Saturday, June 28, 2014

REVIEW: Birth of a Nation / James Butler

TITLE: Birth of a Nation
AUTHOR: James Butler
PUBLISHER: Self-published

Science Fiction - Alternate History

Birth of a Nation is James Butler's alternate history about American history and politics. A giant "what if" to the world we live in today. And I know from chatting with the author that it's a very personal book for him, displaying his own believes about our nation and what could have been.

The story follows James, the author stand-in, and a group of his friends back in time to the Civil War. Having grown tired of the current state of affairs, they journey back to change history. What if the Confederacy had won the Civil War, and the Confederate States of America existed alongside the United States of America, the northern part? It's a very interesting thought, and the author explores it in an intriguing manner, touching on topics from politics to culture to science.

When James and company travel back in time, they don't go alone. Rather, they come equipped with to change the tides of history, and they end up forming an army of their own and significantly altering the course of the Civil War. The plausibility of the premise is quite a stretch, but it's a time travel book, so whatever. The Civil War bits really hit the spot for the American History nerd in me and were interesting to read about.

But more interesting is what happens afterwards, the recreation of history. Butler presents a vision of what he would make the world into if he had the chance, and I must say, I can't disagree with many of the elements.

The narrative is a bit hard to get into because of the abundance of characters, and the plot of the book isn't exactly your usual straightforward are. The pacing can be a bit slow at times, but ultimately, Birth of a Nation isn't about the story. It's about the ideas.


James M. Butler has traveled around the world. Part rock musician, part screenwriter (he's had a work optioned by Lion's Gate) and part novelist, James is perfectly at home with the written word.
James has tutored in many subjects, from Psychology to Geography. He prefers history and excels at the subject.
Originally from the swampy hell of south Florida, James has been called many things in his life, and cynical, sarcastic and sardonic are just three of them. He has also lived in various places around the world. Currently, James works as a care giver for the Developmentally Disabled at a group home somewhere in Ohio...

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