I have always been a fan of alternate history. Change one fact in history, say Douglas elected President in 1860, and then speculate as to how history would have been altered. The master of the genre is Harry Turtledove, a novelist and Byzantine historian. The past few days I have been reading his United States of Atlantis novel. This is the second of his Atlantis books. In these volumes Turtledove postulates that the eastern seaboard of North America, from south of Newfoundland to the tip of Florida, formed a separate continent in the mid-Atlantic. Discovered by the French and English in 1462, the books follow the settlement of this Atlantean New World. The continent has certain peculiarities, for example there are no native mammals other than bats, and there are no Indians.
The United States of Atlantis details the struggle of the English colonies in Atlantis to cast of English rule. This gives Turtledove an opportunity to give a fascinating alternate retelling of the America Revolution, focused upon Victor Radcliffe, the George Washington figure in the Atlantean Revolution. The latest book in the series is Liberating Atlantis, depicting the conflict to free the slaves in the United States of Atlantis.
I think anyone with a strong interest in American history would enjoy these books. Turtledove sets up parallels with actual American history, and it is fun guessing which fictional characters and events correspond to the actual historical actors and events. Additionally, seeing how the history is changed gives the reader a new mental vantage point to consider the factors that led to the path that history did follow. For any lover of Clio, muse of History, reading alternate history is time usually well spent.