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The Phoenix Gambit - A Book Review

‘What if’ scenarios in history are fun and can really get people talking as there are so many possibilities. It is also very hard to write about those same topics as you know in your head what really happened and a credible different ending has to be written. This is what Douglas McDonough did in The Phoenix Gambit.

What if the American Civil War ended differently? What if the Confederacy had a plan up their sleeve to avoid surrender? That’s what you find in this book. All 414 pages take a Civil War history buff down a different and unique path that can actually be confusing at first because you’ll be wondering what happened from reality. But that is the prerogative of the author.

I found the read slow at first and confusing. This might not be the case for someone who loves military books and can follow a battle scene easily. I was confused with the many different names of generals and military personnel and which side they were on. It wasn’t until a quarter of the way through when espionage entered the picture that I really got into the picture. The story really took a unique turn as Mexico became part of the plot and Booth took a slightly different role.

I have to admit that I did get into the story but, once again, it was slow in the beginning. I also found quite a few editing errors that actually distracted me from my reading. But the descriptions used by the author were good and helped me envision the battle scenes. Dialogue was good, too.

Do you know a lot about the Civil War? If the answer is no, this book might be a little difficult to read only because of the unfamiliarity with the names of Civil War participants. If you love it, then you might only want to argue with the alternative history or enjoy it thoroughly. This would make a very good history book club selection.

What do you get with this book?
- A different history path
- A chance to discuss the Civil War
- A good story
- Editing mistakes

There is a sequel coming out in 2012 and I will be looking forward to reading what the new Confederacy is up to. Like the Civil War? Then you should give this book a look.

Note: This book was supplied to me by the author.

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