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Book Report: Historical tinkering makes for lively reading

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I've written before about alternative history and writers like Harry Turtledove. He writes what I like to call "what if" novels.

Like what if the Germans won World War II? What would happen? (Answer: Kennedy would be president. Not Jack Kennedy, but his father, the fascist sympathizer, Joseph.)

Just now I've been faced with a similar, but somewhat different challenge in The Columbus Affair," by Steve Barry (Ballantine Books, $27.

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