What Might Have Been: Imaginary History From Twelve Leading Historians

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9780297848776: What Might Have Been: Imaginary History From Twelve Leading Historians

Throughout history, great and terrible events have often hinged on sheer luck. Now, award-winning historian Andrew Roberts has assembled a team of his prominent colleagues, asking them to consider what might have happened if major world events had gone differently. Concentrating on their areas of expertise, distinguished historians re-imagine vital moments in history. George W. Bush’s former White House adviser, David Frum, considers a President Gore response to 9/11, while Conrad Black wonders how the U.S. might have entered World War II if the Japanese had not bombed Pearl Harbor. Whether it’s Stalin fleeing Moscow in 1941, as envisioned by Simon Sebag Montefiore, or Napoleon not being forced to retreat from it in 1812, as pictured by Adam Zamoyski, these essays posit a fascinating, sometimes horrifying parallel universe.

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About the Author:

Andrew Roberts, 40, might not have got into Cambridge if the head of history at Caius College had not been amused by why he was chucked out of school. His books would not have been written if Roberts had been even half-way competent at his initial career choice, merchant banking. So he would not have won the Wolfson and James Stern Silver Pen prizes, nor would have become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. More troubling to him still, if he had not sat next to the biographer Leonie Frieda in the Poissonerie restaurant in Sloane Avenue, she might not be his girlfriend today.

Review:

'Stimulating, provocative and playful, WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN, is everything on looks for in a collection of essays.' -- Graham Stewart LITERARY REVIEW 'a gifted team of authors evnisages alternative historical scenarios. As has become the custome of the genre, some of the contributors submit sober and measured assessments, while others spot a chance for playfulness.' -- Blair Worden SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'Roberts himself contributes both the best essay in the collection... and an affable, perceptive introduction which he deploys to muse on the nature of such virtual historical projections.' -- Roger Hutchinson THE SCOTSMAN 'Andrew Roberts has recruited a dozen historians to pose, and answer, some of these What If, and some of their answers are as good as the questions.' -- Nichola Harman THE SPECTATOR 'All twelve essasy are good fun, and they will make the reader think - and that is, after all, what all good history, 'factual' or 'counterfactual', should be about -- TG Otte TLS 'The role that chance can play (in history) is well worth reasserting, and it is done here with much vigour and expertise.' -- Philip Ziegler DAILY TELEGRAPH 'this intriguing and entertaining anthology.' -- Andrew Holgate THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Buy the book and read it for fun.' -- Roy Hattersley THE OBSERVER 'many of the essays are amusing.' -- Tristram Hunt NEW STATESMAN 'WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN is a highly enjoyable read.' -- Andrew Lynch SUNDAY BUSINESS POST 'Counterfactual history, when deployed as expertly as it is herre, reminds us that what seems inevitable is actually often a matter of chance.' -- Kathryn Hughes THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

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Roberts, Andrew
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd, United Kingdom (2004)
ISBN 10: 0297848771 ISBN 13: 9780297848776
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