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Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister
Nicholas Shakespeare
The Industrialisation of Soviet Russia, Volume 1: The Socialist Offensive: The Collectivisation of Soviet Agriculture, 1929-1930
Robert William Davies
Progress: 56/512 pages
The Pursuit of Power: Europe 1815-1914
Richard J. Evans
Progress: 219/928 pages
Young Wilhelm: The Kaiser's Early Life, 1859-1888
John C. G. Röhl
Progress: 229/1016 pages

A great book by an under-appreciated talent

Alternities - Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Before I read this book, I was unfamiliar with Michael Kube-McDowell; I had even read (and enjoyed) some of his short stories without knowing who he was. I didn't get too far into this novel, though, before I realized that I had missed one of the more under-appreciated talents in science fiction. In it, Walter Endicott, a businessman in 1966, discovers a gateway to a parallel Earth where he is a United States senator. Replacing his counterpart, he shares the knowledge about the gateway (part of a network connecting several alternate Earths) with a government desperate to gain an advantage in a Cold War struggle that the U.S. is losing to the Soviet Union. From this premise, Kube-McDowell builds a story around Endicott, the president, and a "runner" in an unhappy marriage, one that deftly mixes Cold War tensions with science fiction dimension-hopping. It's a work of alternate history that for its detailed plot and sophisticated yet relatable characters, stands head and shoulders above the others of its type.