I have already averted– the right of each State to judge of and redress the wrongs of which it complains. These principles were maintained by overwhelming majorities of the people in all the States of the Union at different elections, especially in the elections of Mr. Jefferson in 1805, Mr. Madison in 1809, and Mr. Pierce in 1852. In the exercise of a right so ancient, so well-established, and so necessary for self-preservation, the people of the Confederate States, in their conventions, determined that the wrongs which they had suffered and the evils with which they were menaced required that they should revoke the delegation of powers to the Federal Government which they had ratified in their several conventions. They consequently passed ordinances resuming all their rights as sovereign and independent States and dissolved their connection with the other States of the Union.”


  • Well then, perhaps states’ rights by default. I mean, to defend slavery it then becomes about states’ rights.

    I suppose you’re right, though. It was the belief of my Civil War professor that it was fundamentally fought over slavery.

  • But Jon, I’m the original Jon. Ask Don. ;`)

    Anyway, Don,

    But just think how much trouble that single little phrase may have saved us had our “Entlightenment” Founders in Philadelphia included it:

    “…invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God…”

  • We did have similar language in the Articles of Confederation Jon:

    “And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.”

    In regard to the Constitution the framers seem to have thought it unnecessary to repeat things from the Articles of the Confederation, for example the name of the country, that were not changed by the Constitution. A good book is waiting to be written on this subject.

  • Yes, I think it was always intended in teh documents that the union would be a perpetual union, not a mere colleciton of states that could secede at any time.

  • Finally got the chance to finish reading this. Superb, Don.

    Now remind me: What effects did all this have in the 20th century? It’s certainly interesting to think how events such as the Great War and the Continental Empire might have gone differently had there been a unified “United States” rather than the four republics.

  • After the War, the Confederacy fought a brief and successful war with Spain to take over Cuba and Puerto Rico. The Pacific Republic took the opportunity to take the Philippines from Spain. The Sandwich Islands were annexed by the Pacific Republic in 1892. The Republic of Texas took advantage of the turmoil of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to seize the Mexican states adjoining Texas, while the Pacific Republic seized Baja California. Further conquest of Mexican lands was terminated by President Roosevelt of the United States threatening to go to war if further land was seized from Mexico. Confederate President Woodrow Wilson quietly supported this initiative of President Roosevelt.

    Roosevelt led the United States into World War I early in 1915. The massive casualty lists that the US incurred detered the Confederacy and Texas from joining in the conflict, although a volunteer force of Confederates, under the command of a General George S. Patton (CSA), fought for the Allies as the Lafayette Division. The Pacific Republic declared war on Germany and seized several German colonies in the Pacific, almost coming to blows with Japan as a result. No Pacific soldiers were sent to fight on the Western Front, the Pacific Republic viewing itself as a Naval power in the Pacific and not being interest in territorial squabbles in Europe.

    Largely due to the massive early intervention of the United States, the Great War came to an end early in 1917 on the terms of status quo ante. The German government having dealt harshly with a socialist revolution of its own immediately after the War, gave support to the Tsar’s regime to put down an attempted Communist insurrection. Germany attempted to rescue the Dual Monarchy from a wave of nationalist rebellions, but ultimately Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, an enlarged Hungary and the South Reich emerged as successor states. The Ottoman Empire was prosperous having sat out the War, the only fighting the Turks engaging in involving the mass murder of Armenians.

    I will reserve the rest I think for a future post.

  • Jon/s – You have two problems in trying to define the cause of the Civil War. First off, you’ve got sympathizers for both sides, who are going to put their own emphasis on the causes. Secondly, you’ve got to deal with the fads among historians over the last 150 years. They were big on things like class struggle and economic determinism, uninterested in things like the influence of religion.

  • Interesting alternate history.

    As you know, Bob, in our history, the Central Powers (Imperial Germany, the United States, Austria and the Turks) defeated the Allies (UK, France, CSA and Russia) by spring 1917, albeit with horrific casualties running north of 2 million in each of the major combatants. The post-war reunification of the exhausted American states and the annexed parts of Canada have proven vexing and uneven to this day, though at least the guerilla fighting didn’t last beyond a quarter century.

