- Bring the Jubilee
infobox Book |
name = Bring the Jubilee
image_caption = Cover of the 1997
language = English
media_type = Print
pages = 243 (paperback)
isbn = 9780345405029
"Bring the Jubilee", by
Ward Moore, is a 1953 novelof alternate history, where the point of divergencewas the Confederate States of Americawinning the Battle of Gettysburg, and eventually the "War of Southron Independence"" [sic] " by July 4, 1864. The novel takes place in the impoverished United States of Americain the early 20th century as the two superpowersof the Confederacy and the German Union are on the verge of war, not long before the invention of time travel.cite book | first=Ward | last=Moore | authorlink=Ward Moore | year=1953 | title=Bring the Jubilee ]
The World of "Bring the Jubilee"
After the war, the South has conquered Mexico and controls much of
Latin America. Leesburg, formerly Mexico City, is one of the greatest and most prosperous cities in the Confederacy. The nation is one of the world's two superpowers, along with the German Empire, and living standards, economic growth and political and military strength are reminiscent of the post-WW2 US in our timeline. Although slaveryhas been abolished, to a large extent because of the efforts of men such as Robert E. Lee, conditions are still poor for minorities. Technology has developed very differently in this world; the internal combustion engineand the incandescent light bulbare two examples of inventions never invented in that timeline. Steam-powered automobiles, locomobiles, are the primary powered means of personal transportation but are uncommon in the United States; most people still ride horses for short distances or take the train for long. Despite this, the world also has inventions such as the time machine which is the device on which the resolution of the plot rests.
The North is depicted in a state of perpetual recession, with an occasional glimpse of prosperity for wealthy landowners and the few lucky winners of the very popular lottery. Corruption (or at least allegations thereof) is widespread. The United States is so poor that they never constructed a transcontinental railroad, in comparison to the Confederacy's seven, while able bodied adults are reduced to "indenting" themselves to businesses in exchange for the meager economic security that it affords. The two main political parties are the Whigs and the Populists, with the Whigs widely viewed as puppets to the Confederacy. The North is more hostile to
African Americans than the South, both for being seen as a major cause of the war which ruined the Union and because of rampant unemployment. Thus the general sentiment towards black people is that all who do not make their way to one of the free countries of Africa deserve whatever comes to them. The United States is weak to the point of foreign powers sending soldiers to American cities when their nationals are hurt.
The narrator of the novel is Hodge Backmaker, a Northern boy with a thirst for reading and a strong back, but (to his parents' misfortune) little skill at anything requiring manual dexterity. At age 17 he travels to New York, the largest city of the Union, in a desperate attempt to get into a college or university. After being robbed of his few possessions, he comes into contact with the "Grand Army," an organization working to restore the United States to its former glory through violent nationalism. The Grand Army fulfills some of the same social functions as the
Ku Klux Klanof the postwar South in our timeline. Despite remaining critical of the activities of the Army, Hodge accepts work and lodging with a member working from a bookshop. Content to work for food and the opportunity to read at every waking hour, Hodge stays in the bookshop for six years before leaving New York.
Hodge's aspirations of becoming a historian researching the war (which ended with the occupation of
Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniaafter the Confederate victory at the Battle of Gettysburgin 1863) become reality as he joins a self-sufficient collective of scholars and intellectuals. Here he meets a couple of research scientists who are developing time travel. Taking the opportunity to finally see the battle in person, the narrator travels back in time -- only to cause the death of the Confederate officer who occupied the Little Round Tophill (where Vincent's Brigade, including Joshua Chamberlain's 20th Maine Regiment, repulsed attacks in our timeline). As this single event alters the course of history and establishes a new timeline (history as we know it), Hodge cannot go back to his own future.
Important themes of the novel include
love, race, scholarship and coming of age, and perhaps most prominent; the relationships between concepts such as determinism, free will, chaos theoryand morality.
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