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What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been

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Many armchair historians have spent hours daydreaming of what might have been if some turning point in history had gone another way. The appeal of theWhat If?books is that editor Robert Cowley gets professional historians to concentrate on these imaginative … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Various
Publisher: Putnam Adult
1 review about What If? 2: Eminent Historians Imagine What...

What If in Deed....

  • Mar 1, 2002
Rating:
+5
Perhaps you have read What If? which limits its attention to hypothetical situations throughout military history. In this sequel, Cowley assembles 25 speculative commentaries on both military and non-military situations. Their authors are either eminent historians or thoughtful non-scholars. They understand far better than most of their readers do what the limitations of such "What if?" speculations are. Heaven knows they are entertaining. Great fun indeed. But they also have substantial educational value because they are relentlessly thought-provoking. The erudition and intelligence of their authors also give them some degree of credibility: If indeed Pontius Pilate had spared Jesus or Adolph Hitler had been brought to trial after World War II ended, it is highly likely (or at least plausible) that what Carlos M.N. Eire and Roger Spiller hypothesize would in fact have happened pretty much as they suggest. Tom Wicker is the author of "If Lincoln Had Not Freed the Slaves" and makes abundant sense when delineating the probable impact on American history. Geoffrey C. Ward takes a somewhat different approach in "The Luck of Franklin Delano Roosevelt" as he exams seven "might-not-have-beens" on FDR's path to the presidency. Crowley provides a superb preface to each of the commentaries, followed by a brief biography of its author. With 25 different commentaries spanning almost 2,500 years, there is literally something for everyone. One word of caution: Do not avoid commentaries on subjects in which you now have little (if any) interest. You may well find them to be the most informative as well as most enjoyable to read...no matter which ones they may be. Congratulations again to Cowley for another commendable achievement.

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