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Alternate History Books   >   Books   >   Marching Through Georgia


Marching Through Georgia

Prequels & Sequels:

This book is one of a series of books that share a common alternate history background. There are links between each of the books in the main series, but each is a separate story.
  1. Marching Through Georgia
  2. Under the Yoke
  3. The Stone Dogs
  4. Drakon

Related Books:
Review of Marching Through Georgia:

This book is the first of the Draka series, and in my opinion, arguably the best of the bunch. Such a lot has been written (mainly online) about the series, it's difficult to know where to start, but I'll have a go anyway.

Basically the book starts with a map of the world as it is supposed to be in this timeline's 1942. What we see, is a Nazi Germany that has apparently conquered most of Europe (except for the UK), including the European part of Russia, a reminant Soviet regime beyond the Urals, a Japan that has conquered the Eastern half of China, the East Indies, and a large chunk of Australia, a USA that includes the whole of North and Central America, from the Arctic to Panama, South America divided between 4 large countries, and most startlingly, a brand new country, the "Domination of Draka", which includes all of Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia, and the Western half of China.

The novel itself is a war story, but with a lot more background filled in both in the plot, plus in fictional quotations (from books, letters, etc.) which precede each chapter. The idea is basically the Draka, are entering the war against Nazi Germany, and an American journalist (who may perhaps be based on William L. Shirer) is dispatched to cover the events. The Draka themselves are a dystopian society, a mutant off-spring of apartheid South Africa mixed with the slave holding societies of the Caribbean and American South, with Sparta-like militarism thrown in for good measure.

Perhaps one of the main reasons why these novels have attracted so much attention, is that Draka are frequently used as viewpoint characters. Obviously this is neither comfortable nor uncontroversial given the abhorrent nature of Draka society - some people have wrongly claimed that Stirling in some way sympathetic to these views (he has said very clearly that he's not). Another thing is that the Draka are very well equipped - with automatic rifles, tanks similar to an M1A1 Abrams, aircraft similar to A-10 Thunderbolt II, and as a result some readers say that they've found themselves almost feeling sorry for their enemies - who in this novel are Nazis.

At the end of the novel are some notes on various aspects of Draka society, and a timeline that covers the period from the Draka's origins in the 18th century, to their conquest of the whole of Europe (except for the UK) and most of Asia, at the end of the analog of World War II (known as the "Eurasian War").

As I've hinted out throughout this review, what with the maps, the fake quotations, the notes on Draka society, and the timeline, the book is presented as if it's a serious alternate history. This is of course is another reason for controversy - as we have a war which starts off very much like our World War II (and in the timeline in the appendix, we also have World War I, Russo-Japanese War, American Civil War, etc.), complete with historical figures like Hitler, Goering, Daladier, De Gaulle, despite the fact that there is a massive militaristic slave-holding society on Europe's doorstep. If you believe in the butterfly effect, this is just incredible, but even if you don't, you'd expect some of the other powers to take some account of this in their diplomatic and military policies rather than just fighting among themselves until they are eventually over-run.

The plausibility of Draka society has also been criticized: they are super-industrialized and super-militarized, despite being a slave-holding aristocracy. They grow incredibly fast - less than 20 years after establishing themselves in South Africa as a struggling British colony with a tiny population, they've not only conquered the French colonies in West Africa, but they've also conquered Ceylon, Egypt, Crete and Tunis. I could go on, but the gist of this criticism is that they grow too far, too fast, and in a way that is arguably inconsistent with the type of society that they have.

You know what? I don't think it matters. What makes these novels worth reading, and enjoyable, or at least interesting for many people, is nothing to do with whether they are plausible or not.

I think the Draka are simply Stirling's idea of worst and strongest possible baddies. You'll also note that in the Draka series, you'll also come across just about every favorite alternate history device from dirigibles to Project Orion, and from steam war-cars to parallel worlds - and I think that's part of the same pattern. My impression is that Stirling is trying to push the genre to its limits, and using Draka as viewpoint characters is simply another one of those games that Stirling plays with his readers.

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Marching Through Georgia (Draka Novels, 1)

By S.M. Stirling

Released: May 1st, 1988
Mass Market Paperback (410 pages)

Marching Through Georgia (Draka Novels, 1)
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Marching Through Georgia (Draka Novels, 1)
  • Manufacturer: Baen
  • ISBN: 0671654071
  • EAN: 9780671654078
  • Product Category: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition: First Edition
  • Number of Pages: 410
  • Author: S.M. Stirling
  • Publication Date: May 1st, 1988
  • Release Date: May 1st, 1988
Physical Description:
  • Weight: 0.48 Pounds
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