Some of these eminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t
Even Historians But Novelists historians but novelists journalists The essays dealing with the modern era roughly half the book tend to be Cold Warriorish andor fanatically deterministic No matter what any historical figure might have done things come out or less the same as they did in real life This not only undermines the purpose of the book it suggests rigidity of the imagination and a belief that the individual has no power to shape the course of events so we d might as well all stay home and let the authorities do as they pleaseThe essays dealing with earlier events are somewhat better I enjoyed the piece in which the French don t o to war in 1870 while recognizing its fancifulness The same oes *For An Eually Pleasant But Extravagant Fantasy *an eually pleasant but extravagant fantasy which Mark Antony defeats Octavian and a hypothetical Cleopatra IX oes on to become pope More sensible and fairly stimulating are essays in which
Luther is executed before the Reformation ets fully underway and there is executed before the Reformation ets fully underway and there war instead of a Munich agreement in 1938 But the writer who argues that the Nazis would have collapsed like a house of cards had Pius XII spoken sternly to them is perhaps a little too imaginative I recently read and liked What If about military battles that could have one otherwise and the conseuences to world history that would have probably occurredThe followup book What If 2 is about world not military events that could have one otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military in fact could have been better chosen in my opinion but a few are fascinating and make this book worth looking for in the library1 What if Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus2 What if the Chinese Emperor had not stopped the expeditions of his eunuch admiral in the 15th Century3 What if Germany hadn t helped Lenin reach St Petersburg in 19174 What if Pope Pius XII had protested the Holocaust5 What if the atomic bombs had not been dropped on Hiroshima and NagasakiNumber five forever lays to rest in my mind anyway any doubt on the use of atomic weapons in Japan Not diminishing the lives that were lost. What if Lincoln didn't abolish slavery What if an assassin succeeded in killing FDR in 1933 This volume presents 25 intriguing what if scenarios by some of today's reatest historical minds A second volume of historical speculation by experts in the field wonders what if Socrates had died on the battlefield at Delium or Eisenhower had finished off the Nazis in 1944 among other intriguing scenariosContentsSocrates dies at Delium 424 BC Victor Davis Hanson Not by a nose the triumph of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium 31 BC Josiah Ober Pontius Pilate spares Jesus Carlos MN Eir.
Robert Cowley ↠ 8 REVIEWAm to be perfectly honest this collection didn t really meet *my expectations neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth *expectations neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are in my opinion at least too vast in scope for anyone to even be able to speculate about their effects The first essay in this book is a perfect example if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age is it even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what today is one of major religions of the world Other essays in this collection ave me a distinct impression of not being counterfactual history at all but rather arguments for or criticisms of actual historical decisions the essay arguing against Eisenhower s broad approach strategy in late 1944 and one arguing for use of atomic weapons against Japan in 1945 are probably best examples of this type of essays in this book And finally there was a couple of essays about topics which I personally uestion deserve to be analyzed from counter factual perspective For example battle of Hastings was regardless of what the author claims a local event and I fail to see how Harold Godwinson s victory would have affected the big picture And while I found the essay about effect of introduction of potatoes to European society to be one of the most interesting in this collection it was because it mostly discussed those effects who would have thought history of potato was so fascinating But the premise of that particular essay that Pizarro failed to find potatoes to be begin with how was that supposed to happen It was the major crop of the area after allIn my opinion counterfactual history discussions are historian s euivalent of kids arguing who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman They are universally pointless They have serious potential to ruffle some feathers But if the point of contention is selected wisely and argued cleverly they can also be a lot of fun Essays in this collection completely validated my first point confirmed to certain degree the second one but failed to entertain me in the way that I expect from this type of book. The War of 1938 Williamson Murray Prime Minister Halifax Great Britain makes peace with Germany 1940 Andrew Roberts The boys who saved Australia 1942 James Bradley Enigma uncracked David Kahn Pius XII protests the Holocaust Robert Katz VE Day November 11 1944 Caleb Carr The Führer in the dock Roger Spiller No bomb no end the Operation Olympic disaster Japan 1945 Richard B Frank The presidency of Henry Wallace James Chace A tale of three congressmen 1948 America without Nixon Johnson and Kennedy Lance Morrow What if Pizarro had not found potatoes in Peru William H McNeil. ,
In those two cities but the evidence seems clear that many Japanese lives would have been lost if we hadn t used the bombs That Japan in fact would have been invaded by Russia still smarting over the Russo Japanese War of 1904 1905I look forward to What If 3 A ood history read but every essayist has their own styles which means they do not particularly mesh well together Some are really interesting some start out interesting
and then lose momentum others are uninteresting from the start Butthen lose momentum others are uninteresting from the start But book still has a subject matter worth paying attention to with hypothetical ideas of what might have happened if things were different and that at least provides a solid platform to pay attention to A fun collection of essays of alternate history Another proof that are not writers the uestions are interesting but the conservative outcome of the answers is disappointing to say the least I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a ift in high school a well intentioned The Two of Swords gift as theift Sinfully Damaged (Master Mistress, giver knew I liked to study and read history I didn t particularly care for them but upon receiving them and upon completing them I thanked theift ABCs of Baseball giver for theirenerous and thoughtful Ēna gifts When asked if I enjoyed them to spare their feelings I said that I didReceiving this book as aift a few years later I feel is a strong argument against the telling of white lies Overall a reasonable and interesting read One major problem with the book is that the contributors often chicken out when discussing their particular alternative historical scenario They will provide all the background concerning the scenario but there will just be a couple of paragraphs on what could have happened differently There are however a couple of authors who are bra I m a sucker for alternate ending scenerios This is a reat *SOURCE FROM A MILITARY STRATEGIST WHO *from a military strategist who the idea of what if something happened differently during major military engagements and how the alternate outcome might affect today Fascinating A reat collection of some of the best historians and their take on past events and people If E Repulse at Hastings October 14 1066 Cecelia Holland The Chinese discovery of the New World 15th century Theodore F Cook Jr Martin Luther burns at the stake 1521 Geoffrey Parker If Charles I had not left Whitehall August 1641 Theodore K Rabb Napoleon's invasion of North America Thomas Fleming If Lincoln had not freed the slaves Tom Wicker France turns the other cheek July 1870 Alistair Horne The election of Theodore Roosevelt 1912 John Lukacs The Great War torpedoed Robert L O'Connell No Finland Station George Feifer The luck of Franklin Delano Roosevelt Geoffrey C Ward. ,