The year is 2137. Two hundred years ago -- in our time, more or less -- Eurasia fought a war to end all wars, a war that meant, for all intents and purposes, the end of the Old World. The Americans managed to retain their civilization -- but only by engaging by the most extreme form or isolationism imaginable for two centuries, now, no American has ventured east of the thirtieth parallel. "East for the East..." the slogan went, "The West for the West!" Until a terrible storm at sea forced American lieutenant Jefferson Turck to disobey the law, seeking safe harbor in England -- where he found that two centuries of isolation have desolated the land. The damaged ship found a Europe that is no longer an enemy -- a ruined land that is utterly unable to be an enemy -- or a friend.
Since earliest childhood I have been strangely fascinated by the mystery surrounding the history of the last days of twentieth century Europe. My interest is keenest, perhaps, not so much in relation to known facts as to speculation upon the unknowable of the two centuries that have rolled by since human intercourse between the Western and Eastern Hemispheres ceased—the mystery of Europe's state following the termination of the Great War—provided, of course, that the war had been terminated. From out of the meagerness of our censored histories we learned that for fifteen years after the cessation of diplomatic relations between the United States of North America and the belligerent nations of the Old World, news of more or less doubtful authenticity filtered, from time to time, into the Western Hemisphere from the Eastern. Then came the fruition of that historic propaganda which is best described by its own slogan: "The East for the East—the West for the West," and all further intercourse was stopped by statute.