1632 by Eric Flint - Baen Books
Wow - this was a great book. Think "A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" exporting American ideals, democracy, and UNIONs to the 1600's! And not just one yankee - but a whole town of Americans from West Virginia (not yankees at all, I guess.) And the gun-totin' heroes are not libertarians - thank goodness! As much as I love Heinlein, I'm sick to death of libertarian screed SF. This was a treat to read, and I look forward to the whole series. The fact that it is freely available to *Anyone* at the link above is great too! It stands apart of a lot of SF, too in its attitude and style. I am particularly charmed by this note in the author's afterword:
In a day when public high schools never seem to get any notice or attention until something goes wrong, let me take the time here to remind everyone that the vast majority of America's high schools are alive and well. As a boy, I attended a consolidated rural high school—Sierra Joint Union, near Tollhouse, California—and it was much of a piece with North Marion in West Virginia. Public schools, and high schools in particular, remain the principal forges of America's youth. Let others whine about their shortcomings and faults, I will not. You can have your damned playing fields of Eton, and all the other
varieties of that exclusionary "vision." I'll stick with the democratic and
plebeian methods which built the American republic, thank you.
To which I can only say AMEN!