BOV Various What If? II

ISBN 13: 9780399147951

What If? II

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9780399147951: What If? II

"The book of the year for any history lover." (Kirkus Reviews on What If?)

There is no surer way to make history come alive than to contemplate those moments when the world's future-the government and wealth of nations, the faith and culture of generations-hung in the balance. In this volume, many of our brightest historians speculate about some of history's intriguing crossroads and the ways in which our lives may have been changed for the better-or the worse. The twenty-seven original essays range across the full span of history. Victor Davis Hanson imagines a drastically altered development of Western philosophy if Socrates had died on the battlefield at Delium. Writing about the Reformation and an early death of Martin Luther, Geoffrey Parker describes a world without the Protestant Church. John Lukacs proposes that Theodore Roosevelt might have ended the First World War-if he had been renominated for president in 1912. Geoffrey Ward reminds us of Franklin D. Roosevelt's good fortune in both his choice of a wife and in his narrow escape from an assassin's bullet in 1933. James Bradley describes the defense by a band of soldiers that may have saved Australia in 1942 and had a dramatic effect on the eventual Japanese defeat in the Pacific. And Caleb Carr argues that we could have been spared the horrific last six months of World War II had Eisenhower seized his chance to destroy the Nazis in the fall of 1944.

The list of illustrious contributors includes Lance Morrow, Theodore K. Rabb, Alistair Horne, James Chace, Tom Wicker, Andrew Roberts, Josiah Ober, and others.

Edited by Robert Cowley.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

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 the What If? books is that editor Robert Cowley gets professional historians to concentrate on these imaginative questions. The first volume focused entirely on military matters; What If? 2 leans heavily but not exclusively in that direction. Victor Davis Hanson wonders about the consequences for Western philosophy if Socrates had died in battle, Thomas Fleming ponders a Napoleonic invasion of North America, and Caleb Carr argues the Second World War lasted longer than it should have because George Patton's superiors restrained their energetic general. More than two dozen contributors offer bold speculation: If the Chinese had committed themselves to ocean exploration, asks Theodore F. Cook Jr., might they have discovered the New World and even prevented "the worst horrors of the Atlantic Slave Trade [by halting] Portuguese expansion along the African coast at this early date?" Other times they are pleasantly modest: In one of the book's best sections, John Lukacs describes the fantasy of Teddy Roosevelt defeating Woodrow Wilson in the 1912 election--and decides the long- term effects would not have been great. Like its predecessor, What If? 2 is delicious mind candy for readers willing to believe there's nothing inevitable about what has come before us. --John Miller

About the Author:

Robert Cowley is the founding editor of MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History, which was nominated for a National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Cowley has held several senior positions in book and magazine publishing.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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