For a long time now, I have been aware that there is a sense of political correctness that many people try to impose upon the alternate history genre. Namely, I am speaking of the unwritten rule of some that there are certain armies, nations etc that must not, under any circumstances be allowed to ultimately win or be portrayed in any positive way. I don’t abide political correctness in my own life and views and I certainly won’t tolerate it in alternate history. I can name a plethora of alternate history books on the Civil War before my own where the history is changed in some way (example: the South wins Gettysburg) only to have the South still lose in the end. Just to name one example, Robert Conroy’s 1862 has Britain enter the civil war on the side of the CSA over the Trent Affair, and then he has the Union defeat the CSA and Britain in the course of a year. In real life, it took the Union until 1865 to defeat the Confederacy. One of the reasons I wrote By Force of Arms the way I did is because of all the Union bias that exists in much alternate history fiction that is out there. Many of my British fans have pointed this out as a reason that they liked By Force of Arms.
I am personally descended from both Confederate and Union veterans of the Civil War (though the Union vet was a Southerner who fought for the Yankees). I am not ashamed of my Confederate heritage. In my books I have not sugar coated slavery or the racism that existed in both the North and the South in the 1800s. Slavery and racism were unfortunate realities that cannot be ignored in any book set in the period. But contrary to the politically correct version of history being taught today, the war was fought for many reasons in addition to slavery, and the CSA was not some rabid evil prototype of Nazi Germany. Most Confederate soldiers were honorable and patriotic men who did their duty to defend their homes from an aggressive military invader. My own ancestor Private Joseph Agee Dumas did not own slaves. He was drafted into the Confederate Army and had no choice. He did his duty and like so many others in the civil war he died from disease.
Many people have attacked my books, mainly because I broke the unwritten rule and allowed the South to win and win big. In my books I’m going to show how history might have gone because to me (and others) it is fascinating. I want to know what a 21st Century CSA would be like and what its history up to that point would be. What would its world be like? That’s why I’m writing these books. And I will let my readers in on one thing– when the CSA of my world gets to the present day it will not be the racist nightmare that many proclaim as the only possibility.