    In many ways, North America is still trying to recover from that conflict, which saw massive fleet actions in the Atlantic and Carribean, along with trench warfare from California to Virginia in the south, and from Winnipeg to Quebec City in the north. The tensions between North America, German-dominated Europe and Japanese East Asia are also a source of concern, though a wary equilibrium keeps things from heating up beyond trade, currency and the occasional proxy war.

  • The consensus among most of the other “what if the South won the Civil War” alternate histories that I have read, or read about, is that the South and North would have reunited at some point during the 20th century due to economic concerns and military concerns as new superpowers such as Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia came on the scene.

  • Harry Turtledove did a good alternate history series with the Union and Confederacy being on opposite sides in World War I and World War II, with the South being on the losing side in both conflicts, and a fascist movement arising in the Confederacy after World War I. His depiction of total modern war waged on American soil makes me appreciate how lucky we have been since the Civil War.

  • I remember MacKinlay Kantor’s alternate history where the three American successor states reunited in the face of the Soviet threat. It’s back in print again:


    The thing is, there’s a good chance the Soviet Union would have been “butterflied away” by the consequences of an America disintegrating after 1865–e.g., there would be no Nazi Germany if Imperial Germany was triumphant, nor likely a Soviet Union (the Germans would have squashed it flat).

    FWIW, Roger Ransom’s recent alternate history/historical analysis of a sundered America is very convincing. He imagines the Great War taking place on the American continent, with reunification in the wake of Confederate (and Allied) defeat.


  • The South was ideologically on the losing side of history (if you want to put it that way). When England enacted the anti-slavery act, it was a losing battle for pro-slave people. Plus, the political movement was toward consolidation–it was an age of nationalism.

  • “there would be no Nazi Germany if Imperial Germany was triumphant, nor likely a Soviet Union (the Germans would have squashed it flat).”

    At least temporarily. I would not have bet much money on the long term stability of Wihelmine Germany as the dominant power in Europe. Politics tended to go to extremes with a growing Socialist bloc and growing strength on the extremist right. Assuming that Germany annexed Belgium and Northern France, revanchist forces would have been strong in the West. Germany would have been kept busy also in the East attempting to prop up the Austrians and the Tsar, or whatever regime acceptable to Germany took the place of the Tsar, unless Germany decided it was time to slice up whatever of European Russia they hadn’t taken in a Worl War I victory. I doubt if World War 2 would have involved fascists and communists, but I could easily imagine a big blow up in the forties in a German dominated Europa, with the death of the Kaiser perhaps being a signal for hostilities to commence.

  • Hard to say about Imperial Germany’s long-term prospects. Wilhelm II was something of a twit, and the German government under his regime staffed with a remarkable number of nonentities. A triumphant but still exhausted Germany could have just as easily seen a return to the prudence of the post-Kulturkampf regime. At a minimum, the Crown Prince had a reasonably moderate political head on his shoulders, and likely would have governed differently.

  • Boy, I’ve been out of the loop a long time on Harry Turtledove, I think when I was last paying attention he was still working through the series where aliens invaded during WW2. The southern victory series sounds interesting.

  • Darwin:

    It is. It’s also massive and borderline unwieldy. But it ends with a literal bang or two, and the humorous touches (e.g., what happened to Hitler) make it worthwhile.

  • Yes! Turtledove has great ideas for alternate histories but the execution, especially on his multi-volume series, is often lacking. He will robotically alternate between point of view characters in a set order. The volumes are filled with padding and could be slimmed down by at least a third with no loss of content. In some of the multi-volume series the writing is so poor that I have wondered if Turtledove has assistants taught to write in a “Harry Turtledove” style. He will often describe the same thing over and over again. For example in his series on the Confederacy, he had a rib shack as one of the locations in the volumes and each time he mentioned it, dozens of times, he would write how tasty the food was, and how saliva would leap into the mouth of point of view characters as they smelled the savory barbecue. In his one volume works and short stories Turtledove is a much abler writer, so I wonder if the multivolume series are part of a cottage industry he has established with less skilled writers composing most of the content, and Turtledove supplying outlines and minimal revisions.