Thinking it's probably a good idea to split the reaction topics up a bit, lest one thread tries to cover everything... It could get messy.
What has struck me so far is that okay, everything really does progress, in detail, all the way to August 1991 exactly as in the historical timeline.
- But then, the Moscow coup just succeeds, out of the blue ... with no comment on how it could. In the real world, it never could have; it was very solidly doomed to failure before it even started.
And the Warsaw Pact does indeed dissolve, and the USSR is indeed destitute.
- But then the USSR gets back on its feet due to its oil ... so no trade sanctions or embargoes from the West to impede this even a little?
- Not only that: the USSR manages to build up a military strength, in hardware and manpower, to surpass all of the combined former Pact! Its military might can all on its own run over (1) the old Pact countries, (2) much of Western Europe, (3) basically all of Sweden, AND (4) stage an over-sea invasion of the UK all the way from the Kola Peninsula...?
Not even with all of the Warsaw Pact behind it was this very realistic. And for the Soviets to do this alone...?
In this world, air forces and air defences seem to be pretty ineffective. The Russians seem able to launch major long-range oversea operations or air assaults large enough to invade whole countries fairly unimpeded.
Admittedly, I haven't read it in detail yet; these are just my initial reactions. But so far, it does seem to me that the effort here has been to try to shoehorn as much of the original editions' worldbuilding into the real-world history as possible.
I had rather hoped to see a tabula rasa approach to the worldbuilding — that they start from a clean slate and write something cohesive from scratch.
As I read further into the material I might of course find reason to amend my impressions (in which case I'll post my further reflections here), but at present, I'm ... not overwhelmed.
But that's me ... those who've engaged in discussions with me here can hardly be surprised.
What are your reactions?