Fallout: The Hot War
Fallout is the second entry in Harry Turtledove’s The Hot War series. The setting takes place during the Cold War, and the book explores the question of what would happen if either the United States or the Soviet Union made a decision to nuke the other side. The two characters that are prominently featured in the book are Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman. However, there are other characters who are just as significant and central to the plot, such as a Holocaust survivor and a Soviet soldier, among a few others.
Even though Fallout is the second book in the series, Turtledove gives enough information from the previous novel, Bombs Away, that is crucial to the second book’s plot. While it is helpful to read Bombs Away to get the very juicy details, it is not necessary. What I also liked about the book is the author’s erudition regarding history. From his writing, it is very clear that Turtledove is a skilled historian as well as a masterful storyteller. Another thing that I liked is Turtledove’s description of how one wrong move can have reverberating consequences in many parts of the globe, like when we see Communist China flexing its muscle to invade Korea.
I enjoy reading alternate history because of the what-if’s. What if the Cold War had become hot? Harry Turtledove explores this question in this book.
I would definitely recommend Fallout to anybody who enjoys reading alternate history and tense political thrillers.