The Two Presidents

An Alt-History Novel

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
171 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite

Immerse yourself in a captivating account of fictional history with The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro. It's 1934, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt has a mysterious advisor in the form of Frederick Mason, a man from the future. After recruiting German scientist Wernher Von Braun for a future moon mission, Mason warns Roosevelt about Hitler's upcoming ambitions for Europe. Upon Roosevelt's orders, atomic bombs are deployed in Japan, leading to its surrender. However, when the Nazis capture a US nuclear warhead, suddenly the war takes a new turn. Both European and American cities are devastated by atomic bombs, while major world leaders are assassinated. Mason must now use his knowledge of 21st-century warfare to win World War II. Can the Allies prevail? What will be the aftermath?

What if the Nazis got their hands on a nuclear bomb? Get a glimpse of this fascinating scenario and find how it plays out in The Two Presidents -- a riveting alternate history novel about World War II and its aftermath. This is a gem of a book for history lovers. Incorporating real-life historical events and notable personalities into the plot, Joseph Boro presents a gripping tale of war and politics that shows how choices at any given moment can change the course of humanity and its future. Boro's plotting is immaculately tight, as the author weaves an intricate web of threads pulled from actual historical events while slightly tweaking them to create a unique tale that stands on its own. I really enjoyed this book and feel readers of historical fiction will devour this with relish. Highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

The Two Presidents is a work of fiction penned by author Joseph Boro in the political drama, alternative history, and military genres. Readers are invited to explore an interesting and immersive alternate history timeline where the enigmatic Fredrick Mason, an advisor to President Franklin Roosevelt, alters the course of the world. Set amidst World War II, the novel explores the intriguing question: What if? With Mason's shadowy influence shaping pivotal events, including the U.S.'s acquisition of the atomic bomb before its official involvement in the war, readers are drawn into a world of sinister secrets and mysterious revelations that challenge the boundaries of possibility.

Author Joseph Boro uses great research and dramatic license to craft an enthralling journey into a world where history takes a different turn, thanks to his enigmatic novelization of Fredrick Mason. The novel is well-paced to deliver light and shade, seamlessly blending elements of suspense and intrigue into a military plot that still has all the tension of a great wartime thriller. As Mason's influence reshapes the course of events, readers can ponder the consequences of his actions and follow the new twists, which are surprising but highly logical in this new story world. The interplay between the characters is also superbly well-penned in terms of dialogue structure and attitude, offering a fantastic back-and-forth that’s compelling to follow and moves the plot along very naturally. Overall, The Two Presidents is a must-read for fans of alternate history and suspenseful storytelling, promising to leave readers questioning everything they thought they knew.

Gaius Konstantine

“I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Imagine if J. Robert Oppenheimer had uttered those words in 1942 instead of 1945 and the stage for The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro is set. Frederik Mason is an unintentional time traveler who arrives at the White House just as Franklin D. Roosevelt begins his first term. With his knowledge of the future, Frederik became an indispensable aid to the president and the catalyst for an accelerated Manhattan Project meant to shorten WW2 and offer humanity a better future. But "the best-laid plans of mice and men" is a proverb that applies to time travelers and presidents, and Frederik may discover that altering the past does not guarantee a better future.

Does the man (or woman) make the times, or do the times make the man? And is it possible for a time traveler to change the past, or will events mostly play out the same way with only the actors being different? These questions and a general “what if” form the nucleus of the plot in The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro. As most of the characters in the book are historical figures, character development is understandably constrained. Nonetheless, the characters are interesting and contribute to the overall reader's immersion in the story. The Two Presidents is also a fast-paced, tightly-packed story, resulting in an easy read. For fans of alternate history and what-if scenarios, this book is a good addition to the genre and offers some intriguing possibilities of what could have been.

Frank Mutuma

In The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro, Frederick Mason is invaluable to the president. Continental Europe is at war, with the Nazis seeming invincible.  In Germany, there is a talented scientist called Von Braun. With Mason's help and convincing, he defected to the USA, which gave them an edge in the race to acquire the atomic bomb. In the Pacific, the empire of Japan became more aggressive and eventually attacked Pearl Harbor. The Americans were not caught totally off guard, however, and the Japanese Navy suffered huge losses. The Americans, having already developed atomic bombs, dropped them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced Japan to surrender. Germany has one less ally, and even Italy eventually abandons them. But they are determined. How will things turn out when the Americans develop another secret weapon?

The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro will get you thinking about how things would have turned out if the events of World War II had not happened the way they did. For instance, what would have been the effects of Japan surrendering early on? I loved the twists and turns in the plotline that kept me on the edge of my seat. The time travel added a unique perspective to the plot, making it more interesting. The steady pacing kept me intrigued and eager to discover what happened in the subsequent chapters. The author also ensured that the characters were well-developed and unpredictable, which added to the overall beauty of the book. The easy-to-understand language used makes the book accessible to all readers. I am looking forward to reading something else by this author.

Grant Leishman

The Two Presidents by Joseph Boro is an alternative history novel set during World War II that will intrigue and excite readers. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is carefully navigating the path of neutrality, all the while trying to help and satisfy the needs of the nation’s ally and special friend, Britain. Roosevelt, however, has an ace up his sleeve when it comes to this conflict; an enigmatic and mysterious man, Frederick Mason, a special advisor to the U.S. President. What only Roosevelt knows is that Mason has seen all this before and his advice to the President is based on actual knowledge. When the Japanese launched their “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. leadership was aware it was coming and was ready and prepared to strike back. Nevertheless, the United States now finds itself at war with Japan and ultimately with Hitler and his Third Reich. Who is this mysterious man, Frederick Mason, who has such persuasive power over the President? Where will his knowledge and influence lead the United States and the world in these difficult times?

There is nothing I enjoy more, as a writer and a reader, than posing the question; what if? Author Joseph Boro has posed some fascinating what-if questions in this compelling and riveting novel. The Two Presidents is a clever and unique meld of historical fiction and brilliant creative thought. From the very first page, the premises of this plot capture readers and invite them to wonder what could have happened in World War II had circumstances been altered. The inclusion of newspaper reports on the events outlined in each arc of the story gives the narrative a feeling of believability and truth, despite it being the creation of a talented, artistic mind. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of so many actual notable figures of the period, which constantly requires the reader to remind themselves that, no, this wasn’t the way it all happened. Although character development was not as extensive as one would perhaps expect due to the relative shortness of the novel, the author still manages to imbue feelings of empathy for leaders such as Roosevelt, Churchill, Mussolini, and others as they wrestle with the monumental and world-changing decisions that war forces on them daily. The relationship between Mr. Mason and his future wife, Bailey, also gives an emotional aspect to him that was satisfying and appreciated. This is a fun, alternative look at a history that could have occurred and perhaps the finale of this story could be a gentle reminder to us all about life in general. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.