Literature / Bring the Jubilee

Bring the Jubilee is a 1953 novel by Ward Moore. Considered a classic of Alternate History, the novel depicts a timeline where the Confederacy won The American Civil War and became a world power, leaving the United States of America as a crumbling backwater. The book's protagonist and narrator, aspiring historian Hodgins McCormick Backmaker, is born into this timeline long after the war's end, and in the alternate 1950s becomes involved in a time-travel experiment. He embarks on a historical-research trip back to the Battle of Gettysburg, which accidentally results in far-sweeping changes.


Tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Originally a novella.
  • Alternate History: Although thanks to Hodgins' inadvertent Civil-War era meddling, he ends up living out the rest of his life in our timeline.
  • Alternate Techline: The CSA of the novel is more advanced technically than our timeline in some ways, and less so in many others.
  • Bookworm: Hodgins spends several years happily working and reading in a bookstore in New York City.
  • Crapsack World: The defeated US is not a pleasant place to live, especially if you're not of European descent. The triumphant CS is a prosperous nation which welcomes immigrants, but grants citizenship only to descendants of those who were citizens at the time of the Civil War victory. People of color are, if anything, treated worse than they were in slavery.
  • Death Seeker / Woman Scorned: After the fact, Hodgins speculates that his (rather unhinged) former lover Barbara may have sent him back in time fully expecting him to screw things up.
  • Fair for Its Day: As far as women are concerned. Barbara Haggerswell, the only female Haggershaven fellow of note, is also the only one we see to be emotionally unstable and incapable of forming a lasting relationship. On the other hand, she is the most brilliant physicist on the planet.
  • Fallen States of America: As noted, the US is split in two, with the CSA prosperous and spreading its influence throughout the New World while the remnants of the USA stagnate and decay.
  • Fictional Political Party: In place of the Republican and Democratic parties, the alternate USA has the Whigs and the Populists, both of which are depicted as corrupt and uncaring towards the common man.
  • For Want of a Nail: Hodgins blunders into contact with a platoon of Civil War troops, one of them dies, and the CSA loses the Battle of Gettysburg and then the Civil War.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Some alternate versions appear, a typical example being Dwight D. Eisenhower, who is evidently a minor officer in the depleted US military and writes a book on tactics that Hodgins approvingly mentions reading.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Hodgins' narrative, written in his old age, breaks off in mid-sentence, with a post-script applied by the person who found it years later; whether he literally died while writing will never be known.
  • Literary Allusion Title: References the pro-Union Civil War era song "Marching Through Georgia".
  • Mad Scientist: Barbara Haggerwells, the brilliant but unstable woman who invents the time machine Hodgins uses.
  • Ripple Proof Memory: Reasonable in this universe: Hodgins and all of his possessions remain as they were in his original timeline (as evidenced by the fact that he exists at all).
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