(Today’s guy: Eric Flint.)
Discussion’s going on right now over at RedState about “How do you folks train/learn?” It’s a good discussion to have, but are you one of those people quietly thinking to him or herself, “Yeah. I should read all that stuff, but…”
It’s OK to find it daunting to just jump into the equivalent of 300-level college courses in history, philosophy, economics, and/or political science – although you should read at least some of that stuff, and in some cases, so should I – so if you’re looking for something that will let you gear up a little first, hey, we can do that. Because you know where all those literary-type people who can’t abide the postmodernists and deconstructionalists and Just Plain Idiots in academia go?
Today’s suggestion is Eric Flint, mostly because the subversion here works on a couple of levels. Flint’s a bit of a (perceived) rare egg – a hard Leftist who loves America in the same way that normal people do – so reading him is corrective on both sides of the spectrum. His 1812: The Rivers of War and 1824: The Arkansas War are probably his best work; they’re the first two books in an alternate history series about the Cherokee conflict that avoids rose-colored sentimentality about either the United States of America or the Native American tribes that it was displacing. Good military scenes, too, although given the way that Flint hangs out with military SF writers this isn’t too surprising.
So, check him out, and by all means: look up all the history of the American frontier afterward to see what Flint kept, and what he changed. That’s half of the fun of reading alternate history, and you were looking for a little direction in your research, right?