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



On 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 xpeditions of his Aristotle Detective (Aristotle 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 in those two cities but thevidence 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 I received the first What If volume along with Virtual History as a gift in high school a well intentioned gift as the gift 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 the gift giver for their generous and thoughtful gifts When asked if I Bones, Clones, and Biomes enjoyed them to spare their feelings I said that I didReceiving this book as a gift a few years later I feel is a strong argument against the telling of white lies Some of theseminent historians are nothing of the kind several aren t Bringing the Empire Home even historians but novelists or journalists Thessays dealing with the modern ra 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 vents so we d might as well all stay home and let the authorities do as they pleaseThe Building the Cold War essays dealing witharlier Canadian Art, Volume 1 (A-F) events are somewhat better Injoyed the piece in which the French don t go to war in 18. 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 nd 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.

If I am to be perfectly honest this collection didn t really meet my xpectations neither in regard of selection of topics nor depth of analysis Vast majority of the tweaks discussed in this book are in my opinion at least too vast in scope for anyone to Dancing at Armageddon even be able to speculate about theirffects The first Double Jeopardy essay in this book is a perfectxample if Jesus of Nazareth managed to live to an old age is it Composition and Literature even possible to provide a credible speculation about how it would affect what today is one of major religions of the world Otherssays in this collection gave me a distinct impression of not being counterfactual history at all but rather arguments for or criticisms of actual historical decisions the Cezanne and Provence 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 bestxamples of this type of Dark Voices essays in this book And finally there was a couple ofssays about topics which I personally uestion deserve to be analyzed from counter factual perspective For Contested Reproduction example battle of Hastings was regardless of what the author claims a localvent and I fail to see how Harold Godwinson s victory would have affected the big picture And while I found the Divided by Color (American Politics and Political Economy Series) essay aboutffect of introduction of potatoes to European society to be one of the most interesting in this collection it was because it mostly discussed those Creating Country Music effects who would have thought history of potato was so fascinating But the premise of that particularssay 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 Blacklands 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 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 greatest historical minds A second volume of historical speculation byxperts 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.

Oint confirmed to certain degree the second one but failed to Evolutionary Patterns entertain me in the way that Ixpect from this type of book Another proof that historians are not writers the uestions are interesting but the conservative outcome of the answers is disappointing to say the least A great collection of some of the best historians and their take on past Evolution As Entropy events and people A fun collection of shortssays of alternate history I m a sucker for alternate Forging Gay Identities ending scenerios This is a great source from a military strategist who ponders the idea of what if something happened differently during major militaryngagements and how the alternate outcome might affect today Fascinating A good history read but Forbidden History everyssayist 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 But the 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 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 brave and give almost their whole piece to the alternative happenings for Fiche Blian ag Fás example what if Jesus hadn t been crucified Christianity still results but in a different form clos I recently read and liked What If about military battles that could have gone otherwise and the conseuences to world history that would have probably occurredThe followup book What If 2 is about world not militaryvents that could have gone otherwise Too many of the scenarios some of which are military in fact could have been better chosen in my opini. 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 lection 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.

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Robert Cowley is an American military historian who writes on topics in American and European military history ranging from the Civil War through World War II He has held several senior positions in book and magazine publishing and is the founding editor of the award winning MH The uarterly Journal of Military History; Cowley has also written extensively and edited three collections of essays