Dec 17, 2007

Book Review: Never on These Shores

Pastore, Stephen A.
Clarks Summit, PA: Cohort Press, 2007, 288

Fans of the genre of counterfactual history and those who enjoy tales about American patriots will enjoy Never on These Shores, Stephen R. Pastore's newest novel. The book describes a fictional 1942 invasion of the United States during the Second World War by Japanese, German, and Italian forces, as well as the spirited defense of the nation by those left on the homefront: women, the elderly, and gay men.

Pastore creates an intriguing premise, depicting a world in which Adolf Hitler listens to the advice of Erwin Rommel, and elects to turn his Wehrmacht to the West instead of toward the Soviet Union. The result is a coordinated invasion of North America, with Italians setting up bases in the Caribbean, the Germans invading through Mexico, and the Japanese landing along the West Coast. From a capitulated northern neighbor known as Vichy Canada, the Axis powers begin a protracted air campaign that destroys the industrial might of America.

In the process of invasion, a number of less-than-red-blooded Americans see opportunity in collaboration with the Axis powers. Some of the political turncoats, such as the scheming Senator Philip "Rooster" Reilly, give the novel an unexpected complexity, and also provide Pastore with possibilities for sequels (a second installment has the prospective title of "Battle for the Heartland").

While the dialogue in Never on These Shores is at times strained (I groaned at reading a 1942 teen use the phrase "Fuckin'-A!"), and one must resist the urge to poke holes in the logistical scenario of transporting over two million Axis invaders across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the book is an entertaining read, perfect for a snowbound day. If you enjoyed the 1984 film Red Dawn, you will no doubt find Never on These Shores to be a historical thriller of interest.

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