Newt Gingrich is an inspired novelist

Last Updated: May 15, 2011, 10:13 AM IST

Los Angeles: Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House and now candidate for president of the United States, is a man of many talents. One of those talents is novelist, having written several alternate history and straight historical novels.
Gingrich has written his literary works in partnership with science fiction writer William Fortschen. This is not a case of a celebrity lending his name to the work of a lesser known person; Gingrich is a full partner in the research and writing of the their works.

The first Gingrich/Fortschen collaboration was published in the early days of Gingrich`s speakership. It was an alternate history novel titled `1945,` based on the premise that Hitler had not declared war on the United States soon after Pearl Harbor. By 1945, America had won the war in the Pacific and Nazi Germany had captured Europe. The conflict between America and Germany was starting, using weapons that in our universe were only concepts. Unfortunately, primarily due to bad editing at Baen books, "1945" was not well received and planned sequels have been shelved indefinitely.

The Civil War alternate history trilogy, which consisted of `Gettysburg,` `Grant Comes East` and `Never Call Retreat,` was far more successful. The premise was that Lee used a flanking maneuver to win the Battle of Gettysburg. The account of the subsequent campaign, which includes an assault on Washington, is awe-inspiring in its detail and heart-breaking pathos. Famous figures of the Civil War meet fates that are very different than the ones they suffered in our history.

The Pacific War series, consisting of `Pearl Harbor` and `Days of Infamy,` start with the Japanese launching a third strike during their attack on Hawaii with devastating results. This results in an early carrier battle between the Japanese and the task forces commanded by Adm. Halsey. The two books are projected to be the first in a long series.

Next, Gingrich and Fortschen turned their attention to straight history with `To Try Men`s Souls,` an account of the crossing of the Delaware; `Valley Forge`, the story of how that horrible winter forged the first American Army; and the upcoming "Battle of the Crater," about a crucial Civil War battle.
If Gingrich is elected president, it may or may not redound to the benefit of the United States. But it will sadly be a loss to popular literature. These books come highly recommended.

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